The job market right now is pretty tough – lots of people lost their jobs, millions have applied for unemployment benefits and many companies have put their hiring on hold sometimes for the rest of 2020. While many companies are still recruiting, you’re competing against more candidates than in the past.
While you can definitely get hired by applying online if you are the perfect fit for the role and you tailor your application accordingly, you’re more likely to get the job through networking.
Even if the companies you’re interested in don’t have relevant vacancies open right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t network with the hiring managers or recruiters. You definitely do not have to apply to advertised roles only and now is a good time to ask for an informational interview.
Here’s how you can network with the hiring manager:
- Find the hiring manager on LinkedIn and send them a personalised connection request. You will not always be able to find out who that person is, especially in a huge company with multiple teams and stakeholders, but try to figure it out whenever possible. E.g. if you typically report to an Analytics Director, find out on LinkedIn who the Head of Analytics or Analytics is in the company that interests you.
- If you can’t find the hiring manager, try to find out the recruiter dealing with the vacancy or HR as the last resort (as they typically don’t deal with recruiting)
- Try to find out through your online research what the hiring manager’s or the company’s biggest business pain point is and position yourself as someone who could solve that specific problem.
- Send to this person a thoughtful (and concise!) InMail with your polished CV/resume and a personal note introducing yourself and why you’re interested in their organisation. Always make this message personal and focus on THEM, not you first. Don’t send the same message to different organisations, minimal effort will not get you the results you need. You need to be able to differentiate yourself.
- Start your message by telling the hiring manager why you’re interested in their company and say something concise to prove that you’ve done your research and that you understand their pain points. Do your research on their website, by reading the news, watching industry interviews on YouTube and reviewing their social media. Only then mention a few things about results you’ve delivered for your current/previous employer, making sure they’re relevant to the company you’re interested in.
HERE IS A SAMPLE TEMPLATE:
Hello [their name]
Thank you for accepting my invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
I currently work as / I was most recently employed as [your job title] at [company name – explain what they do if necessary].
I’ve been interested in your company for several months, because I [mention something you like about their mission, initiatives you’ve seen in the news or on their social media platforms – it really can be anything that proves you’ve actually done your research and aren’t just sending the same message to different hiring managers in various organisations!]
During my time at [company name], I [mention a few things you did – use active verbs, what the results were and why it mattered. Ask yourself “So what?” at the end of each statement you make. Think of an important thing you did and impact it had on your department or solving a business problem and try to quantify it if you can].
I’m really interested in [mention a couple of things that are relevant to them] and I’d love to be part of a [mention some characteristics of the kind of a team or a company you’re looking to join and of course this would describe the type of a company you’re interested in] in a [startup / corporate / government /international, something relevant] setting.
I enjoy [pick something from the summary statement of your resume that describes what makes you unique]. I’m attaching my CV/resume, where you’ll find more details of the initiatives I led.
I understand you may not have any open vacancies at present [check their careers site first]. Would it be possible to schedule a brief informational interview via phone/Zoom to understand if you might need someone with my skill set in the future?
Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.
[Your full name and phone number]
Don’t obviously copy this template word for word, but create something using a similar structure. Not everyone will respond to you no matter how well tailored your message is, but your chances of getting a response will increase significantly if you send something truly personalised.
Did you ever manage to get informational interviews or a job offer using a similar approach? Let me know in the comments section below!