It’s not the best of times to be looking for a job, not when others are losing theirs due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the funny thing about jobs is that there are always new openings driven by new needs, and many of us spend a ton of time applying online and getting no responses in return.
Then we start to wonder: “Am I not good enough? What could be wrong with my CV? What could be wrong with me?”
No. Most likely there is nothing wrong with you, or your CV and you are good enough.
You’re just not getting referrals from employees in the companies you are applying to.
Referrals are vital
Getting referred for a job can be one of the best ways to get hiring managers to pay attention to your job application, experts say.
Recruiters and managers are often deluged, so having a referral from an existing employee will likely help you stand out.
According to the Harvard Business Review, referred candidates are of higher quality than applicants from the general public and are more likely both to receive and accept an offer, stay at the job longer, and perform better.
The referrer can give the applicant a genuine perspective on the culture, the processes, the company leadership, and the job duties and for every 100 applicants, referrals generated 70% more good hires than non-referrals.
How to get a referral?
1. Round up your contacts and ask
Kiran Bhatia Tandon Head-Human Resources of Loyalty Prime said:
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. A job referral is powerful as it takes the decision out of the hands of the recruiter & increases the odds of getting the job. Connect with your network ex-colleagues, Alma mater, others. Go to LinkedIn’s Contacts page. Import your address books and build a directory of contacts. Search LinkedIn connections by: 1st degree -2nd degree -same school -ex-colleagues -with common interests etc. For each search, see if there’s anyone who’s closely connected to the hiring team. If not, go to the next search until you find the best combination of someone who can and wants to help.”
2. Make direct contact with company execs
Roger Pua, former Senior Director, brand marketing and corporate communications for Asia Pacific, LinkedIn, was in 2001 unemployed for 6 months straight even after 200 job applications sent, and armed with an MBA.
“Instead of responding to job advertisements only, I made an initial shortlist of five target companies I was interested in working for. After researching them thoroughly, I wrote directly to the heads of these companies,” PUA said.
“Nothing happened for a couple of weeks. And then, I was invited to meet a partner of one of these companies, who offered me a job after I went through a few more rounds of interviews with his team.”
He did it again in 2003, amidst a SARS outbreak.
“A recruiter who specialized in banking and finance told me that no one was hiring, but it didn’t stop me from writing directly to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of three local banks in Singapore who were on my target list,” he explained.
“I heard back (indirectly) from one of the three CEOs — apparently he had passed on my letter to his direct report along with a note that read ‘please meet this guy’.”
A few weeks later, PUA was hired at the bank in a communications job he had little direct experience in.
“Going straight to the top worked on both these occasions because I was able to distance myself from the crowd,” Pua said.
“Reach decision-makers via social media platforms, be respectful of their time, do an “elevator pitch” to make an impression in less than 30 seconds, and do your research beforehand for a pitch that “speaks” to them.”
He also recommends getting a referral.
“I know because I did that as a hiring manager seeing 200 applications for each job posting. This is also backed up by LinkedIn data which suggests that you are four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter if your application was referred.”
3. Pay a referral fee
There are dozens of referral apps that pay you to refer your friends, but now, you can pay strangers on the internet to refer you for jobs.
These offers are posted on Rooftop Slushie launched in May 2019.
Here’s how it works. Job seekers offer modest fees, ranging from $5 to about $50, to employees at corporations like Facebook and Amazon in exchange for advice about how to tailor their resumes, prepare for interviews and evaluate salary offers. About 20,000 tech employee “advisers,” have answered about 10,000 employment questions to date, and processed over 1,000 referrals.