Truth and allies: Linking with insiders can boost job searches

The black hole encountered by online job seekers is now common to more proactive applicants. This trend toward employer unresponsiveness won’t likely diminish soon and is particularly unnerving for people who are job hunting highly selectively.

You can’t assume, some would say, that not hearing about your application signals lack of interest, if only because the employer might have forwarded your information in the company for other positions.

So, how should you revamp your job-hunting strategy to increase your chances of being able to follow through on your application? Get allies.

Jonah Harris, senior vice president of software and systems architecture at New Hope, Pa.-based social network, suggests mirroring vendors who look for an internal “champion” to support their product or service.

“Extremely selective job seekers should seek out and network with current employees who can help them through the process, put them in contact with the decision-makers and give them a good internal referral,” he explains.

He says finding champions is easier than it used to be.

“(You can find champions) at events large and small … from large conferences to local meet-ups,” he says. “They’re great places to make that initial contact.”

Michael Barenboym, president of Bedford, Mass., medical supply business Baren-Boym Co. Inc., would concur.

“I receive about 10 (lackluster) resumes and cover letters per month,” he says. “Most of them don’t pique my interest.”

He says that communication through professional groups online increases your chance of getting hired.

Industry allies are essential.

“There are no useless connections in the industry,” he says. “One leads to another. When a person recommends you, you become more valuable.”

He also favors being active in online discussions and groups to draw more allies.

Try a test drive as a champion yourself. You can be an industry ally at the same time, says Laurie Berenson, president of Sterling Career Concepts LLC in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

“Always be connecting,” she tells clients. “For example, if a person needs help identifying a hiring manager and you can do that through your own connections, make an introduction on his or her behalf.”

Make connecting for others a habit and you’ll find people will help you connect.

Let company referral programs aid your job search, too, particularly if you’re looking at major organizations, such as General Mills, Raytheon and Bristol-Myers Squibb, suggests Eric Melniczek, a career adviser at High Point University in High Point, N.C., and a former executive recruiter. He says larger organizations tend to have the budgets to pay employees for referrals. These programs merit consideration, because internal referrals garner more attention from interviewers.

To find them, Melniczek says, visit LinkedIn and search “employee referral program” in the keyword advanced search and “employee referral” in the title advanced search.”

See if any companies on your select list have the programs, Melniczek says.

Do you know a person there other than a recruiter who could complete a form and take it to the hiring manager? If not, he advocates identifying someone outside with a good contact inside who could do it.

“At the end of the informational interview,” he adds, “(mention) that you’ve researched companies with employee referral programs.”

Ask if the company has one and, if it does, leave knowing how it works.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes questions at © 2014 Passage Media.