Which of these two sounds like it would work better: You send a piece of paper, or more likely a .pdf, to someone to tell them all about yourself and why they should hire you. A good friend you know and trust talks about you with someone who knows and trusts them about you and why they should hire you. The second approach is much more personal and much more effective. How does anyone know if what they see on a document like a resumé is true? But if someone they know and trust tells them that you’re a talented and worthy individual, they are instantly confident that you’re worth meeting. How Many People Do You Know? The first reaction many people have to the question of how many people they know is that they have no idea how many. One good way to get a close approximation might be to see how many contacts you have in your address book or LinkedIn. But how many you have is not all that important. What is important is that you take a good hard look at your current job search and maybe make some changes. Here are a few to think about: You know that empty feeling you get when you finish filling out a job application on a job board? You finish entering all the info, attach your docs, click “Submit,” and… Then you wait. And wait. Why do that? Job boards only result in about 14% of all hires. Did you ever feel you were just another resumé your recruiter is churning around the mill? Well, you’re right, you are. Recruiting is a numbers game. The more candidates, the higher the salary requirements and therefore the commissions, the more hiring managers, all factor into the meager 11% of hires recruiters and agencies produce. When you’re unemployed and searching, how much do you hate that feeling every morning when you wake up and don’t know exactly what you’re going to do with the day? If you hate it that much, stop waking up that way. Wake Up Excited About Your Job Search Every Day Talk to somebody. When you wake up and grab your coffee, grab your contact list along with it. Sit down with your phone and your notepad and call someone. Who? Anyone on your list. Anyone. Just like you, everyone you know also knows a lot of other people. Maybe a few, perhaps a few dozens, possibly hundreds or even thousands. Ask yourself what the odds are that any one of the people you know also knows somebody who might need your skills? Or that they may know someone else who does. The Meaning of “Networking” Networking does not occur just between you and another person. It continues beyond that interaction when the person you spoke with speaks with someone else, and when you talk with another person who then speaks with someone else. And then those people interact with other people. All those people have eyes, ears, and memories. When they hear someone mention that they’re looking for someone with specific skills, they often remember you and who mentioned you to them. People will listen for opportunities for you and tell people about you when they do. 65% of hires result from networking with family, friends, and companies you reach out to. Here’s the best news of all: People Want to Help Each Other Literally, everyone has been where you are right now. They’ve been displaced from their employment for any of a thousand reasons. What is even more comforting is that you are not alone. Over 18 million people were displaced during 2020 because their employers closed or ran out of business due to COVID. They know what it’s like to be conducting a job search like you are. ABC – Always Be Calling! If you find yourself not on the phone with someone, meeting someone for a video call, or following up with a thank-you email or resumé and CV, know that something is very wrong. You DON’T have to be asking everyone you call for a job. In fact, you shouldn’t be asking ANYONE for a job. Instead, call to say hello. Call to catch up with people you haven’t spoken to within a while. Talk with them about how things are going. Be a human being. Enjoy conversation. Let them know that you’re looking, reminding them about your skills and capabilities if they need to be reminded. You have nothing to feel bad about or ashamed of. It’s called having a career. There are ups and downs. You get jobs; you lose jobs, companies run into trouble, companies run out of cash, and in the worst-case scenario, there's a global pandemic. You’re still a great person, a worthwhile addition to any company. Project that in your conversations. Don’t brag on yourself; just feel good about who you are. One employer’s bad decision doesn’t ruin you. People will pick up your attitude even over the phone. Keep it positive. Walk around and smile. Think happy thoughts. Whatever it takes, when you’re networking, you’ve got to bring your best. You’re Shopping! The biggest mistake you can make is approaching your search, thinking you have to find someone who will take you. There are plenty of those, and many of them would be the worst place for you to end up. Instead, start shopping for the company you most want to work at: Create your own description of the kind of company you want to work in. Define the role in that company that would allow you to make the greatest contributions to that company. Be prepared to tell friends what you’re looking for in your next challenge. List all the things that make you stand out from the crowd and let those define you, your “brand.” Get help from past employers and co-workers on this one. They often know what’s best about you better than you do, and they’re always more prepared to brag on you than you are. Challenge yourself NOT to be sending out your resumé unless someone specifically asks for one. The only role of the resumé is to either get you the interview, which you’ve already obtained through far better means or to fulfill a requirement of the hiring company. Thank everybody and follow up on everything. No exceptions. Even someone who suggested a job you absolutely don’t want may later run into something you do. Tell them it wasn’t a fit. People will get it. You’re Selling While many people frown at the concept, when you’re shopping for the company you want to work at, and you find it, the next thing you must do is to sell. You must sell them on you, something you know very well and like very much. We sell best what we know and like. Don’t hesitate. Be prepared with plenty of stories about your successes and the people you’ve helped with your skills. Hiring managers want to hire people who can help their customers with their skills and generate more revenue for them. Speak their language. Be prepared to talk about what they need from you. You want to sell you, and they want to buy someone who can contribute to their bottom line. Sell them what they want by translating you into bottom-line contributions. You’re Learning The first thing you need to learn to do is to deal with rejection. You only need one person to know someone who knows someone who needs your skills. Everyone else may not come up with anything. Some may interview you and say no. Opportunities for rejection abound, that’s how it is, but it isn’t just you. Everyone faces that. Remember what you’re worth and post that up in front of whatever rejections you may encounter. You can also learn a lot more about several of the strategies we’ve discussed here. United Training Academy offers an “Effective Job Search” program in which you will: Learn how to find the job opportunities that aren’t listed on the job boards. Get detailed steps you can follow to create the tools we’ve discussed, like fill-in-the-blanks brand statement builders you can use even when you have no experience. Learn how to craft your own highly-effective messages. Build your confidence and increase your success rate. Learn the 3 components of connecting: How to be easy to find How to build your network How to communicate actively Help is here by reaching out to United Training Academy. But your biggest help is right in the palm of your own hand. Use it to pick up your phone and start calling your friends. Keep doing that, and you’ll find yourself happily engaged in a new opportunity faster than you’d ever believe.