Top 7 Ways To Leverage Your Target List:
- Linkedin: Connect to employees of your target company through Linkedin. The closer to your target department/area/decision maker the better. Don’t send the standard Linkedin request (“I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”), many won’t accept standard Linkedin requests from those they don’t know personally - others may get offended and mark that they don’t know you (Linkedin’s term for spam - too many of these, and you’ll be asked to go home). Instead, write a custom connection request letter, complimenting on blogs, tweets, LI updates, or LI group posts they may have made. At the very least, mention that you’re researching company X to consider if you’d like to work there, and would like this person’s insight.
- Networking events: To gain an understanding of which events are most likely to yield results with your target companies ask the following questions:
- What organizations does your target company sponsor?
- What charity events?
- What networking or industry organizations does this company (or department) participate in?
How do you find out? Ask people in your Linkedin network, study Linkedin profiles of company employees, study tweets and blogs of company employees. Look at the company’s press releases. All of these can give information about which organizations the company supports.
- Ask your network: But ask the right question. Ideally, you’re seeking someone in a specific area of a company. And realistically, you’re not looking for a job ... you’re looking for people within the company to talk to - If you’re smart, you’re probably not going to ask these people for a job (unless you’ve gotten lucky and been referred to the hiring manager). Instead, ask to be introduced to people who can help you learn more about company X. See: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/08/bringing-your-resume-to-informational.html for more details.
- Linkedin Company Follow: Linkedin Company follow is a great way to keep abreast of company news, company new hires, people leaving the company (good source of info), and job openings advertised on Linkedin. See http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/04/linkedin-company-follow-helps-job.html to learn how to use Linkedin Company Follow to gain contacts and information on your target companies.
- Search job boards: But don’t apply through them. Search the job boards for information ... The types of people the companies advertise for gives signals to the problems they are facing. New Executives build their own teams, numerous customer service ads may mean the company needs accounting or marketing help. An ad for a Controller with significant process improvement experience signals that the company is looking for people to help cut costs ... in other departments as well. See some more ideas at: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/3-ways-to-leverage-job-boards-and.html.
- Twitter: Now that many Linkedin profiles display Twitter links, follow everyone you can from your target companies on Twitter. Use some of the many search tools on twitter for company mentions, and for other employees. Follow as many employees as you can, especially those in or close to departments you’re targeting. Twitter can be a great listening device, but can also be a way to start a conversation, discussion and the beginnings of a business relationship by making positive comments on Tweets by employees of your target companies.
- Don’t rely on employees to “refer” you: Most companies today (other than really small ones) employ employee referral bonus programs, as a way to address government labor law compliance. These employee referral bonus programs aren’t as beneficial to candidates as you may think. Here’s some ideas about how to work referrals: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-employee-referral-bonus-programs.html.
Readers - please share your best practices about how to use target lists to gain more job opportunities and learn more inside information about target companies.
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