About 85% of all jobs are filled through employee referrals. Therefore, it makes sense to build a referral network at every company where you might like to work in the future.
Before you read on, this is the fourth in this series on the Targeted Job Search. If you have not read the previous steps this is a good time to read them:
I have written about building and researching your target list. You connected to recruiters inside your target companies, primarily to have closer connections to their employees via Linkedin. Now it is time to build your referral network.
Using LinkedIn advanced search, locate employees with similar job titles and certifications and develop a list of potential new connections.
At this point you can take a couple of different strategies:
Strategy #1 – Look for a common connection
For each 2nd degree person on your list, look to see how you are connected on LinkedIn. Pick one of your common connections and ask how well they are acquainted and would they be willing to make an introduction?
What you are looking for is a personal introduction. In the sales world, this is referred to as a warm lead.
Strategy #2 – Systematically look at LinkedIn profiles
Every day, look at a couple of LinkedIn profiles on your list. Make sure your LinkedIn setting called “Select what other see when you’ve viewed their profile” is set to display your name. On a daily basis, look to see who has looked at your profile.
When someone pokes their head into your profile, send them a LinkedIn connection request and ask for AIR – Advice, Insights and Recommendations!
Once they have looked at your profile, you are no longer an unknown. They should recognize your name and know a little bit about you.
Whether you use strategy #1 or #2, the idea is to get to meet each person and develop a relationship. You are looking for an internal advocate so that, when a position becomes available, they will be willing and able to pass your resume through company channels.
This takes time and persistence. If you spend 15-30 minutes reaching out to new connections and meet one new person a week, you will build a significant referral network in just a few months.
As you build your referral network, it is equally as important to maintain that network through careful and persistent cultivation.
The goal is to have a referral network at every company on your target list.
We know that people change jobs every few years. You will want to review your target list to check who is working at each company every six months.
If you carefully follow all of the steps in the Targeted Job Search, you will have choices in where you work for the rest of your career.
Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers