Have you ever wondered just what it would take to get your foot in the door at your dream company? Me, too.
But when you’re job searching, sometimes it feels like you can’t get an intro at any company, much less your pie-in-the-sky ones. And in my experience, tapping into your personal network can create opportunities, but maybe not be the ones you aspire to find. Even if you’re not on the hunt for a job today, your dream companies are still out there. And when the time comes, it’s important to get your resume in front of the right people at those companies. Keep reading to see how Elpha (and this article) can help.
What do our social circles really do for us when it comes to job searching?
During my job search, I wished I could hit a “Reply All” button for the internet.
I couldn’t figure out how to get the right people, in the right roles, to see that I would make a great addition to their team. I tried to do all the things people say you should do - I reached out to the hiring managers or people in similar roles at the companies I targeted. I awkwardly reached out cold to people at my target companies in the hopes they could help. And I reconnected with people in my personal network who held roles like the ones I wanted, to ensure I was using the right words and demonstrating the right expertise.
And guess what: It didn’t work. 99% of the time, I didn’t hear back at all. If I did hear back, or even better, got an interview, the process almost always began with an intro from a personal friend or a professional connection that I had established IRL. And, ultimately, after aggressively job searching for months, I ended up with two job offers, BOTH of which came via personal intros. Which is obviously great but also pretty disheartening. Just because I don’t personally or professionally know someone at the companies I’d love to work for, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make a great addition to their teams. So that’s a problem.
Figuring out the recipe for job-seeking success
So how can we find the people who can intro us, get us in early, or help us tailor our resumes to catch the eye of the people (and companies) whose attention we want most?
The first challenge of course is figuring out which areas of expertise to highlight on the all-important resume. Of course, there’s the idea that every resume should be tailored to the job, which I agree is important, but getting the foundation down on paper is surprisingly difficult.
When I sat down to write mine, I felt stumped. How could I accurately explain my personality, my expertise and the passion I bring to any position I hold? My unique mix of soft skills and a go-getter attitude that gets results? I would have loved to have had guidance from a tailor-made group of women in similar roles. Luckily, Elpha (and other networking communities) exist in part to facilitate just that.
Making your network…our network
Ultimately, our networks often do help us find what we need. People in my various circles have introduced me to prospective (and current) employers, volunteer opportunities, and even my partner. But when it was crucially important, I never did get intros to the companies I was most drawn to. I landed my current gig through a personal friend. Because I didn’t actually know anyone at my target companies! And I still don’t. So if/when I’m searching for a job again, I’ll just be right back where I started – trying to connect with people without an ‘in’.
And nowhere is that lack of a connection more relevant, or more frustrating, than during a job search. But luckily we live in a day and age where that’s getting easier to change. Elpha is an amazing place to create new professional connections, which you likely already know since you’re here reading this article. And I’m hoping that this post encourages and inspires those of you currently in the job market, or willing to help out job seekers, to engage with each other in a meaningful and impactful way.
Communities like Elpha are making job searching easier for women. By being here, we’re all contributing to that effort. I’m not a recruiter or an HR person, but I am a recent job seeker who is proactive, enthusiastic, loyal, and extremely passionate about making a positive impact at my job (and in life). I know I bring value to the teams I work with, and I know there are countless people here whose expertise, values, and personalities would be incredible assets for the teams they strive to join.
So, let’s have a virtual roundtable. Comment on this post if you’re a job seeker, someone who would like to help a job seeker or someone who’s hiring. Post what you’re working on or where you’re struggling to connect. Raise your hand to be connected with the people or companies you hope to impact this year, next year, or in 5 years. And if you’re ready to help, take this opportunity to provide warm intros if you can, review resumes or lend a sympathetic ear.
I’m grateful to be in this ‘together’ with you all. It makes me hopeful for job seekers to have a different experience than I had. If this post lands even ONE person an intro, interview or job offer from their dream company, it would be so humbling and amazing and inspiring. And maybe with a simple email or message *you* could be the connection between someone looking for a job and their dream role.
And in the meantime, reach out with questions or resume reviews or whatever else you need. I’d love to hear from you and pay it forward to any connections I can create, too.