Want to know the fastest way to get a job? For most people, it’s not putting your resume on a job board, working with a headhunter, or blasting your resume to tons of companies. The best way to get a job nowadays is by getting referred.
In this show we discuss why referrals work and cover 8 steps to build a successful career the easiest way possible.
Richer Life Lab Podcast show quote
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” –Mark Zuckerberg
What Is a Job Referral?
Getting referred is when a friend or contact refers you to open jobs in the organization where he or she works. You know someone who’s on the inside who can fast-track your job search.
For many organizations, over 50 percent of new hires come from referrals. Employers encourage referrals because it saves them time, and in business time is money.
Organizations always give priority to referred candidates. Their resumes go to the top of the pile and their interviews get scheduled first.
Studies show that referred job candidates get hired faster, start working sooner, perform better, and stay at the company longer than non-referred job candidates. This means that employers keep their recruitment costs down and hire more qualified employees at the same time.
And many organizations pay out big bonuses to employees who refer a candidate who ends up getting a job!
Get a Job–8 Steps to Getting Referred
Here are 8 steps to getting referred the right way:
Step #1: Tell people what you do
First, you need to make sure people know what you do for a living. It sounds so basic, but a lot of the time, we really don’t explain our jobs to people, especially people we see socially.
Step #2: Connect on social media
Most of us are already pretty well networked with friends and family on social media. But to make referrals really work for you, you have to be connected to a lot of people.
This is where you cast the net wide – I’m not talking total strangers, but people you’ve worked with, friends of friends you’ve met once or twice, people you’ve met at professional conferences and talked to, people who do what you do and you share tips in the same LinkedIn Group. You should be connecting with those people, too, in addition to the ones you know well.
Step #3: Scan your contacts on LinkedIn
The next step to get a job by getting referred is to identify the people you think can help you land a job. Put together a list of the organizations you want to work for or the job title you’d like to have.
Then enter these job titles or companies in the LinkedIn search field and scan your first- or second-level connections to see who works at these organizations or has the kind of job you want. It’s amazing to see how many people you can connect to at the second level and how many companies they represent.
Step #4: Engage contacts and find new ones
So now you’ve got a sense of how many people you’re connected to who might be able to refer you, theoretically. But if they’re not good friends, or former colleagues you worked closely with or family members, you’ll need to cultivate these contacts before you can ask them to recommend you.
And, of course, always look to connect with second and third tier contacts.
Step#5: Check out company sites
If you’ve targeted a company you want to work for, check out their “Work for Us” or “Careers” page. Sometimes, they’ll mention their Employee Referral Program (ERP) right up front.
Really large companies, especially consulting firms, like Accenture and Ernst & Young have their own online referral platforms. So you go online, type in your LinkedIn ID and it will automatically show you which of your contacts work at the company.
Step #6: See what your college career office can do
People who’ve been out of school for a while tend to forget that college and university career offices help alumni, too—not just students. And they often have alumni networking events. But most of them also have ways to connect online with alums now, like a virtual networking site or a LinkedIn Group.
These are gold mines to find people who can potentially refer you. And it’s so easy to connect with someone who went to the same school you did.
Step #7: Artfully ask for referrals
If you follow these steps, you’ll have a good list of people to reach out to in the places you’d like to work.
But you don’t just email someone out of the blue and ask them to refer you to a job. You need to do a little work before asking, especially if it’s someone you don’t know very well.
First, ask them to talk to you about the company. Do a phone call or a Skype chat, or take them out for coffee. Learn more and ask a lot of questions.
Explain to the person why you’re interested in working for that company and that the job description seems like it fits you. If it all still sounds good to you by the end of the meeting, ask if they’d consider referring you.
Step #8: Refer others
What’s true in life is also true in job search – what goes around comes around. If you want others to help you get referred, you should be prepared to refer other people too.
When you’re looking for a job, helping others actually comes pretty easily. Not every job you hear about is going to appeal to you, but you probably know someone who’d be interested, so you can let them know.
The old adage: “It’s all about who you know” is still true. And, thankfully, it’s so much easier to connect with people on social media, even people you haven’t met yet. So take advantage of the tools and connections you have to build contacts and leverage them to get a job.
Richer Life Lab Podcast practical
Your lab assignment is to try either Step #1 or Step #2—or both! Create a fun, 30-second explainer that you can use in any social situation that makes it easy to quickly tell others what you do. Or start broadening your professional social network on LinkedIn or Facebook with, say, 5 new contacts a week for starters.
Let us know how it works for you or if you have other tips for getting referred to a new job. Send us a lab report to firstname.lastname@example.org or record a voice message on this page. You can delete and re-record your message if you need to.
A big thanks to our Richer Life Lab sponsor
SoFi – As the online marketplace leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi has helped over 90,000 borrowers refinance both federal and private student loans, cut their interest rates, and save around $14k on average! SoFi also offers personal loans of up to $100k. Learn more at sofi.com/richer.
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