Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.
In the perfect world, an employer would hire someone based on what they can bring for the company, and nothing else. A world without nepotism or cronyism isn’t realistic, however.
Think about it. Would you rather talk to a complete stranger, or someone that your friend knows? Sticking close to the people you know is a general trait of humanity, and it’s hard for people to combat that, especially if you’re applying in small town, where everyone knows one another.
However, it’s still possible. Here are some ways to boost your chances of getting a job, even if you don’t have any connections.
Dig Deeper on Listings
Job listing sites can be a godsend, especially for online jobs, and you’re competing in a fairer market.
Many people who apply to these jobs will be just like you. Ideally, they won’t have any connections to the company, and the employer will instead look at your talents and not who you know.
Some listings can narrow the field for you. There are industry-specific job sites and sites geared to certain areas, and sometimes companies only post to their own websites. Becoming familiar with the companies in your area and where they are posting will give you an advantage.
Oftentimes, someone won’t apply for a job because they feel like they don’t have any connections or experience. This may be holding you back from getting a job, but what’s the worst that can happen? Rejection? Rejection hurts, but so does not having a job.
Apply anyway with well-written resume, and determination to work. You can end up landing a job even if you don’t have a connection. There’s no harm in trying.
Look Harder for Personal Connections
When people think they have no connections, that might not actually be the case.
Often, they mistake not having connections with not being buddy-buddy with everyone who works there. But odds are, they know someone who could put in a good word for them. Professors, former coworkers, even friends, may be able to help.
Don’t write off a job just because you don’t feel like you have a connection that exactly fits what you’re looking for.
If your job is local, look for things you and your employer may have something in common with. For example, ask about their favorite places to eat, or see if you two went to the same school.
Similar interests and experiences can help build a bond, even if the two of you appear to be total strangers.
Look for an Influencer
LinkedIn is your friend, as it allows you to talk to people who are in the field you’re looking to apply to.
Make a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so already and find someone who is in the position you want to be in. Write them a message. Keep it short, polite, and to the point, and follow-up if you don’t get a response in a few days. If you don’t get a response at all, don’t spam them, but instead look for someone else.
You’ll be surprised that there are some people who will be more than happy to help you land that job. Cold messaging people sounds a bit intimidating, but the worst that can happen is that you won’t get a response. The best thing that can happen is that they’ll help you get a job.
Research the Company and Suggest Away
A company will prefer to hire someone who feels like they’re a part of something bigger as opposed to someone who just wants a job.
Do some Googling on the company you want to join, and see if there’s any problems. Read reviews, look at stats, all that good stuff. If you see a problem, try to think of a solution, and propose it during the interview.
You’ll build a connection this way, as the employer will think you’re already part of a team.
It’s All About How You Present Yourself
Many employers will prefer someone who is likable and enthusiastic than someone who has connections, but comes off as standoffish.
Having a connection is helpful, but it’s not going to do anything if your attitude isn’t that great. Think about how you’ve presented yourself to employers. Are you low-energy? Do you try too hard? Try being likable, yet not too erratic.
How you present yourself online actually matters, too. For about 80 percent of recruiters, online searches on candidates is required. Take a look at how you appear online, and if it doesn’t fit in with what employers would be looking for, it may need some maintenance.
Make the Connection Yourself
If you get the interview, be ready to make suggestions, but don’t act like you own the company. Practice how you present yourself, and you may get the job without any connections.
Getting a job without any connections is a bit of a challenge, but people tend to exaggerate its severity. It’s possible to find a job without connections, and it’s possible to build your own.
Up your confidence, try applying, present a case, and you’ll be surprised at the results.
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Good luck in your search,