Looking for a new job? Honest Do’s and Don’t for Interacting with Employers

How to get noticed without scaring them away

It wasn’t too long ago that I was the one updating my resume and worrying about my next career move. I COMPLETELY empathize with the stress and insecurities that come with this process. That being said, here’s my honest take from being on the flip side.

When I go to networking events, I really do want to meet exciting people who are looking for their next big step. Especially since working at Alongside means I see tons of awesome jobs from our clients come up every day and I would love to recommend them to great people. :D

Job seekers: I know full well that most of you will be fantastic employees and companies will be lucky to have you. Perhaps this process is totally new for you or you’ve have been ill-advised on how to go about the job search/networking dance. Here are some pretty big Do’s and Don’ts for attracting an employer/hiring manager’s attention. These comments of course, are based on experience, what I’ve observed, and my honest opinion.

Do engage with the brand on social media

By all means, like and follow the company on social media. Feel free to leave meaningful comments (without an ask) on content that is shared. This will get the employer’s attention and will help you to know more about the company when it comes to 1) tailoring your resume/cover letter to their job opening and 2) being prepared for an interview.

Don’t try to friend me on Facebook

Yes, my Facebook is part of my personal brand which is linked to my work. That’s unavoidable. That being said, I mainly use it to keep in touch with friends, family, and sometimes with industry acquaintances. I share stuff and participate in groups I’m passionate about. Unless we already know each other or I’ve sent you a friend request, please don’t try to add me. I personally find it unprofessional and kind of invasive to prospect for jobs this way. LinkedIn and email are the appropriate ways to reach out.

Sprinkle valuable comments on social and sporadic love for the brand

Do strike up a meaningful conversations

Networking events are an excellent place to meet people and get insight on opportunities in your field. I know plenty of people who found their jobs this way. In fact, 85% of all jobs are apparently filled through networking.

I’m probably going to ask about what you do in conversation- it’s just typical when meeting someone, right?. It’s okay to say you’re a job seeker. But after that, don’t push it. Look for opportunities to have meaningful or relevant conversations with people. This puts them at ease and can impress them if you’re authentic and know your stuff. It’s a chance to show your passion and awareness of the industry. You can always tell interesting parts your story without making the conversation seem like a job interview (that you weren’t invited to have).

Don’t make me feel uncomfortable

I love going to networking events. Having great conversations with interesting folks is one of my favourite parts of my job. One thing that makes me squirm? When you meet job seekers and they show desperation. I think I can safely say this translates also into cover letters, emails, and interviews with hiring managers/HR types at companies. It puts me in an awkward position when you tell me personal details about your financial/personal stressors. Of course I empathize, but I can’t let that effect hiring decisions.

Please, I’m awkward enough in social setting as it is. #introvert

Do let others tell me how great you are

You should be using your network in your job search. Ask people who you have a good professional relationship with (that will give a good reference) if they could do some digging on your behalf. Don’t expect them to, but ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of anything that would be a good fit. Also, it’s great validation for recruiters/hiring managers when they ask a mutual connection about you and get a realistic (hopefully glowing, for you!) response.

Don’t tell me how great you are

At networking events, I’m not necessarily looking to hear (explicitly) why you’d be a good fit for the company/role . If you’ve applied for a job, by all means put it out there in your cover letter and resume. That’s what they’re for. But otherwise? Don’t steal the conversation by making it about you when you could be gaining more by listening and contributing in a more meaningful way. It can sound cocky to talk too much about yourself- even if it wasn’t your intention. Especially if I haven’t really asked you.

I love this article from Idealist Careers blog on how to use use networking to find a job.

Do send me a follow-up if you don’t hear from me

I appreciate you reaching out to check on the status of your application. Sometimes employers use a slow hiring process, and that might be the case for me. If I didn’t set a deadline for applications, it’s no issue to ask what stage the selection process is at. Wait a week to two, then send a polite inquiry. Thanks to the Muse for this template!

Don’t reach out via every type of technology and platform known to man

I’m sorry, but please don’t do this. It’s distracting and can be perceived as desperate. ALWAYS apply via the online application platform or whatever the requested method is. Send me a message and your resume via email or LinkedIn if there’s no job currently posted.

There’s persistence, and then there’s…

Do ask to meet with me!

I can’t speak for all companies, but in my role as Community Manager I’m open to meeting with people locally. If it’s reasonable for my schedule, I’d possibly give you a few minutes for a call or meeting. I understand the value of informational interviews can bring you as well. Happy to help if I can!

For other employers? Ask politely for a reasonable amount of their time. The worse thing that can happen is they say no. Either way, thank them for their response and still apply for their job openings.

Don’t send me a meeting invite

If you’d like to meet with someone at a company, please don’t ask for a time/place most convenient for you. It’s inappropriate and often seen as rude to expect someone to meet with you on your time. It makes people feel as though you haven’t respected their schedule or workload. If there’s a situation where the employer would also like to meet you, you can work together to come up with a time that works well for everyone.

Say something like “I’m visiting in your area X time, and would love a chance to talk with you about your company and roles you have available- if you have some availability during that time. If not, I’d also appreciate a quick call at a later date that works better for you”

Navigating the world of networking and finding a job is daunting. I get it. I also know you have a lot to offer an employer. It’s just important to approach the process in a professional and authentic way. I hope some of this was helpful!

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