The Power of References
There's the tried-and-true method of trying to find a job, where you blanket your industry with dozens of applications, hoping to break through in just one or two instances. However, there's a secondary way to get your foot in the door that's growing in popularity, where a reference from a current employee helps you hop the line.
AOL Jobs reported that references are becoming all the more popular and valuable among hiring managers. Prospective employers know that if a current or former employee is willing to put their name on the line for a new hire, they have more reasons to trust the applicant down the road. Additionally, getting information about a potential hire is much easier when a supervisor can simply go to the referenced employee themselves instead of calling that person's past bosses, tracing their work history.
Another reason why references are growing in popularity is because they help to make the hiring process easier. Managers often have to sift through large piles of resumes before they can whittle them down into the best overall candidates. If that manager has a small pile set aside, where all of the applicants have some form of connection with the company and likely knows more information about working there as a result, they'll be happy that their experiences can be made easier and as a result be more likely to hire those candidates.
Getting those references
The New Jersey Star-Ledger found that in the current job market, doing anything you can to bypass traditional applicant pools and human resources departments - namely using these references to boost your odds of employment - is all but required in the modern age to find those references successfully. If you don't have friends in the industry you're interested in working in, don't worry. There are plenty of ways you can highlight your abilities and expand your network, with the utmost goal of finding new work.
The news source came up with plenty of ways you can meet industry professionals and potentially find a referral. Local organizations for people in your industry is a great way to do so, as they will have regularly-held meetings that will be about specific trends and changes in the recent past. Even if you can't find one locally, consider starting your own on social media. Simple use of hashtags and other crowd-sourcing tools can help you develop a larger market with few issues.
For more outgoing and personable job searchers, the Star-Ledger suggested that there are additional strategies that can lead to success. One such potential plan is to contact a CEO or other high-up professional in a company and ask for just a few minutes of their time. This might not be possible in larger companies, but smaller businesses may just find that your confidence and guts in asking is enough to make you an attractive hire.
It's also recommended that you create relationships with people who may share professional networks with you on websites like LinkedIn well before you start the searching process. By nurturing and maintaining those relationships, you'll be able to make sure you're the first person they think of when there's a new opportunity at their company. Even if you don't directly know someone, LinkedIn provides a tool for you to find people with common interests. Whether it's a few similar interests and skills, or education history at the same college or university, simply reaching out to people can often be enough to impress others. After that's done, all you need to do is apply and wait, as the odds that you land an interview will grow notably.