Build Employee Relationships
As I just began to touch on above, you can always go around the traditional application process and nurture personal relationships at organizations. Of course, you are probably saying to yourself: how do I meet these people in the first place? Well, thanks to the Internet, you can nurture employee leads entirely through your computer or mobile device. You can also meet them at job fairs, work-sanctioned happy hours, open houses, and so forth. Let’s look at some of the top ways to come into contact with employees at your desired working institution:
1. LinkedIn: I won’t get redundant, but connecting with employees through LinkedIn is probably the easiest thing you can do. Look to find 1st degree connections (mutual connections with friends of yours). This is why it pays to friend a lot of people on LinkedIn and continue growing your circle. If you can’t find any, then go for the 2nd or 3rd degree connection. Many of them will not accept, but keep trying. Eventually someone will. There are also LinkedIn membership packages you can consider (they cost some money) so you can directly message people. Be sure to not send out a “form letter” that was clearly copy and pasted. Follow our tips above for getting in good graces with them.
2. Groups: Chat groups are big on Facebook and LinkedIn today, where you can join groups specifically focused on your niche job or dream career. Ask to join groups that have members at your desired workplace. When you get into the group, post meaningful content and comment on their posts. It’s a non-direct way to nurture leads with employees. This is also a great place to post your original articles you are going to be writing for your LinkedIn profile, right?
3. Job Fairs: Most Fortune 500 companies have recruiters that attend predictable job fairs every single year. It isn’t hard to figure out where they are going to be. Plan ahead and attend these fairs, meeting these people in person, and asking the same kind of questions you would have sent through LinkedIn. If you manage to hit it off with any of these people, they might give you their business card. With that card, you now have your golden email that you will send your resume and cover letter to, bypassing the competition.
4. Work Sanctioned Events: Companies like KPMG will have Open Houses and special work-sanctioned events where they invite interested employees to come by and enjoy a drink with their current staff. This typically happens in their larger offices, like ones in NYC. If you are happy to be taking a trip this year, try and see if you can line it up with one of these forthcoming events. Check their social media and website calendar.
Thanks to the turnover rates common with millennials, many companies are interested in meeting interns, first-year associates, and so forth. They want to get to know you, which is why with a little commitment, it shouldn’t be hard to befriend some people at the agency.
Next, let’s say you meet one or two people at these events, or someone accepts your LinkedIn friend request. What are best practices to ensure you don’t overwhelm them? Here are a few tips:
Be brief: Do not send massive paragraphs on social media, through email, or on LinkedIn to these people. They are busy, and they are not interested in being your personal hiring assistant. Try and be brief, sending them messages with a maximum of 3-sentences at a time. When we receive emails with 5-paragraphs, we might not read all of it, right? Time is money.
Be genuine: You don’t need to be formal and professional if you are contacting someone you have invested time in. Ditch the “To whom it may concern at KPMG” and use more relatable language like “Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me yesterday!” These people are not interested in chatting with robots, which can be a major turn-off. Just be yourself, with proper grammar and spelling, of course.
Build them up: Remember, these people are taking time out of their day to help you. They don’t need to do that, which means you need to say thank you, and you need to ask them questions that make them feel good about themselves. Build them up along the way, complimenting the company and potentially what they have done with the company. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.
It’s basic human nature when it comes to building employee relationships. Avoid clinging to these people and scaring them off with massive emails, dozens of questions, and non-stop pestering. Perhaps give them a few days of rest in-between messaging so they don’t send you to the spam folder. Treat them how you would want to be treated.