The Best Way to Find a Job When You Don’t Have an Established Network

The old adage, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” is true in just about every instance when you’re job hunting. People with a vast network of professional mentors and contacts seem to be hired immediately while others whose credentials are just as impressive wait for weeks, months, or even years to be noticed. But what do you do when you don’t have an established network of contacts who can point you in the right direction and vouch for your abilities? How do you find a job without an extensive list of “who you know”?

1. Polish Your Resume.

A resume may list your accomplishments and skills, but its format and syntax also make an impression (for better or worse). Unfortunately, your resume will almost never reach the desk of a hiring manager if it does not get through the applicant tracking systems (ATS) most larger employers use to weed out resumes. Applicants who do not have certain keywords included in their resume will automatically be eliminated.

How do you get around an ATS? Using a tool like Resunate can take your qualifications, skills, and achievements and automatically structure them in a way that helps them breeze through the initial screening processes most large companies use. Best of all, it’s easy to create a resume with Resunate that is maximized for the job you are seeking. You answer questions related to your skill set, and the software does the rest.

2. Dust Off Your LinkedIn Profile.

While LinkedIn may not be the sexiest social media site, it is still a valuable tool in a job search. Using your current contacts to expand your professional network is easy with this business-related social media site. Employers still use it to browse for potential employees in their area with certain skill sets and make connections with people they feel would be a great fit for their company.

Be sure to include your location in your profile as well as relevant keywords to your target industry. List your relevant education, but be sure to join alumni groups for your alma mater to be noticed by other notable alumnae. Join groups that include the people or companies you would like to work with and then engage with them to create connections you may be lacking.

3. Set Up Informational Interviews.

Let’s say you have a particular organization in mind you would like to work with. How do you get past the front door?

You make an appointment.

Find someone at your target company you would like to work for or someone who has the job title you would like, and schedule 15 minutes to talk to them about their career. Most people are willing to engage in conversations about their personal experience. These conversations may help you learn more about the requirements for your dream job and any skills gaps you can begin to address.

4. Expand Your Network.

Are you unhappy with your current network? Are you looking to expand your circle of contacts and mentors? Rather than calling out for a specific job opportunity, ask for an introduction. Look at your current connections, and start navigating your way to second- or third-level contacts. Ask those who know your skills to introduce you to those who do not. Then, rather than trying to manipulate your way to a new job, show a genuine interest in the person you are connecting with.

One of the easiest ways to expand your network of contacts is to join the International Association of Women (IAW). This vast network of women offers members a chance to interact with successful women of all skill sets who want to help other women succeed. Best of all, IAW members have access to software like Resunate and webinars geared toward improving your social media presence and making connections you need to find your next great job. Join today to begin expanding your network and find the job you deserve.

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