We all know that creating a polished resume and cover letter is critical to job hunting.
But if everyone is doing that, how do you differentiate yourself?
There’s a secret to that.
And not just any networking.
You have to do focused networking.
Don’t worry – it’s not difficult to do. Even if you are an introvert.
1. Do a simple LinkedIn search using job title and company as fields. Search for the same role as the one you are applying for, and one-up roles too. So, if you are applying for the role of a growth marketer, search for other growth marketers and Director (growth) roles in the company.
2. Find out if any of them are alumni from your school or college. Typically alumni tend to help each other out quite a bit. If not, see if you have some mutual connections (LinkedIn shows this).
3. Send them a small message. (Lead with the alumni connection or get your mutual connection to introduce you.) Explain the context of your outreach (job search) and the help needed (a quick 15 min conversation.)
4. Add some value to their lives – if meeting offline, offer to buy them coffee or lunch. If you are calling them online, be creative. Compliment their most recent post on Linkedin and tell them what you specifically liked about it.
5. During the conversation, be specific. Ask about the role and the challenges the role will face. Listen carefully. Note down not just the challenges, but also the language they use to describe those challenges. Jot down keywords and jargon.
6. Once you are done, send them a thank you note. Keep them appraised of how your interviews go. People really like knowing that their contribution amounted to something.
If you really want to build your network and personal brand, keep repeating this exercise even while you are not actively hunting for a job.