For many, job hunting is quite a solitary experience – scouring the internet for openings, cold-calling companies, sending countless emails, and filling myriads of application forms. The process is often contained to oneself, or, in some cases, to an acquaintance with a few connections putting in a good word. Job seekers increasingly complain about the difficulties faced in landing a role, a fact that can be helped through actively engaging one’s network and leveraging social connections.
Sohaib Hasan, career coach and trusted advisor to job seekers & employers alike, highlights the importance of a social job search:
“On the outset, career development appears to be a rather singular exercise. One individual is looking for an opportunity, for him- or herself. Many don’t see the potential that relying on one’s network can have, often because the usual process provides little opportunity to involve others.”
Many also mistake support from family and friends for nepotism, which Mr. Hasan expressly negates:
“Relying on one’s social network, be it through approaching people one knows who work for the company they applied for or other means, only supports one’s profile in being highlighted amidst a multitude, often hundreds, of other applications. There is nothing wrong with that – the flaw lies with the application process itself, which often does not highlight relevant profiles to employers, creating unjustified difficulties for qualified individuals – direct recommendations solve that.”
Apart from getting one’s foot into the door, actively involving one’s contacts also highlights important soft skills, such as teamwork and communication, which are increasingly important in a world characterized by a shift away from technical competencies:
“Being recommended by someone is a statement towards the recommended individual being qualified and talented enough to satisfy the requirements of the role, and the subsequent trust between him or her and the recommending person. It also bears witness to the competency of building meaningful relationships that provide value for everyone involved – a clear sign that this skill will be exercised to also include the potential employer’s customers and employees.”
As Mr. Hasan mentioned, most of the ways to apply for openings are not designed to accommodate referrals or recommendation from others. However, that should not deter job seekers from putting in extra effort and having their competencies highlighted by their contacts:
“Aside from including people who agreed to function as one’s reference in the CV, there is an increasing number of ways to also utilize social media to directly obtain recommendations from one’s network and sharing them with the public – for instance, LinkedIn provides a feature which displays obtained recommendations on one’s profile, which arguably carries greater value than a regular, ‘mouth-to-ear’ reference – after all, the recommendation is publicly viewable by everyone!”
With utilizing one’s social network being so tangibly beneficial in one’s job search, Mr. Hasan highlights the three most important to-dos to socialize one’s candidature:
Let your network know that you are looking for a new job.
“Many hesitate to let their connections know about their quest for a new opportunity, especially when one’s job has recently been lost. However, being out of a job by no means carries the stigma it had before – and without knowing that you are looking for a new role, your connections can barely help you. Worst case, they might come across a suitable opening but will assume you’re all set and not interested in it. Even when you are not actively searching, letting your network know that you would consider a shift can be very beneficial, even if it is by chance.”
Recommendations are key.
“See your recommendations, specifically those that are published online, like a showcase or portfolio. They are essential in highlighting your strengths and can easily be found by potential employers. Whenever you leave a company, ask for a letter of recommendation, which is something you should also do when graduating from university. Like when selling a service, people will put much greater trust in recommendations from individuals who aren’t actively selling for their own benefit, leading to a recommendation for you having considerably more weight than a statement you make yourself about your capabilities.”
Leverage your network to through reciprocity.
“Social connections heavily rely on reciprocity, even if such reciprocation is not expressly voiced or intangible. While someone who is very close to you will not expect anything in return to support you, others will likely be incentivized through your willingness to, at the very least, recommend them in the future as well. Keep in mind that the less well someone from your contacts knows you, the more they perceive a potential risk in recommending you, and the higher will be the expectancy to get a favor in return.”
During the last decade, there has been a tangible shift of HR and recruitment professional emphasizing the value that recommendations can bring to an application, with many specialists forecasting that, due to the intangibility of soft skills, recommendations may very well become equally important to an individual’s candidature as technical competencies such as years of experience or professional certifications – so if you did not start socializing your job search, it is high time to do so!
Sohaib Hasan is an initiative-driven and internationally seasoned HR Consultant with close to a decade of success in infusing efficiency into the HR Operations, Ideation and Development of HR based software programs to performing the core HR functions of Recruitment, Selection, Training, Development and Performance Evaluation to imparting expert counselling to the candidates.
He is a motivational speaker at heart and a trainer who is primarily branded for outstanding creative solutions to enhance organizational efficiency and as well developing and unleashing human behavioral potential. Strongly knitted with HR professionals globally, his career tips and advices on LinkedIn are queued every day to be engaged in and learn from.
Job seekers significantly get benefited from Mr. Hasan’s exclusive thoughts and strategies to transform your passion in to a career. He loves to socialize, meets his network and is very much accessible for guidance and mentoring.
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