Between July and September 2011, I received over 10 separate job offers ranging from Maine to Boston to Chicago to Canada, from elementary schools to high schools to professional organizations to television studios to churches and more.
Thing is, I never sent any of these people an application or a resume.
That's not to say I didn't send out applications (I did, over 30 of them) however, not ONE of the applications I sent out turned into a hard job offer (one turned into an interview, with no call back)
Imagine how happy you'd be next time you're job hunting to have dozens of jobs come to you and compete for you instead of begging and pleading
How would learning this process change your life?
The trick is a simple word gleaned from the sales world: Referrals
In sales there are 2 main kinds of clients, "cold clients" - the kind you call or find out of the blue, (usually you can sell to about 10% of these people) and "referrals" - the kind referred to you by someone they trust (percentages climb to upwards of 60%)
In the job market, cold clients are jobs you sought out, sent an application and resume to, maybe gave them a call one time, maybe you even got an interview, but you are a simple piece of paper to them, along with the 40 or 100 or 1000 other pieces of paper they got, good luck beating out every other one by being the smartest, best qualified, most awesome candidate.
Referrals on the other hand, happen when someone who knows you hears about a job from a friend or colleague, and says "hey, ____ would be great for that, here's their info".
This type of interaction holds so much more weight than you realize.
Organizations don't hire people.
Get that through your head.
Organizations. Don't. Hire. People.
People hire people.
The person who hires you will be a real person and needs to be thought of and treated as such, they are not just an extension of the place they work for.
Since people hire people, you need to think like people do, and people do nice things for their friends.
Here's a scenario: you were looking for piano lessons for your daughter, and your best friend said "hey my brother just moved to the area and he teaches piano, I think he'd be great for you, here's his card"
Are you more likely to go hunting through the yellow pages, or call your friend's brother?
So how do you do it?
1) Give before you expect to get - No one ever moved forward in this world by being selfish, in the world of referrals it comes back to haunt you. Start by looking at the people around you, those you care about and those you are just meeting, and seeing if you can help them in some way, if they tutor math maybe you can help connect them with a faculty member at a local college, if they need a mechanic maybe you can give them the number of yours and call him and ask him to give them a deal. The more you do for others, the more they will do for you.
2) Eliminate Humility - I'm not saying become and insufferable arrogant braggart (like me), but I am saying to make sure everyone you meet knows what you do and that you are good at it. You shouldn't have friends that are surprised to find out after 8 months that you are a computer programmer, you never know who has an uncle in HR looking for a new recruit. When the inevitable "what do you do?" conversation comes up with a person, feel free to express your passion and drive and skill in your area of expertise. On a similar note...
3) Let People (Subtly) Know You Are Searching - No one likes to be beaten over the head with requests for help and pleas of "why can't I find a joooooob?" However, people need to know you are looking, so find subtle ways of slipping "I'm in the market for a new position" or something similar into your conversations, particularly with people in positions of power in your industry.
4) Stay In Touch With Your Network - This cannot be emphasized too strongly. Over the years (particularly in college) you will meet dozens and eventually hundreds and thousands of people in your field. Those who become fond of you should be getting a visit or a phone call or at the very least an email from you every few months. Just a chance to catch up, say hi, see how things are, and update them on your life. This will keep you fresh in their mind when job offers and opportunities come about. If you think your college professor will still be recommending you for jobs 5 years after graduation when he's mentored another several dozen students that are younger and more recent in his mind, you're dreaming. Keep. In. Touch.
By using these simple steps, you can go from living in your parents basement to having 10 separate jobs competing to give you the best package, as I had.
Now, living in Boston and taking advantage of 4 of these opportunities and the added pay, flexibility, and benefits that come from them knowing I could walk away for other job offers, I realize (as my phone rings with another part time job opportunity) that I may never have to send out applications again.
Reframe your life with referrals.
Having trouble getting started? Have a referral success story? Share it in the comments!