When it comes time to start applying to jobs, many people come to a frightening realization… “OMG I’m supposed to be networking? How am I supposed to start now? I should have started years ago!” Well I’ve got some good news for you. Assuming you’re interviews don’t start tomorrow, you’ve got time to start building the key relationships that are going to turn the odds in your favour and land you your dream job. The reason that you still have time is that whether you realize it or not, you HAVE been networking for a long, long time. Today we’re going to reveal how to use the network you already have to turn the recruitment odds in your favour. Per the diagram below, you can do this in 3 quick steps or you can use a little shortcut we call “The Hammers”.
Step 1: Tap into Your Existing Network
It’s easy to forget that our friends, family, fellow students and coworkers have incredible connective power, but they do. Does someone you went to high school with work in your target industry? Maybe, maybe not, but one of them almost certainly knows somebody that does. Same thing goes for family, friends, university colleagues and coworkers. Fully harnessing the power of your existing network will at the very least get you within 1 or 2 degrees of separation from the person who will ultimately make you a job offer and that is a tremendous first step.
To tap into this power, you need to do 3 things. First, you need to emotionally accept asking for help. If you can’t get ask for help from your own friends and family you’re network will grow at a snail’s pace. Second, you need to be systematic. Use LinkedIn, Facebook and make a list of any other close contacts you have. Then go through each name and decide whether they are worth reaching out to, or whether they know someone worth reaching out to. Thirdly, you must fully embrace the incredible power of a referral. Asking someone you know to refer you to someone you want to know will be 10x more effective than a cold call.
Step 2: Meet the People in your Target Industry
Maybe you already know a few people in the industry already, or maybe you got referrals from your existing network. Either way at this point things get real and it’s time to put your game face on. These first industry contacts are the gatekeepers to the world you are trying to break into and you should act accordingly. If you got a referral, ask the person that connected you to tell you about the person. Look them up on LinkedIn and Google them. Gather all the information about them that you can, so that when you meet them you can show that you’ve done your homework and ask intelligent questions. Making a good impression on these gatekeepers is critical, because ultimately you will want to ask them for a referral to another person in the group, and preferably to the person who has a say in making job offers. Play this right and all of a sudden you’re face-to-face with someone who has a direct say on whether or not you get a job offer.
Check out our 6 Keys to Coffee Shop Networking Success for more info on how to be successful in these first encounters.
Step 3: Meet the Decision Makers
For capital markets jobs, there is typically a person called the Staffer, who is in charge of recruiting, and he/she will work with a team of junior employees who are responsible for managing the recruitment for a particular school or region. These are the people that can get your resume into the “Yes” pile or the “No” pile before you even apply, so now the pressure is really on. Once again, do your homework and come prepared. Make a good impression and come application time you will one giant step ahead of all the applicants that the decision maker hasn’t met. You’ve done it! You’ve given yourself a huge statistical advantage in an incredibly challenging numbers game.
Shortcut: “The Hammers”
You can think of the 3 steps just described as walking up a staircase one step at a time to reach your goal of getting a job offer. While this is a reliable way to get there, there is also a way to parachute in from above and that is by soliciting the help of a Hammer. A Hammer is a person at the Director level or above and we give them that name because when it comes to our recruitment decision makers, what the Hammer says goes. If a Group Head tells the lowly associate screening resumes for a particular school that they met someone and want them to get an interview, guess what, they get an interview. So if you find yourself sitting across from a Hammer, recognize the potential! Most of the time they will choose not to use their power, but if they do, you’re in and that’s all there is to it.
So there you go, some quick and easy tips to kick start your network building. Get out there and take action! If you have any questions or comments please post a comment and we will get back to you.
Meet you at the top!