Much has been written about the hiring process taking longer than ever. It’s not unusual to see qualified, smart people unemployed for many months. The purpose of this article isn’t to lament issues created by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), or broken recruiting processes, it’s to teach you to smash those barriers to bits.
Engage with the company you’re targeting. Here’s how.
Last week, a coach friend told me about a client who wanted to work for Disney. He has daughters who love Disney World, and he wants to take his family there regularly without breaking the bank. He started following Disney on Facebook, and reviewed historical posts shared on the Disney account. After doing his homework, he began brainstorming ways to enhance and add value to topics they tend to post about, and then started regularly engaging on their Facebook page in the comments.
Don’t think you won’t be noticed. Companies read the comments, and most comments are made off the cuff. Thoughtful comments will stand out. I don’t have as many followers as Disney, but I know exactly who Christopher S. Bennett and Robert J. Hardy (former strangers) are out of almost 6,000 followers because they interact with my articles.
Guess where my friend’s client now works? (Hint: It starts with D, and rhymes with sisney).
The Key: You must add value. Simply stating “Great post!” is not a value-add when interacting with company pages. One idea is to add interesting data or anecdotal evidence to support the post, or share an idea you have to expand upon it. Don’t venture from your expertise and strengths, and play to those strengths when commenting. You don’t know what you don’t know, so stay in your lane.
Find out which social media outlets are most often used by your targeted companies: Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest, etc. Don’t worry, you won’t look like a stalker if you’re making intelligent, valuable contributions.
Not currently targeting specific companies? Take a step back and start researching companies who hire people for the work you do.
Engage individuals in that company.
In addition to company-level engagement, begin interacting with individuals at those companies. For example, if you want to work at Target in Marketing, search people who work in that area of the company. See what groups they belong to and join. Become active in the group. You should also look at their profile to see if they write articles, and comment on them. The value-add caveat applies here, as well.
You might be saying, “I’m looking for a job in accounting, so that doesn’t help me.” Well, guess what? I paused when writing this article and did an online search for “Top Accounting Professionals on LinkedIn” and found Reg D. in the first result; we have 3 connections in common. The results are all people who live in my city. I looked at his profile and he’s written five articles which I can comment on. Next, I can send him an invitation to connect stating what I enjoyed about his article. In my invitation, I would also offer something in return such as a link to a related article in an area he’s demonstrated some interest. I would also share one of his articles with my network. Every field has outspoken advocates. Find them. Interact with them. Make them your ally.
Once you’re connected, you might ask for a 15 minute exploratory conversation to seek their opinion working for XYZ company. When you’re on the phone with them, ask if they’re open to providing tips on getting hired at XYZ company, and if there’s anything you can do in return for them.
Bottom line: Stand out from the crowd. Many people are using LinkedIn to ask for introductions to companies, so you have to go an extra step beyond and make yourself known in addition to this strategy.
I will be speaking at a National career thought leader conference next spring by using this very strategy.
For other networking and social media tips, please see some of my other blog posts on the topic.
All the best to you!
Kristin Sherry, a Strengths-based Career Coach, is Owner and Principal of Virtus Career Consulting.