Career Advice, Jobs

How To Use Your Skills And Connections To Get A Job

Colleagues Having Fresh Vegetarian Lunch Outdoors

It’s an age-old question, but the answer has definitely evolved over time: How do I get a job? According to a recent Glassdoor study, the best way to land a job is through another employee at the company. Employee referrals are so valued by human resources that some companies even offer incentives to staff who bring in talented candidates to interview for open roles.

To make the most of your job search and personal connections, it’s time to ramp up your efforts. Here are 5 must-take steps to land a gig of your dreams:

1. Identify ways you stand out.
Take some time at the start of your job search to evaluate your previous experience. Start by looking at your resume. Does it actually reflect what makes you special?

There are probably some changes you can make to better reflect your experiences. Make a new list of your achievements, citing specific examples and stories that showcase how great you are at what you do. Incorporate these accomplishments into your resume, and familiarize yourself with the results. These will be an important tool throughout your job search.

2. Find opportunities matching your qualifications.
While job boards are still a go-to for most job seekers, there are many other routes you can take for finding open positions. Recruiters also find their best candidates through social and professional networks. On Twitter, search for keywords and hashtags like #hiring and #jobs to find posts about job openings. Narrow your search to focus on companies of interest, or posts that are local.

[Related: Search for new jobs in your area]

3. Make new connections and leverage existing ones.
Use the research you did on social media to strategically make new connections with professionals in your industry. When asking someone to connect on social networks, use commonalities you have with that person as a reason for them to care. Do you share mutual connections, an alma mater, or a favorite TV show? Talk about it.

Once you establish that you’ve paid attention to their interests, you shouldn’t ask for a job right away. Instead, ask to learn more about what they do in their role, or what they like about working for their company. Put some effort into cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship. If you take the extra time, many people will be happy to help you apply for the role.

[Related: 5 Bad Networking Habits to Quit Now]

4. Ace your interview.
Landing an interview is the first hurdle in your job search, but then recruiters often use challenging interviews to find – and hire – the best talent, according to a Glassdoor study. Why? Our research shows more difficult job interviews are statistically linked to higher employee satisfaction.

Even if you’re faced with oddball interview questions, use the accomplishment stories developed earlier to engage the hiring manager. Your answers should reveal how you can solve problems, and why you’re the best person for the job.

5. Always follow up.
It may seem old school in this age of technology, but a thank-you note can go a long way. Whether it’s handwritten or in email form does not matter. A CareerBuilder study found that 86 percent of hiring managers said not sending a thank-you note shows lack of follow-through.

Thank your interviewers individually for the time they spent meeting you, and reference something specific you enjoyed learning from them during your conversation. This is the last key piece of the puzzle, to show the hiring manager you are serious about the role.

Remember, the job search is all about finding the right fit for both job seekers and recruiters. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t land the first job you interview for. You’ll find something that’s a better fit. Just keep at it.

TELL US: What advice do you have for landing a job? Share your thoughts in the comments!