How to network to your dream job

Dream Job network

People who are employees often act like they’re rice.

Rice is a commodity.

It doesn’t really matter which brand of rice you get (except for Basmati rice, man, that is the real deal). They’re all the same to you. It’s plain and boring. You could swap our one type of rice for another and nobody would be able to tell the difference. That’s the problem with being employed in a company. People go and they are replaced.

The company goes on. It’s easy to feel like you only exist to fill a headcount. The company treats people like a commodity. But the problem is when you as a person, starts treating yourself like a commodity.

You do NOT want to be a commodity. If you are, you’re exactly the same as the next 100 corporate drones. And that means it’s harder to get hired, harder to stand out, and harder to get meaningful work.

When you’re not just rice (aka you’re Basmati rice)

Top performers don’t have to panhandle for jobs on recruitment sites. They can send a few e-mails and get a meeting with the hiring manager straightaway. Their network will vouch for them saying, “This is the person that you need to talk to”.

The whole dynamic of the conversation changes when you have a recommendation like that. You are someone the hiring managers “needs to talk to”, instead of just another job applicant. It immediately separates you out from the herd.

What if you don’t have the right connections?

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s easy for you to say. I don’t have the right connections!”

Everyone has a network, especially in today’s hyper connected world. There’s your network from school, your network from previous jobs, your network from your parents. It’s just that people never learnt how to tap their network. Let me show you a few ways you can get connected to the right people.

Hypothetically, say you’re looking for a job at Google.

Here’s what a corporate drone would do, “I asked a couple of friends to see if they know anyone at Google. They didn’t. So, I sent in my resume to the black hole of doom. No one responded so I gave up.”

Be specific about what you what to do

Here’s what a top performer would do. First of all, he figures out what kind of role he would like to have and finds out what departments in Google sound likely. You have to figure out what you want before you can go about getting it. A lot of people look for jobs that are “challenging and rewarding” which lets me “make an impact and work with people”.

This is NOT being specific.

I’ve been approached by people to help them with jobs, and it drives me nuts when they tell me something like this. Most people in a position to offer you a job is super busy, be super specific with what you want so they know how they can help you.

A top performer would say something like this:

  • “I’m looking for an ad sales position at a social networking company”
  • “I’m interested in working on app development in a start-up firm dealing with big data”

Be specific, so people will know how to help you.

Footnote: respect the busy-ness of important people

Before you e-mail anyone, appreciate their busy-ness. Anyone in a position of importance is going to be incredibly busy. If you e-mail someone like Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack and Flickr, don’t take it personally if he doesn’t reply. Put yourselves in his shoes, he has a million other people he could be talking to, and because he’s so busy and important, he doesn’t have to answer YOUR e-mail, or even read it.

Well, why should they?

There are hundreds of people emailing them for favors every day, what makes your request stand out?

But… they’ve gotten to where they are because they are professional and they will respond to inbound communications as much as possible. You just have to make it easy for them to do so. And be persistent but polite in your follow-up.

Tap your network using LinkedIn

Here’s how you can use LinkedIn to tap your network. Let’s say hypothetically, you want to find a job at Google. You can search in LinkedIn for people who have worked there, or used to work there.  

LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn Search

Once you’ve done that, you’ll realize that every person that is returned by the search has a number listed next to them:

  • 1st Connections: this means that you know them and have added them to your network
  • 2nd Connections: this means that somebody in your network knows them. (in this case, the search result will also tell you who it is under “Shared Connections”.
  • 3rd + Everyone Else: You don’t know this person at all

LinkedIn Relationship Search

Browse through the profiles on this this list and make a note who you would want to talk to. You can’t InMail 2nd line contacts directly. But you can get someone from your shared connections to introduce you. This greatly increases the chances of your success. Here’s an e-mail script you can use:

 

To: Diana Prince
 Subject: Introducing me to Chris Hemsworth
 Hey Diana,

I noticed you’re connected to Chris Hemsworth from Hammer Inc. on LinkedIn. 
I would love to chat with him to get some insights in Hammer Inc and I promise to be respectful of his time. 
Would you mind connecting me? 

I’ve attached an introductory e-mail that you can use to make things easier for you as well.

Thanks,
Aksel

In your e-mail attachment, have this script attached

Subject: Chris, meet Aksel (considering interviewing at Hammer Inc).

Hi Chris

Aksel is a friend of mine who is currently a project manager at Buffalo Corp. 
Aksel is excellent at big data analysis and is curious about some of the opportunities at Hammer Inc. 
He wondered if you could spare 10 minutes to chat on the phone.

Aksel, can you take it from here?

Thanks,
Diana

In the e-mails above, you’ve made it as easy as possible for your friend to make an introduction for you by sending them an introduction template. Always be mindful of other people’s time. Make things as easy as possible for them.

Set-up the meeting

From there, you’ll want to set up a coffee meeting to gain insights about the position you want. These meetings are not for you to ask for a job! It’s for you to understand more about the firm and what projects they are up to.

PS:If you want to know more about how to conduct a coffee meeting.

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