Who says you don’t know anyone at that company?

When it comes to interviews and ‘getting the job’ my philosophy is to be optimistic, perhaps to a fault, but better than the alternative of making assumptions about who may know who. If I see a job I am particularly interested in, I go in assuming I will know someone, somehow.

I keep digging, from the time I initially send in a resume, all the way up through the interview process. One particularly interesting story occurred when I arrived for an interview early. It was a nice day so I sat outside looking through the company’s LinkedIn contacts. Well, guess what, the VP of sales was connected to an old college friend. I had only minutes to spare so I called my friend who called the VP. My friend gave me a stellar recommendation before I even walked in the door. While there were other factors, that phone call was one of the reasons I got the job. Yes, that was an exceptional experience but because I stayed on top of it I made something happen.

Here are some ideas to help you find out who you know and who knows who in your job search.

Find the company (and the employees you will be interviewing with) on LinkedIn. Does anybody in your network know someone who works there or used to work there? Note how long the interviewers have worked at the company. Your questions (and the answers you receive) will be markedly different based on how long an employee has worked at the company. Of course,      finding an inside direct connection is interview gold. But even a tenuous connection can be helpful. Maybe someone went to college with one of your interviewers or someone’s husband or wife knows someone who used to work there. It boils down to digging deep enough until you find a connection and then acting accordingly, based on the quality and depth of the connection.

Send out a group email to your Facebook friends. Briefly tell them you have an interview coming up at Company A on such and such a date. Ask them if they know anyone who works there. (You can also do this when you’re applying for a job and could use some inside information for your  cover letter, or as a way to get your resume moved to the top of the pile.)

  1. If you’re able to find a connection, don’t be shy: Tell them your situation and ask how they might be able to help you network or get the inside skinny on the company.
  2. Finally, and perhaps most important, is to start planting seeds now, before you start picking the apples. Here’s how you can start cultivating contacts with LinkedIn:

When you find a contact on LinkedIn you’d like to connect with, delete the boilerplate “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Instead, send a short and sweet note, telling the person how you “know” them. Maybe you saw them at an industry event. Or maybe you share similar skills or went to the same college or used to work for the same company. If there is no connection you can say that, too.

Then say why you are reaching out. Maybe you love the company they work for and hope to work there someday. Or maybe you admire their work in some capacity. Then conclude by offering to help them in any way you can, with an introduction to one of your contacts.

Your goal is to secure more first degree LinkedIn contacts and to keep your invitation from being deleted or marked as spam. If that happens three times LinkedIn may drop your membership.

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Career, Company, Information, interview, job, Jobsearch, Recruiter, Recruiters, recruitment