Are you hunting for a new job or trying to switch to a new profile?? Have you considered asking anyone from your professional network?? In most of the cases, what actually happens is that the job seekers approach their contacts at the professional networking websites and then they eventually give up as the contacts do not respond in a fruitful way. Although you may end up blaming the contacts for the above scenario, but there is a lot a job seeker can do so that their professional network behaves in a more responsive manner. It is quintessential to learn different traits of generating job leads and referrals through networking because there are several advantages associated with employee referral, few of which are mentioned below:
- It makes the task of hiring much easier for a company because the referrer already works in the company and as such is expected to understand who might be a better fit for the organisation.
- The recruiting team also acts more seriously on the information provided by its employee as a courtesy.
- The referrals can also give some idea about how well the employees have been communicated regarding the skill requirement. Clear and proper communication by the recruitment team often results in a higher percentage of successful referrals.
Nevertheless, here are a few of the things that you can practice so that you are able to leverage your network better to generate more job leads and referrals.
1. Identify key persons in your network
There is one of my friend named Tanya who is extremely good at leveraging her professional network. When I asked her what exactly she does, she replied that she keeps in touch with some of the key persons in her network, tries to reconnect with them after a long gap or even arranges meetings with them in order to grow their professional relationship. However, keep in mind that all these activities take a long time. Further, you need to identify the key persons, as it is impossible to offer the same kind of attention to everyone in your network. Some of the potential key persons may include those people who have recently changed their job, recruiters and other HR professionals. Consequently, prepare a list of such key persons who are likely to come across any job leads and eventually make referrals.
2. Be the first thing that comes to their mind
Do you remember the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind”?? Well, this point is a mere manifestation of the same. Therefore, after you have prepared the target list, you have to ensure that you are the first name that pops up in your target’s mind whenever they come across any job lead. In order to stay front-of-mind, you should communicate with those key persons regularly. If it has been a long time since your last conversation, then it is the time you should rekindle the connection by setting up some live meetings with them.
3. Ensure that your network knows about your job hunt
We often make the mistake of assuming that the people around us are aware of our job hunt. So, make sure that you do not make the same assumption just because you might have mentioned it in front of them during a conversation. Different people can interpret your job search differently- some may think that you are casually looking for a change but have not started seriously, while few others may think that that you do not require their help unless it is explicitly told. So, do not assume anything unless they ask you about your job search. Given an opportunity, you should subtly remind people by stating how exactly your job hunt is going on. While in a conversation with her potential referrer, my friend Tanya would usually speak about an exciting job that she has applied for or discuss an interview that she thinks went well, which rings a bell in the mind of the referrer.
4. Let people know your job expectations
Although you might have succeeded to be in the front-of-mind and the people in your professional network know about your job hunt, but they probably do not know about your exact expectations from the job for which you need to go the extra mile. Let people know clearly the objective behind the job search, which can be a plethora of reasons that may also include a change of role or industry per se. If someone knows you for several years now, they may consider you for jobs that are similar to the job you are already doing. In case you are leaving the current job for a specific reason, then it is your responsibility to let the people in your network know about the reason.
5. Let your network know about your best attributes
Tanya once told me that from the perspective of referral it is very important that the people in your network can describe your professional skill in a few bullet points. And that is true because, imagine that somehow your network figured out what exactly you are looking for, but do they really know how to describe you when it comes to making a referral? Bear in mind that it is much better if your friend can give your introduction in a referral. So, help your network in knowing you better by sharing the top professional qualities that you use to introduce yourself to prospective recruiters and employers. This will ensure better communication of your brand and will also pass a message that you are sincere about the job hunt that will be appreciated by the people in your network.
Therefore, it can be concluded that if you are serious about securing the desired profile in the industry you want, then the best way would be through a job referral. As per some experts, a job referral increases your chances of converting an interview and being hired by almost 40%. Therefore, it is very important that you tap into these benefits and get job referrals by investing more time in your professional network. Although most of us do not realise that our network is quite big and has more potential than what we can envisage. Therefore, if you leverage your network in the right way then you can land your desired job much faster.