In Germany, 54% of employees are open to changing jobs or are already on the verge of doing so.
Among 18- 34 year olds it is even 74 %. For many, this means a marathon application process, scouring job ad portals on a daily basis, waiting for the job ad for the dream job at the dream company to finally go live. The job alerts on XING, Stepstone& Co are running hot and yet nothing is happening.
How can you become active and transform the process of finding your dream job?
What if we told these people that they are not dependent on applying somewhere and waiting for success to materialize. That they can transform the job search process? All it takes is a little courage: dare to use your network to get the right job yourself.
According to Jeff Weiner, CEO of the career network LinkedIn, you are 9 times more likely to get a job if someone recommends you for the position. It is not uncommon for positions to be filled through employee networks. Employee referrals are a particularly important channel in many companies to find and hire candidates.
The employee makes the pre-selection and recommends him directly to his own boss. Sometimes there is even a bonus from the company. The motto here is: "Good people, know other good people!". You can find more information on this topic in our article on employee recommendations in recruiting.
But not everyone has a large network and that is a problem. In this case Weiner speaks of a "network gap", which distinguishes people with a good network from those with a less good network.
There are 3 main factors that influence the strength of one’s network:
The neighborhood in which we grow up, the school/university, or the company we work for. Educational institutions we visit and the companies we work for.
- From an early age, our network is determined by the neighborhood in which we grow up. People who grow up in a "good neighborhood" with an average high income have a 3 times stronger network than people who come from lower income areas.
- People who have gone to one of the top universities have a 2 times stronger network than others who have not.
- People who work for one of the top companies in the world have a network that is 2 times stronger than others.
People who can tick off all three factors have a 12x stronger network than those who cannot.
But do not worry! Closing the network gap. Business networks like XING and LinkedIn help us to network in a professional context with people who can open doors for us, give us tips or recommend us for our dream job.
But how do you build such a network?
1) Network with relevant people in the field you want to be in
If you want to work in online marketing at Traumjob-AG in Hamburg, it doesn’t hurt to network on XING or LinkedIn with people who are already working in the company, in the corresponding field of expertise.
So as a first step you should identify these people. In the advanced filter search on both XING and LinkedIn, you can search for keywords such as "online marketing", "human resources", "Java developer" or other terms. You can then narrow down the results to the region relevant to you and get a list of people who match your search criteria.
2) Select the companies you want to work for
There are so-called company profiles on XING and LinkedIn. These are profiles where you can research about the company and in the best case get an authentic insight into the company culture. The "Employees" section is especially exciting for networking. There you will find a list of employees who work in that company and you can get in touch by sending them a contact request or a message.
3) Write to people and network actively
Once you have located the people in the companies either through a simple search or research on the company profiles, comes the step that many find difficult: contacting them. Two aspects are important here. Our message should be authentic and professional. We want something from the person, so we should be careful not to come across as pushy or impersonal. Sometimes it also helps to ask yourself, how could I be of use to this person and then include that in the communication. An honest and open request is most likely to get us to our goal, such as:
"Hey Daniel, sorry to barge in, but I have seen that you have very exciting job offers in the Traumfirma AG and I have been dreaming of working for the Traumjob AG for a long time. To learn a bit more about the company, I would love to network with you. Thank you in advance and best regards!"
A few days later we can contact again and ask for concrete info.
"Hey Daniel, the topic does not let me go. I have seen the position of Marketing Manager at your company. Do you know anyone in your company who would be willing to tell me something about this over a cup of coffee, so that I can find out more about the position?? Many thanks and greetings!"
It is advisable to write to several people. This increases the probability of getting a response. But ATTENTION: However, it is very important not to bombard all people in the same department with the same mass mailing. This flies up fast and comes across impersonal and uncharming.
4) Phone people, meet for coffee or lunch
If you think that this is complete nonsense, then I can tell you: Try it out! It works. Most people like to be of use for others and tell them something about themselves or their job. Dare to ask these people after a short phone call or a 15-minute coffee.
"I’d like to invite you to lunch sometime to learn a bit about your company because I’m in the application process there right now…" can also be a good approach. And even if it doesn’t work out: you have nothing to lose.
5) Common contacts should be used
There are various studies on this and even a specific name for it. The small world phenomenon: Everybody knows everybody, over 6 corners. Look for common contacts and contact them directly. On XING and LinkedIn, common contacts and even the degree of contact (1. Grades, 2. Grades, 3. Grades) are displayed in the search.
Either ask your contact to introduce you, or write to the person yourself, with reference to the common contacts. Sure, it’s hard to get started. Especially if the network was not put in the cradle to you. But with a little bit of courage you can actively acquire these skills. And it is also clear that this doesn’t happen overnight. It is advisable to have patience and perseverance when building up your own network. It’s worth it!
What are your experiences with building and expanding a network, have you possibly even found a job or referred someone this way?? We are curious about your comments.
+++You are currently looking for a job? With our consulting packages for applicants, we help you optimize your resume, present yourself as an attractive candidate on XING& Position LinkedIn and prepare yourself ideally for your job interview. You can find more information here+++