I am so happy about this position because I have always, from the start, wanted to work at Warner Brothers. And I appreciate my job because I actually had to fight for it – it did not just fall into my lap. I, myself, took the necessary action in order to get this job. And now I am here.
Let’s be honest: It is extremely difficult these days to find a job you actually like, one that pays you well, or just any job at all. Simply sending out resumes is no longer sufficient. You actually have to get face time with people that SHOULD know you, but don’t know you yet. And that’s really the key. Networking is the most important aspect in your job search.
Here's Your Strategy
A good strategy would be to map out the top 10 companies you’d like to work for, map out 10 people in each company that you could realistically get in touch with (not the CEO), and then do just that. How do you find them? I’d start with LinkedIn. Do you already have someone of interest in your network? Look at your 2nd degree connections – can someone introduce you? Does the company have a LinkedIn profile? Follow and find employees there. Then go look at their website and see if names, titles and email addresses are available. Find the companies on Facebook (You might want to be careful with finding the employees on Facebook because it has become the personal online space for friends – versus the professional space on LinkedIn). You CAN, however, follow them on Twitter. Don’t stalk, but engage. Let them see you are actually interested in them and their company.
Now that you are connected to them online, you need to create opportunities to meet them face-to-face. Can you find out if they are part of a specific organization? You might want to consider going to their next event! Remember you’re not making these connections to ask for a job, or to immediately get a job. Look at this process as making professional friends. You build your reputation this way, you show interest, and you learn because you are creating a professional space for idea exchanges, instead of a job market.
Here are some things you can do to get face time with these people:
1. Go to industry mixers
2. Attend panels
3. Ask for informational interviews
4. Ask to go have coffee
5. Invite them to YOUR events (How about hosting a panel on campus if you’re still a student?)
And the best part is that in the process, you will not only get yourself known within the right circles, but you’ll actually learn about your industry and the types of people within it.
What does it actually take?
Let me tell you what I did to get this job. I invited one of the recruiters here (that I searched for and found on Facebook) to one of our industry panels my club hosted on campus. Then I went to a career fair because I knew Warner Brothers would be there – and the same recruiter happened to man the booth. So I started talking to her. I stood in line for a half hour to see her and then let her know that I had invited her to the panel and told her about the club that was about her industry. I then friended her on Facebook and liked all possible Warner Brothers Facebook pages. I stayed in touch with her without stalking her. I actually listed to what she had to say and looked up what she was interested in. I then got an informational interview at the CW (a part of Warner Brothers) and let her know about this experience and how great it was. I made sure to let her know when I was looking for an internship and my job right out of college. I responded to all her job postings. When I needed industry advice and had to do a survey for my senior project in school, I asked if I could interview her. I posted about WB myself. I shared WB posts that I thought were great. I let her and the world know that I love Warner Brothers and there’s no place I’d rather be. I did that for over 2 years. That was two years of socializing and networking with just one person. And it finally paid off – she finally gave me a shot. And I will be grateful to her forever.
I didn’t just socialize with this one person. I also had my favorite agencies and knew the players there. That’s how I finally got my internship I was trying to get for a year. Now imagine you’re doing this kind of thing with 100 people – or at least as close as you can get to that number. Imagine your chances. Is it a lot of work? You bet. Is it worth it? Totally. I really believe that you will not get the job you really want unless you network, network, network. You might be the one in a million that gets lucky. Congratulations if you’re that one! To all you other mere mortals, take my advice!
Oh, the dreaded what-not-to-do
Now, on the flip side, you need to watch how you network. Networking does not mean constantly asking for stuff. It especially doesn’t mean to right away, and then constantly, ask for a job. I’ve made that mistake, we all learn and then do better. As I started working here, I changed my workplace info on Facebook, so my friends could see the job change. I also changed it on LinkedIn, of course. From LinkedIn, when it went out as an update, I got a few congrats – from people within my network (one way, by the way, to make yourself known – you sincerely congratulate your network on achievements). On Facebook, a few of my friends (much from within the industry) congratulated me. And then there were those who I had known years ago but had lost touch with. I knew them on Facebook, but I never engaged with them anymore. They were suddenly back. Now that I worked at Warner Brothers, I was suddenly interesting again, or good enough. They didn’t say congrats. They just “happened” to drop in again. No. Guys, THAT is NOT how you network. It’s actually a prime example of how not to network. If you’re going to network, you need to be sincere. Don’t be phony, don’t blatantly make contact because it’s now advantageous to you (people aren’t stupid), don’t make contact with people just for the contact’s sake. Be actually interested.
And yes, that’s a skill you need to learn. Socializing right is a skill. And it’s not just a skill you need to GET a job, it’s a skill you need to KEEP a job and to eventually move up the ladder. You need to know how to socialize, how to adjust to a social environment and a culture, and how to do this sincerely. So: As you will need this skill to KEEP a job, you might as well start practicing this as early as possible (when you also still have time to make mistakes). It’s a skill you learn for life and the better you’re at it, the more successful you’ll be.