Thursday, April 20, 2006

How to Look For Job Leads


In the earlier post, I advised against unemployed Black men using traditional employment search methods such as want ads, employment agencies and pounding the pavement submitting random job applications to strangers. So how are my brothers going to look for job leads? Networking.

What is networking? Simply talking to anyone and everyone about your skills and interests and what you want to do in life. Most Black men apply these social skills in other social situations but never think to apply them in a job search. For example, when they see an attractive woman, they smile, make eye contact, and introduce themselves. Then they make small talk and discuss their skills, interests and goals in life. The goal is to make the woman feel comfortable enough so she will give her phone number out to them. The same type of approach applies in a networking situation. Smile, make eye contact and introduce yourself to people. Then make small talk and discuss your skills, interests and goals in life. The objective is to make people feel comfortable enough that they will give you the names and phone numbers of people who can help you find employment.

There is no specific place or time to network. Any social interaction with another person is an opportunity to learn about information that can be beneficial towards your job search.

The ultimate goal of networking is actually not to find a job. It is to let others know about your skills, interests, and abilities. The more people who know what you can do and what you want to do, the more people there are available to help you find opportunities for employment in careers you really want to work in. The more people you talk to the more possibilities for job leads open up.

What a job lead looks like
If you network, you’re guaranteed to get some job leads. However you have to know what information to use in order to get a job.

The information you choose to act on can be the difference between going to work and going nowhere. “Pookie down the block says they’re hiring at the PathMark Supermarket” is not a job lead. Why? There isn’t enough information provided for someone to act quickly on the lead.

Based on the information given we know the supermarket PathMark is hiring. However, There are several hundred PathMark stores in New York City with hundreds of different jobs at each location. Unless you’re planning on applying at all of them, you’ll never know which one is offering the job by following this lead.

A true job lead provides clear details about the specific job you want to apply for. It allows the applicant to answer key questions like:

Who is hiring?
What positions are they hiring for?
When will they be taking applications?
Where is the location of the business that is doing the hiring?
Why is the company they hiring new employees?
How do I go about applying for this job?

You want to answer these questions before going out to apply for the job. Knowing this specific information beforehand will help you apply for the specific job you want. When you know who to talk to about what job you’re applying for you’ll have the information needed to know where to go in order make a contact with the right people.

A good job lead provides specific information about a specific job. An example of a good job lead is:

“Mark Jones, the Assistant Manager of Jay’s Auto parts on Fifth Street in Brooklyn is expanding his auto repair business and he’s looking for an auto mechanic. He’s looking for someone with with ASE certification and a year of experience. You can send him a resume through his e-mail when the store opens at nine in the morning at

Let’s break this lead down:

Who is hiring? Mark Jones.
Why is he hiring new employees? Because he’s expanding his auto repair business.
What type of employee is he looking for? An ASE Certified auto mechanic with one year of experience.
Where is the job located? Jay’s Auto Parts on Fifth Street in Brooklyn.
When can you contact him? Nine in the morning.
How do you go about applying for the job? Sending him a resume by e-mail when the store opens.

Notice how this job lead is full of clear details you the applicant can use to act on. By having the answers to these questions ahead of time you can prepare a resume and cover letter specifically addressed to the person doing the hiring or make a phone call to speak directly to them. Having a specific person to contact before applying for a job greatly increases your chances of getting an interview.

Who a contact is
It’s not what you know to fit the qualifications, but who you know to talk to about the job that gets you hired. When you know the name of the person doing the hiring, you know whom to contact to get further details about the job.

A contact is simply the name of a person with hiring authority or decision making abilities in a business. Anyone can be a contact person as we do business with lots of people every day. If those people work in a business or own a business, those people are always looking for new customers to work for. In order to serve those customers they need more employees. One of those employees could be you.

Word of mouth through networking about your skills is the best way to get work because your other network contacts can provide an instant reference. When people hear good things about you from other people in your network, they will want to hire you so they can have the same positive experience at their company.

Why contacts hire each other before a stranger
Most people hire service employees like hairdressers, gardeners, auto mechanics and plumbers to work for them because of referrals from other people like friends and relatives. They also hire people to work in their businesses based on referrals from those same friends and relatives. Why? Because they trust the person giving them referral. Because they trust the person giving them the referral, they believe the experience they’re going to have with a company will be a positive one.

What a Contact consists of:
· A name. The most important part of networking is getting the names of people who are hiring. By knowing who is hiring you can know who to ask for or who to write to. Also, having the name of the person on your cover letter guarantees that your letter will wind up on a manager’s desk and not tossed in a paper shredder by an administrative assistant.
· The title of the person (Manager, Director of Personnel, Executive Director) You want to make sure your contact is someone with hiring authority or is has the ear of someone with hiring authority.
· An Address. This is important if you have to send a resume or cover letter. Always make sure you get a full address with a state and zip code.
· A Phone number. This is important for making first contact with someone.
· An E-mail address. Also important for first contact with an employer. More and more employers today read their e-mail before answering a phone. Make sure you type the name of the position in the subject line to so your e-mail doesn’t wind up in a Spam mailbox.
· The name of the person who referred you. When making your first contact people will want to know who and where you got their name from.
Monday- Making first contact.

1 comment:

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