Job Search

It’s true – referred candidates are the number one source of external hires! And did you know, referred candidates are twice as likely to get interviewed and have a 40% chance of getting hired over other candidates (according to the New York Times)?

So why do you continue to send your resume for job postings without finding someone inside the company who can refer you?

This post will share different ways to find inside connections in order to land that next job faster! The idea is to set yourself apart as a referred candidate:

How to find connections inside a company:

Long ago, it would take a massive network (or a very well connected network) and lots of phone calls and emails to get a company insider name. However, LinkedIn has made finding contacts and connections increasingly easier.

LinkedIn is a gold mine. Use it to search for company insiders. Start your search by selecting the “company” search option from the search bar and type the name of one company you are interested in. View the company page and look at all the results in the “How You’re Connected” box.

You are looking for first or even second degree connections who work in the company with a posting you can connect with and let them know you are interested in applying to a position in his/her company. Be sure you view the green “shared connections” link under the person’s profile to see who you both know. If you aren’t connected, reach out to the person you know best either through LinkedIn or email and ask if they will introduce you to the company insider you want to meet!

In case you haven’t figured this out yet, you should work on expanding your LinkedIn network by connecting with people on a regular basis.

No LinkedIn connections? Try this tool:

If you want search LinkedIn profiles inside and outside of your network, you chould try Recruit’em (http://recruitin.net/). Thanks goes to @avidcareerist for discovering this! This tool will search public LinkedIn profiles. Enter the company name in the keyword box and country then see your results on Google.

You would ideally be looking for the hiring manager’s job title. As a last resort, in other words, you can’t find anyone close to the depart you would like to work in, find the Human Resources or Recruiting head and ask to connect with them. But don’t stop here!

Search other social networks too:

As crazy as it may sound, not everyone is on LinkedIn. You can use the Recruit’em tool to search Google+ profiles. Often, these search results contain some new names.

If you have a Facebook account, you can and should search to see if you can find friends or friends of friends who work inside the target company. Jobvite’s recent study says that 76% of social job seekers found their current position through Facebook!

And don’t forget about Twitter. Search Twitter bios using Twitter’s advanced search or try searching within KnowEm.com, a directory of Twitter users.

Last, but not least: change your approach!

Stop spraying-and-praying your resume to hundreds of job postings. Be discerning about which jobs you choose to apply to. Most importantly, use a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach. This means you need to identify companies you would like to work for. Call them targets. If you talk to anyone who has ever been in sales or marketing, they have prospect or target lists made up of companies who could potentially use their product or service. Their lists contain company and contact information of people to reach out to and have an exploratory conversation with. In your case, these target companies and contacts could potentially need your skills or expertise. Your targets are not necessarily hiring, the companies you list have been known to hire the types of jobs you are interested in or currently employ people who do they type of work you would like to do. Don’t forget about finding competitors and similar companies. Your goal is to build inside connections before a job gets posted, because we all know, that once a job is publically posted, everyone and their brother/sister begins applying.

Need ideas for target companies?

You probably have some idea of companies you would like to work for. Maybe it is a company that’s been featured in the news or you’ve heard people rave about. This is a starting point. You have to trust in the exploration process. If you are still at a loss, take a look at these lists which may help you discover great companies:

  • Glassdoor.com’s Best Places to Work
  • Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For
  • Search for “Top 100″ and “Best Employer” lists for your city 

About Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan provides no-nonsense help for new job seekers. She provides advice and serves as a guide to traverse the treacherous terrain of today's economy by focusing on pro-active strategies for job search and leveraging social networks. Career Sherpa is one of many outlets where Hannah shares her information. Follow Hannah on Twitter @careersherpa!

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