By Miriam Salpeter
With summer upon us, some of you job-seekers may think about taking a break from your search. Instead, you might want to ramp up your efforts and consider the new season an opportunity to relaunch any unfinished career plans.
One inevitable aspect of the search? Interacting and engaging with connections—extending your network to tap into the hidden job market. Sudy Bharadwaj is the co-founder and chief executive officer of JackalopeJobs.com, which allows you to log in with your favorite social network and learn which of your connections work in companies that interest you. He has seen many job-seekers benefit from carefully accessing their extended network.
Here are Bharadwaj's nine suggestions for successfully networking your way to a job:
1. Connect with your network before you apply for positions. Even if you identify jobs via boards or postings, touch base with connections before applying directly. Many organizations prioritize applicants referred by employees. Some companies even give bonuses to employees who suggest candidates who are hired, so some networking contacts may have a financial incentive to pass along your information. Don't be shy about reaching out and asking for a hand.
2. Rotate your thinking. Bharadwaj suggests: "Instead of finding jobs and focusing on connections in those companies, consider targeting your connections first and investigating who among them may be able to provide a link to a potential opportunity."
To be successful, it's important to know what you want and to be able to articulate how you can help an organization solve its problems. Once you know what you offer and how it relates to companies where you want to work, it will be much easier to leverage your network of contacts who can help you land jobs successfully.
3. Encourage your network by making it easy for them to help you. Bharadwaj reminds job-seekers: "Your connections are busy—aren't we all? It's up to the job-seeker to be specific when asking for a connection. Forward the job description and information about your background and skills. Tell the contact exactly how he or she can help you."
4. Be concise and offer easy access to your information. It's likely your contacts will access your information or email inquiry via their smart phones. Include all key points in the body of your email, such as links to online social resumes or your LinkedIn profile, instead of asking them to download and view your resume.
5. Go wide. Spread out your inquiries; try not to ask one person for too many things. Most people will want to help, but if it seems you are knocking on their door every week, the welcome will wear out quickly.
Tips 6 - 9 and complete US News article
While being told "performance is it" or to "over deliver" isn't inherently bad advice for women, it is bad in an overall context in which women are expected to work harder because they're women (or, as with the nine rules piece, suck it up and do the work men don't want to do in order to "get ahead"). As Alison Quirk, an executive VP at State Street Corp., told Bussey, we all need to understand the "unconscious biases" at play—biases which Welch fails to acknowledge. As another executive said, "He showed no recognition that the culture shapes the performance metrics, and the culture is that of white men." Per Bussey:
Dee Dee Myers, a former White House press secretary who is now with Glover Park Group, a communications firm, added: "While he seemed to acknowledge the value of a diverse workforce, he didn't seem to think it was necessary to develop strategies for getting there—and especially for taking a cold, hard look at some of the subtle barriers to women's advancement that still exist. If objective performance measures were enough, more than a handful of Fortune 500 senior executives would already be women. "It's not that women don't work hard. It's that there are other elements at play here that Welch is not acknowledging—like, to start with, the entire history of women in the workplace—that have created a situation in which women are far less likely to be the heads of corporations or even making the same amount of money as men. These women may already be expected to do or are currently doing more both at home and at work than are their male peers. So Welch suggesting something like "over deliver" is particularly galling—galling enough for some women to walk out of the presentation.