A polished resume is an important tool in a job hunter's toolbox, but it's certainly not the only one required to build the pathway to discovering your dream job. That resume is of no use if it never makes it into the right hands. So how can you reach influential people who can have a real impact on your job search efforts?
The answer: Direct contact and networking.
Direct contact is when you research organizations of interest in your target areas. You probably already have a list of ideal employers, so consider tackling these first. You need to become a detective, researching thoroughly to uncover the influential people within the organization. This means going beyond the hiring manager and those generic job emails.
Maybe there are specialty contacts within recruiting that will give your resume more attention than others. Maybe there is a manager of a particular group of interest that might be your key to catching someone's eye. Maybe there is someone you'd deem a "brand ambassador" who you feel could really make a difference in your job search efforts.
Once you identify influential people within the organization, you should reach out to those individuals through targeted letters, phone calls, and even the occasional walk-in, if appropriate. It's important to note, the direct contact exercise should be one of extreme vetting. It's not about reaching out to as many people as possible in hopes to grab someone's attention. It's about finding the one or two people who you feel are the most influential and reaching out to them strategically to get your foot in the door.
Most job hunters know about networking but there are many misconceptions about what networking is and what it can do. Networking is often misunderstood to mean any kind of activity involving reaching out and making contact with people to get job leads. True networking actually means meeting with someone through one of your contacts.
For example, you have a friend that works at a company on your target list. While she doesn't work in the area where you'd like to work, she still serves as an important networking contact. You can reach out to her and ask if she could introduce you to the right person in your group of interest to set up an informational interview. She serves as the necessary bridge between you and your desired contact. This dramatically increases your chances of setting up that interview compared to if you just tried a "cold call" method.
Additionally, there are great networking opportunities for GetFive members at weekly small-group strategy sessions that are part of the Career Insider Program. People looking for a job in one industry or interviewing with one company may find that a fellow GetFive member worked in that industry or has contacts at the company they are interested in. These conversations can lead to valuable contacts and ultimately, to an interview.
Job searching is a journey that hopefully leads to a great destination. While a resume is certainly an important part, you'll find much higher levels of success when you learn and apply proper direct contact and networking methods.