The Single Best Way to Get a Job

the single best way to get a job The Way Women WorkOnly 10% of jobs are ever really advertised or posted.

The remaining 90% of jobs are filled through people’s connections.

This is why, hands-down, the single best way to get a job or promotion is to connect with people — and to do so for the express purpose of getting a job or promotion, no matter what anyone says.

(I am not talking about networking. Real, true networking should be done all of the time. Its purpose is pure and simple — to build relationships. That’s it! If anything comes out of those relationships, that is a bonus. If you need help or pointers on networking, find advice online or ask someone who is excellent at it.)

The 10 steps to conducting a connection-based job search are:

  1. Figure out the type of job or field in which you are most interested and the type of person who might be able to help you learn more.
  2. Find ways to connect with the types of people you have identified. Connect with them through things like community service, professional organizations, other people you know, or online.
  3. Contact the individuals on your list by phone or email. Explain how you got their contact information and ask them if they would be willing to talk or meet with you to discuss the field in which they work. You are not asking them if they have a job opening, but rather connecting with them to learn more about their industry and place of employment.
  4. Be completely prepared with your story — who you are, your background, and your interest in their business — if you are fortunate to get a positive response from someone.
  5. Frame up the conversation and yourself in terms of a story, one that is memorable and creates a positive and lasting impression in the listener’s mind. The keys to storytelling are to have a differentiator and a connection to the listener. Make your resume ready to share.
  6. Be ready to ask some good questions — not about things you read on the website but about them and their career journey or about the direction of the industry.
  7. Ask them for advice and direction. If they offer to do something for you — follow up!
  8. If you feel you have made a positive connection with them, ask them if there is someone else they would be willing to connect you with.
  9. Thank them — immediately in person, right away by email, and finally with a handwritten note.
  10. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Last summer, I mentored two young women who graduated from college in May. After the first two months, they had yet to find success in securing a job. Their primary job-search strategy was responding to job ads or going to company websites looking for jobs.

No matter how often I and others talked to these two very talented women, we could not get them to get out and just start connecting and talking to people. Their concerns were:

  • They did not have a network.
  • They felt that they had nothing to offer people they might meet.
  • They did not really believe that people would want to help them.

Connecting with people in the business community or within your organization to ask for their guidance, direction, and/or assistance with your job search or in exploring promotion opportunities is not based on your ability to “pay that person back.” Assisting someone in a job search is about paying it forward. Most people want to help others succeed. Just remember that when you are asked to help someone else — that will be your contribution to the circle.

Flash forward from last summer to the two young women I mentored. Once they got over their fears and misperceptions and started making connections, they both landed dream jobs — one in a three days and the other in a month!

What is your job-seeking advice?