The Less-Obvious Networking Tip That Can Help Get You Hired

If there's a place that has more misses than hits than online dating platforms, it has to be the job market. Swiping on dozens of profiles every day and going weeks without a match can be upsetting, but it's nothing compared to looking for employment. According to Zippia, a job seeker sends out 21 to 80 resumes on average before they get one job offer. And the average job search, according to TopResume, can take up to six months. 

However, sending out resumes and attending interviews is not the only way to land a job nowadays. To skip the lengthy application process, you can try to tap into the hidden job market. For example, you know someone who works at the company who tells you about its unlisted job openings. That way, you have fewer candidates to compete against and your application process also gets much shorter. If the person is willing to refer you to the position, that's a big win. The bigger your network, the more job opportunities you can locate. 

And LinkedIn is a great place to start. However, it's not in good taste to just DM people asking about job openings in their company, especially if you're not friends with them or you haven't contacted them in a very long time. If you come on too strong, it can make people feel like the only reason you're connecting with them is transactional. Instead, use this less obvious networking tip to help yourself get hired without coming across as pushy.

Reach out to those on the lower level of the hierarchy

In the popular imagination, people on the higher rung of a company's hierarchy — like C-suite executives or managers — are those you should reach out to if you want a job. That's true. But what are the odds of their replying to your message when they probably have hundreds of other unread messages in their mailbox? Do not put all your eggs in one basket.

To boost your chance of getting seen and remembered, reach out to the people at the lower end of the organizational structure as well. Individual contributors or entry-level staff for instance. Those are the people who are most likely to accept your friend requests, socialize with you regularly, and clue you in on potential job openings. Compared to higher-ranking executives or hiring managers, employees are more likely to spill the beans and let you know exactly what to expect in the company you're trying to get into. They can also refer you to other connections in the same field who might help you get a better job. To gain their trust and reinforce your relationship, do not hard sell yourself and turn every hang-out into a job interview. You can make your intention known, but focus on being a likable person, Indeed advises. For instance, ask them for advice instead of pressing them about job openings. If you want to get your foot in the door, these people can be your point of entry.

Remember to follow up with your connections

Following up with a networking contact is the key to forging lasting professional relationships. It lets your contacts know you appreciate their willingness to reply to your messages, meet up with you, and provide their assistance, according to Indeed. The idea is to keep interactions going, which helps to position you in your contact's mind and causes them to think of you when an open position arises. You don't want to be remembered as someone who's solely interested in getting what you want and only contacting people when you need a favor. 

According to The Balance Money, if you met your networking contact at an event, you should follow up with an email or a LinkedIn message within 24 hours of meeting them. The longer you wait to send a follow-up note, the easier it is for them to forget about you. To jog their memory, you can mention in passing the topic that you discussed and tell them that you enjoyed talking to them. To present yourself as a generous person, offer to help them in any way you can instead of asking them for a favor right away. At the same time, suggest a time to meet up to pick up where you left off and, during the conversation, bring up your interest in getting a job at their company. When asking for a referral, be as subtle and objective as possible to avoid making them feel pressured or annoyed.