In a job search, we hear a lot about connections.
We’ve heard it all. However, it seems to me that we really don’t have a clue with whom we should be networking. All employers? All colleagues? Any old LinkedIn Open Networker who will connect with us to boost their profile connection numbers?
The key is balance. You should have a variety of connections from different, and relevant to you, groups in order to make the most out of your networking efforts.
Below, I’ve compiled what I think are the four most important connections you need to make to get hired:
This one is probably the most obvious, and that’s OK. A decision-maker would be the employer or someone at the company that interests you who can make or influence the decision to hire you or not.
You’ll meet the decision-maker in the interview, but you can be proactive and meet them a whole lot sooner. Try looking them up online. Social media has made it oh-so-easy to connect with important folks like employers. Establishing a relationship early on will make it easier for your name to come up in the final decision.
It doesn’t matter if you’re completely green or a seasoned vet, you still need a mentor. A mentor is someone who is more experienced than you, and someone who can help guide you through your job search or professional career.
They might not have all the connections you could possibly want, but a mentor will be able to offer advice and their opinion when you find yourself faced with a tricky challenge.
We all have a few choice words for the referee who misses a pass interference call or allows a reception when the ball gets bobbled and hits the ground during the big game. But, that is not the type of referee I am taking about here.
A referee is the correct term for the person to whom a referral is made, or to whom something or someone is referred. One of your networking objectives is to be introduced to a hiring manager, decision maker…some influential person in the organization. This is your referee.
To get introduced to the best contacts with employers that interest you, you need a solid referrer. This is someone in your network who knows you and has at least a modicum of understanding of your industry or profession, and ideally also has some idea about your performance in one or more roles. Top notch referrers can be professors (provided you still keep in touch), former supervisors, or colleagues.
Last, but most definitely not least, is the supporter. It doesn’t matter if you are the most confident, rock solid candidate of them all, everyone needs to have at least one person who has their back when they need it.
Your supporter can be your mom (your very first supporter), a friend, colleague, or maybe even someone in your profession that you’ve found online. The key is to make sure they are genuine — not everyone is.
What do you think? Which of these four types of connections do you consider the most important in your job search? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
This is a guest post from Tony Morrison. Tony is the Vice President of Business Development at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and business development. He is passionate about building talent communities that result in valuable employer-job seeker relationships. He brings this passion to Cachinko where he helps job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection. And, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter.
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.