Monday, April 23, 2012

You Already Have The Right Network To Land Your Dream Job

It’s a common frustration of job seekers everywhere – you are the right person for the job if only you could get to the recruiter or the hiring manager. Many students believe the dream job is possible only if your dream company recruits at your school. Submitting a resume to the company website is just a black hole. Appeals to HR go unanswered. Somehow you need to bypass these gatekeepers and get to the decision-makers.

Many people assume you need to be born into connections or be “lucky” enough to have a robust on-campus recruiting program, in order to get to the people who are hiring for plum jobs. But in reality, you already have the network you need to land your dream job.
When you have identified a dream company, you don’t just look at the hiring manager directly or even HR. You look at:
  • people outside your target area
  • people who have left the company
  • clients
  • vendors
  • consultants
  • board members
  • investors, and
  • ANY other constituents or stakeholders of your dream company.
Furthermore, you don’t just look at your immediate connections, but rather you look at your connections’ connections. With social media sites such as LinkedIn, accessing the networks of your network is so much easier. These networks of your network are oftentimes so much more fruitful – you probably know the same people as your immediate network, but once you are one or more connections removed, then the overlap recedes and you have access to people you didn’t know you know.
Now here’s how this works with a real-life example. In an earlier post on whether a dream job is truly feasible or just a pipe dream I wrote about a dream of mine to be on the guest panel of NPR show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” If I were to go after a guest spot there, I would go after my network around this target:

I don’t know the producers of Wait Wait directly, but I do know someone who used to produce another show at NPR, which distributes Wait Wait. Who do you know at your dream job from a parent company, joint venture, or subsidiary?

I used to work in media, albeit publishing and not radio. Still, someone may have worked in radio in addition to publishing or before their publishing career. Who do you know in the broader industry of your dream company?

I belong to media and communications professional associations and can find radio, NPR, if not actual Wait Wait connections there. What professional associations do you belong to? What online communities and social networks can you tap into?
If I want to find the names of people connected to the show, it will be hard to find all but the most senior people. But in this case, the guests’ names will be readily available, and I can research connections to these. Who do you know that has worked with your dream company as a client, consultant, vendor, or in some other indirect way?
The guests are just as often comedians as they are journalists. So, in addition to media contacts, I will want to tap my comedy contacts. Who do you know in other areas of your life, maybe even a personal contact, that can help you get to your dream company?

You already know someone who can help you land your dream job. Who will you reach out to today?
Caroline Ceniza-Levine helps people build fulfilling and financially-rewarding careers, as the co-founder of SixFigureStart®. She is a former recruiter in management consulting, financial services, media, technology, and pharma/ biotech.

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