Stand Out In A Crowded Job Market: Tips For Using Your Network

Posted by McKaela Baldus on 12/22/20 7:32 AM
McKaela Baldus
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4 Simple Things That Make All the Difference

In the early, chaotic days of the pandemic, many Twin Cities employers put the brakes on hiring in order to regroup, re-forecast, and hunker down to ride out the storm. But over the past few months, we’ve been seeing a steady uptick in hiring. That’s just one more reason for Minnesotans, especially job seekers, to be optimistic. But does it mean that the job market – or your job search – have snapped back to last year’s normal?

No, it doesn’t.

Not entirely anyway. Because some industries – and companies – are ramping back up more quickly than others, you may need to alter or expand the parameters of your search. And you’ll definitely need to tweak your process. If this is your first dip back into the pool since COVID, be warned: the interviewing learning curve is steeper than you might have imagined.

How can you reach beyond your updated LinkedIn profile and resume’ to amplify your presence in a crowded talent pool?

Recently, I spoke with Ben Lehmann, Director of Sales and Human Resources Recruiting at SkyWater Search Partners. Right now, says Ben, it’s important for job seekers to recognize how the networking process has changed. The most successful candidates are those who make a plan for breaking through the clutter, capturing the attention of hiring managers and recruiters, and staying relevant and memorable throughout the p

rocess. Here are his top 4 tips.

Standing Out Part 4 - Using Your Network - SD 480p


Networking 101 Revisited: Rethink, Reinvent, Re-Energize Your Process

So many of the traditional methods of connecting with likeminded professionals have been abandoned this year. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be networking. Now more than ever, you need to shake off the isolation. If you’re actively seeking a new position or just want to feel more plugged into the market, look for networking opportunities. More importantly, if you don’t find much that fits your needs, start your own. Seriously, make a few lists of friends, friends of friends, and other acquaintances. Then, keeping in mind that networking is about building two-way, mutually beneficial connections with others, reach out to these people.

State your networking interests. Keep it simple and straightforward, and take the lead on setting up the logistics, whether it’s regular zoom get-togethers, safe and properly distanced gatherings – or just a loose agreement to keep each other in the loop. At a time when the world still seems to be in semi-isolation and networking is more difficult than it used to be, you may be wondering if it’s worth all this effort.  It is. In fact, it’s more valuable. Staying engaged with your professional community, seeking support, and encouraging others when they need support, will not only help you find the right job, it will help you stay strong, connected, and confident as you pursue it.


Unleash Your Inner Author: Start Posting on LinkedIn

Employers and executive recruiters pay attention to the insights and opinions candidates share on LinkedIn. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. You don’t have to Hemingway for this tactic to be effective. You do have to be self-aware and willing to put a few stakes in the ground for the world to see, around your priorities, goals, and opinions. Whether you’re publishing your own, original work or curating (and properly citing) other people’s writing, just be sure that what you post says what you mean, and says it in a way that is professional. Take a few breaths and few steps back before posting. You can’t unring that bell.   

Say Thank You

It seems simple but lately, the number of candidates who actually take the time to send a thank you note has diminished.  In a way, that’s good news for you.  What a simple way to break through.  Within twenty-four hours of any meaningful contact with anyone involved in your job search, send a brief but sincere note of gratitude that contains at least one reference to something that was discussed. Email? Mail? Text? How you send it is probably less important than just sending it.

Check out our template for the prefect interview follow-up email.


Gather Insider Intelligence

Once you’ve zeroed in on an employer, it’s time for another list.  Do you know anyone – or anyone who knows anyone – who works there now or has worked there in the past? If you’re not actually friends with said person, you may be thinking there is no way you’re going to reach out and ask for a favor. I get it. But that’s what most people think. So, they don’t find a way to do seek this kind of insider insight appropriately. And so, the few who do really get a leg up on the competition. Should you ask someone who doesn’t know you to help you get a job their own employer? No. But could you ask everyone in your network if they know anyone affiliated with your target employer? Yes. Could you then ask them to help set up a five minute conversation with said person – so you could simply ask them for their insights on the company? Again, yes. The key here is to limit the conversation to general information gathering and a promise to reciprocate. Ask them about their experience with the employer and you’ll gain a wealth of understanding that other candidates simply won’t have. In addition, you might be surprised by how often these short, simple starter conversations do, indeed, end up turning a new acquaintance into a strong advocate.


Contact Your Recruiter

Don't forget this critical piece of your network: your recruiter! One of the best ways to stand out is to be represented by a recruiter that the hiring company trusts. If you're hitting the job market on your own and not having the best luck yet, search through our job listings and get in contact with us!


(952) 767-9000



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Topics: For Job Seekers