When is a good time to start networking for a job you saw online?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
You just saw a posting for a position. Great! Are you ready to start networking your way into the job? Whoops. Too late. You know when you should’ve started networking for the job? Before they ever posted it. That’s right. If you really wanted to work for that company, you should’ve been in the game long ago. (Maybe you should spend less time searching the job boards and more time thinking about which companies would be great places for you to work!)
But wait. It’s never too late. Of course. It’s never too late.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of networking your way into everything! Even posted positions. But the problem with most people is that once the position is posted, they don’t really network their way into it. They try to get some time with anyone and everyone involved in the hiring decision and they spend all kinds of energy selling them on why they’re the best candidate. That’s not networking. That’s annoying.
It’s the same thing people do when they try to set up a networking meeting. They spend most of the meeting talking all about themselves. Again, not networking. Just annoying.
I recently became privy to a few really interesting positions. Who are the frontrunners? In a couple of them, it’s the person who was already a known entity to a few of the players. In the rest, it’s completely up for grabs. But the people who are trying to begin the networking process once the process already started are not being viewed in the best light.
Many people contacted me once they saw I knew about a position. They asked me questions about the position that they should’ve figured out by the posting (especially – the how to apply part!). What I learned from many is they don’t know how to read, follow directions or spell. Do you think their stock went up? Not likely. Do I now think they’re capable of the position? Not likely. On the other hand, a few people came back with relevant questions – some I could answer, some I couldn’t. Their responses were well-worded and interesting. Do you think their stock went up? Most definitely. Will I tell the company to be on the lookout for them? Absolutely. One person even had an impressive referral send a note saying how great the person was. Will this person get a second look? You bet!
So what should you do? You might want to go back to the drawing board (that’s assuming you were ever there). Make your list of people and companies to target. Network with those people by asking smart questions and getting to know them. Quit worrying about waxing eloquent about you. Figure out if and where you fit. Opportunities will present themselves if you do this. If all you do is spend your time hanging out on job boards or trying to sell the world on your skills, the opportunities will be few and far between.
And if you’re lucky enough to network your way into a position that’s already been posted, take the opportunity to actually network! Think about your conversation with them. How much talking did you do? How much did they do? How many smart, relevant questions did you ask? How did you bring value to the conversation and that contact? How did you make yourself seem like the right choice by your insightful questioning? That’s what will make the decision to take you forward in the process.
Next time you decide to start networking for a position, ask yourself this. If I wasn’t looking for a job, is this a position I’d even be interested in? And if it is, why wasn’t I already in the game? That’s probably the most relevant question of all.