This discussion started from a question I heard asked, “Why did someone less qualified land the job I applied for?” This is a tough question that most of us will probably ask at some point in our lives. Before answering, I want to get something out there: It is nearly impossible to land every job that you apply for. To not have an offer extended to you for a job you tried hard to get is not the end of the world. Keep your chin up, and use the opportunity to learn! Since nobody is perfect, it is always important to try and understand what you can do better to land the next job you apply for. There could be many reasons for not landing a job, but out of the many things that people can do to improve, there is only one fact I want to talk about today.
There is a saying that you may have heard at one time or another: It is not what you know, it’s who you know. Often, employees are hired because they have had experience with the employer, or with the people making the hire. In fact, a large portion of people still say networking is how they landed their job.
I raise this point because it may be that a job offer was not extended your way because someone else had an “in.” Having an “in” can put your resume and your interview on the top of the list. Luckily, there are things you can do to try and get that “in.”
- If there is a networking event that you think an employer you are interested in working for is attending, go attend that event.
- Have a nice conversation with the employer.
- Find more employers and have nice conversations with them as well. If you leave the networking event having got to know 3-4 employers, you are doing really well! You never know when an opportunity will open with those employers, even if you are not looking there just yet.
- Connect with these employers on LinkedIn. (Not just the companies, but the people you talked to!)
- If you end up wishing to apply for a position in one of these companies, contact the people you connected with on LinkedIn and ask about the position.
- Bingo, you have your “in.”
There are other things you can do to build your network, like talking to friends of friends, but the instructions above focus on opportunities that are open to quite a number of people, especially college students and recent graduates. Always stay on the lookout, or the opportunities may just pass by you!
Of Possible Interest:
- Why Networking Works (Peer Into Your Career)
- Your Elevator Pitch [Infographic]
- Non-Awkward Ways to Start and End Networking Conversations (Forbes)
- Networking Secrets for Introverts (Peer Into Your Career)