Finding the Backdoor to your Interview

Spend at least 80% of your time finding a key to the back door. Unless you’re a perfect fit you will not get an interview by applying directly to a job posting. So don’t waste your time. Limit this effort to one hour per day.cropped-cropped-silho_teaser221.png

This call out is from a recent article written by Lou Adler. It’s here because we think it’s important to hear from a recruiter and influencer especially when he is telling you to stop applying directly to job postings and clicking anonymously on the ‘submit’ button. It’s what 225AM has been saying since our ‘Day 1’ and why we give our users a way to search across your social networks that sorts your connections by company, job title, location or industry. If you are looking to transition from your current job or searching for your first one then you really ought to refresh your perspective in the job hunt by considering what he says here.

By the way, ‘a perfect fit’ for a job is only in the mind of an eager candidate, never in the ‘eyes’ of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for the reasons illustrated in the infographic linked below.

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 from lifehacker.com

Stop networking…is one person’s opinion.

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I have met many millennial junior, senior and post-graduate students who are so enthusiastic, capable and eager to throw themselves into the workforce. Juniors are anxious to land that summer internship and seniors and post-grads (as well as new alums) are singularly focused on finding a living-wages job. One expects that with such determination and drive our gatherings would be a lively discussion and sharing of networking experiences and ideas for developing industry mentors or employee referrals. (A recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY reported that candidates who are referred to the hiring manager are twice as likely to get an interview — the holy grail of the job hunt — with 40% more likely to be hired over other applicants — winning!)

Instead, dead air filled the room and the enthusiasm was replaced by tentative silence. What I discovered is that most millenials think that the invitation/acceptance of connecting or friending someone on LinkedIn or Facebook is all there is to ‘networking’. There seemed to be no recognition that the very term ‘networking’ defines exchange of information, in short, communication. What I saw in the room was anxiety and puzzlement.

orgchartNetworking is fundamental to the art of getting a job. The silence was ultimately replaced with a question that was, apparently, common to the group: ‘But how do you network with someone in your network?’  So, I thought I would share a post I recently stumbled upon that attempts to answer that very question. Keeping in mind that it is one person’s opinion but I think that it is worthwhile to take it in and use it to introduce some self-awareness toward your next networking opportunity. In fact, it may take the anxiety out of networking.

Common Core: Networking in College

Our blog has a category titled Work My Network. It is where we collect our thoughts and ideas in support of the fundamental truth — referred candidates are more likely to be successful in getting an interview. This remains true no matter where you are on your career timeline.

But what does matter is when you start to build your network and we, at 225AM.COM, believe that freshman year in college is a great place to start. So when I read a post by Haley Osborne titled WANT A JOB? START NETWORKING IN COLLEGE on theundercoverrecruiter.com, I thought it would be useful to share it here.

Osborne reaffirms our assertion that networking is the first and critical step to winning a job. And she continues to encourage the reader to actively engage with network connections to develop mentors and advisers. The 225AM platform allows users to aggregate their LinkedIn and Facebook networks as well as add their personal contacts into their 225AM account. Our users can search across all three networks at once, using one of our 4 main filters, Industry | Position | Location | Company, to find relevant connections that have the potential to become referrals or advisers. Being able to organize your entire network within these categories provides a new way of ‘seeing’ who you know and insight into relevant relationships for your career development.

Take a minute to learn how Chantal is networking using 225AM:

Chantal

If you are serious about getting a job or an internship in the Summer of 2015 please take a few minutes to read the article and then get to work on building your network.

The Weak Ties in Your Network

A post with the title The best way to get hired is to be referred by an employee! But how do you get referrals?, by Karl Liechty, mentions the importance of building out ones social and professional network by connecting with people that have ‘weak ties’ to you or vice versa.  I made this the issue in a prior post and I will continue to bring up related discussions and points of view again here because strengthening a weak tie is the very thing that can not only extend your network but make it evermore robust.  I further submit that your opportunities for developing mentors and valuable referrals will also grow. It then follows that finding a position that you truly want will also improve because you may have finally connected with someone ‘in company’ that can get your resume walked into HR and onto the short stack, the one that gets read.

You may already be engaged in more than a few of the practices that are encouraged in the article by Liechty but it never hurts to get a little affirmation and encouragement to help keep you on your tack.

We always welcome your comments or narrative about your experiences so let us know what’s happening with you.

Mentors Know (the rules)

In graduate school, my girlfriend, Emma, applied to two assistantships. One involved working at the library’s reference desk; the other was to help out a long-time librarian with information literacy initiatives.

The first, in many ways, better suited her career goal. After all, she wanted to work as reference librarian. But she ended up taking the second, and it couldn’t have worked out better. She got along great with her supervisor, who in turn showed her many different facets of librarianship that she might’ve otherwise missed out on. In other words, what Emma got out of the experience was a friend and a mentor.

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Having a mentor is valuable at every level of development and experience.

Finding a professional mentor is huge. College provides you with some skills, none more important than the ability to analyze and learn from situations. But the picture that college paints of the professional world may not be totally accurate.

For any profession, there are THE RULES and then there are (the rules). THE RULES are what you learn in college. They’re officially what you should do as a member of your career field. The problem is THE RULES often portray things as a brick wall. Each responsibility gets the exact same amount of space and they all fit perfectly together.

A mentor can teach you (the rules), otherwise known as the reality of the situation. Often, (the rules) are simply THE RULES but rearranged and reweighted. They bring forward the aspects of the job that are truly important and downplay those that, while necessary to make it through the day-to-day, don’t help you get ahead. What you do with this information is pretty obvious: you work on the areas that count, learn the lingo, and build yourself into the ideal candidate for an entry-level job in your field – someone who’s fresh but not green, someone who’s excited and energetic but not unreasonably idealistic.

But a great mentorship gives you even more than a little bit of insider knowledge. Think about it: where does insider knowledge come from? An insider. And who do insiders know? Other insiders. And what do other insiders know about? Open positions in their field. So a mentor might not only be a teacher but can be instrumental in moving your from the ‘big pile’ of applications with resumes attached into the ‘small pile’ of applications with resumes that will actually get considered..

And this is why you want to seek out and cultivate a professional mentor. It’s not just sitting down with someone for coffee once a week to go through important terms and procedures. You want to exchange ideas with experiences. You want them to see that you’re not only learning; you’re applying your new knowledge and insight that you may have acquired from him or her successfully. Then, when someone mentions an open position, your mentor can say, “Yeah, I know someone who could DO that job,” not just, “hey, I know someone who understands that job on paper.”

This is what happened for Emma. Her mentor knew someone who knew about a job, and since she watched Emma grow and take on more and more challenging work over the two years they had together, she had no problem giving a glowing recommendation.

So look around you and see who you know. Maybe there’s a mentor there just waiting to show you the ropes.