Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BOB LANKARD: Referrals are more effective

by on June 15, 2014 1:50 AM

The Internet has certainly made finding job openings much easier. There are myriad job search engines where the job seeker need only click “apply” and your resume is on its way.

To show how easy it has become, a job hunter can download a tool that will search job engines for you and then click to apply according to your instructions.

You did not even have to look at the job engines — it is done for you.

As a result of these effortless tools, it is easy to see that employers are swamped with r?sum?s. It is easy for an individual job seeker to become lost in a huge pile of applications. It’s time for 21st century job seekers to consider a tried and true method: the employee referral.

An employee referral occurs when a dependable worker approaches a hiring authority about looking at a r?sum? of someone they know who would like to fill a particular opening. Fred, who works in the shipping department, goes to the hiring authority and says, “I know you have an opening for an accounting clerk. My next door neighbor Kathy Miller has applied and has clerical background. How about giving her resume a look?”

The employee referral system is win/win all around. The employer likes it because an endorsement from a trusted employee helps them decide who to interview. It is a plus for the applicant because it ensures a look at their r?sum?. And it’s a plus for the employee because making a recommendation shows their interest in the company. They may even get a bonus.

While the crowd is tying to barge through the front door, those who rely on employee referrals avoid the rush by going to the back door, where you will be introduced to those who have the authority to interview and hire.

“I don’t know anyone who works there,” could be a common objection. This problem has just gotten easier with the Internet’s social media. If the term “social media” is not familiar to you, think Facebook or Twitter

When I talk about Facebook and Twitter, you may think this is something people do for fun (talking about the grandkids) or something that only teenagers do. Think of a hairpin and all the things people do with it that is not its intended purpose. A job seeker can use Facebook and Twitter to network with people who know people you don’t know — who may work at your target employer.

Take a look at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Type them in on a search engine. Think of them as window shopping, going to an open house, or a car show. You are just looking. Do nothing but get familiar with the sites.

You now will be ready to use one of those sites. Perhaps start with one you have heard friends talk about. After a while you will get to know these people and where they work and where their friends work. Soon you will be using the hairpin to talk to someone who works at your target employer.

Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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