Connections. Connections. Connections.
My professors harped on this in college. (Thanks Donna and Linda!) I wanted to resist. I thought, “I can do this on my own. I’m a strong, young, independent businesswoman. Using connections that my professors set up is cheating.”
EERRTT! Wrong! Using connections is smart. Everyone is connected, as that first gif shows. It’s like the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” but for professionals. Chances are that you know somebody who knows somebody in your field. Somebody who can get you a foot-in-the-door with their company.
When you are doing a job search, connections are your biggest assets, and in fields such as communications and the arts, connections are needed forever, not just during the search.
So how do you use your connections for your job hunt?
If you’re like me, there’s probably a pile of business cards you’ve received from random professionals sitting in your room. It’s time to put those cards to good use.
Reach out to these professionals through email or LinkedIn. Don’t think they’ll remember you? Remind them how you got connected (e.g. a job fair).
Here’s an example of what I sent out to my connections:
Good morning, Mr. **(last name)**.
It was wonderful to meet you at **(specific name)** Writers Conference this past September. During the conference, we talked about possible editing opportunities with **(his company)**. I recently graduated from Dr. Hensley’s professional writing program at Taylor University and am hunting for manuscripts to edit. (Once you start, you can’t stop!)
Would your company have any open chances for freelancing or interning? I have attached my resume below for your convenience.
Thank you, and I look forward to catching up!
– Rebecca A. Schriner
**(my contact information)**
Note a few things:
- I greeted him professionally, using his last name since we were not well-acquainted.
- I referenced how we got connected, a conversation we had, and a mutual connection.
- I clearly asked him a question about opportunities in his specific company.
- I attached my resume in case he would want it. This lets him know that I thought ahead.
- I thanked him and indicated I would like a response.
- I provided my contact information.
You can also ask if your connection has any advice or business associates that you could reach out to.
Don’t know anyone in the company? You could do a “cold ask.” Most websites have a Contact Us page set up where you can send questions about job openings. HOWEVER, be sure to look around their website for a Careers or FAQ page first.
Now go out there and get connected!
Looking for more info on making connections? Check out “How to Network Like You Really Mean It” (Inc.) and “How to Make New Connections Anywhere You Go” (Entrepreneur).
Let’s talk! : How do you get (and keep) connected?