At some point, we’re all job hunters. Whether you’re applying for your first job, looking for a change, or switching industries, it’s steep competition out there and standing out among your competition is extremely important to landing a job.
There are a couple ways to stand out during the application process outside of submitting a nice-looking resume. You’re up against a big pool of competition, many of who have the same skills and qualifications as you. Connecting with someone on the inside of the business and showing initiative is usually the next step to landing your dream job.
Inquiring about an open position is completely acceptable, but like anything there is a right way and a wrong way to connect with current employees and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Here are three things to keep in mind when building your network in your industry and connecting with employees of the company you’re interested in.
USE THE APPROPRIATE PLATFORM
It seems like there are new communication platforms and social media platforms arising every day. With so many options, which one do you choose to connect with employers and their employees?
The answer is always LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is THE social platform for professionals and should always be the first choice (outside of phone or email) when connecting with potential employers and their employees. Connecting with employees on their own personal social media pages (Instagram, Facebook), can often leave a bad taste unless this individual uses these accounts for business.
To be safe, start with LinkedIn.
CONNECT WITH THE RIGHT PERSON
Everyone is busy and connecting with the right person is important to ensuring you’re actually making an impact and outshining your competitors. Creating the perfect email/message – only for it to be wasted on the wrong contact – is extremely frustrating and can often make it seem like proper research wasn’t completed before outreach.
For example, if you’re interested in Digital Media, the right person to connect with would be someone on the digital side of the business. If this information isn’t found online or on the company website, connect with the HR department and they can direct you to the right person. Companies want to hear from you, especially if you’re the right fit for the job. Don’t be shy, but make sure to RESEARCH before you start.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
When connecting with employees, the questions to ask and how to approach the conversation is key to building correspondence. Writing an email simply asking ‘What are the benefits’ or ‘What is the salary’ with no explanation or introduction will not be the road to success.
It’s important to introduce yourself, let them know why you’re connecting and ask genuine questions; while asking about salary is important, that should be reserved for HR or later in the process. When approaching an employee who could turn into a colleague, ask about their day-to-day life, current projects, exciting milestones, etc. so you can get an idea of the company culture, expectations and tasks without directly asking.
Even if it may seem like a simple email or message to you, it’s going to be the first communication you have with a potential employer. Make sure to always put your best foot forward, and you’ll be that much closer!