How to Build Relationships While Applying for Jobs
Whether you are a self-employed consultant or a job seeker applying for full-time work, the exchanges you have with your prospects and potential employers are your way of building relationships for the future. You may not get a particular job offer, but the person who interviewed you may keep you in mind for future opportunities. You may not close a sale with a particular prospect, but the value you offer in a free consultation will strengthen your reputation and get you the referrals.
Perhaps a former client returned for a service that you were not able to provide, but you suggested 1-2 colleagues who were a great match. Or maybe you shared a 3rd-party link or a podcast episode with specific suggestions that helped your client get a salary increase. During a job interview at a company, you may have suggested resources and discussed industry innovations that positioned you as a credible professional for potential conversations.
Think about your contacts as the community you build and aim to constantly deliver value. In a job application process, this can include:
- Sending a resume and cover letter that reflect the requirements of a specific job description.
- Following up to offer additional useful information (your references; links to relevant projects; your availability to take tests, submit samples, or talk on the phone, etc.).
- If you had an in-person interview, following up with an outline of your next steps in the role.
- Drafting a short PowerPoint presentation that shows your understanding of the company’s goals and outlines some of your action items along with your strategy in helping the company meet those goals.
It is important to understand that hiring process can be challenging and expensive on the company’s end. The more you research the company and understand the job requirements, the more effective you can be in creating documents that make you stand out.
When you send an online job application, you join a pool of 100-300 applicants. Instead of waiting, continue taking steps to stand out from your competitors. Show your preparedness to get an interview, and after the interview (if applicable), offer the company your ideas on what you would do in the first two months on the job. You can do this by sending a thank you note with an attachment (PowerPoint slides or any other visually appealing format).
In your consulting practice, delivering value can include:
- Offering free introductory conversations where you listen carefully to the clients’ needs and offer some specific ideas or resources or describe your process in more detail.
- Referring your client to a colleague who is better equipped/specialized to help that client.
- Recommending proven resources.
- Sharing useful content that answers your clients’ questions.
- Developing customized discounts and bundle packages.
- Being responsive within 1-2 business days.
Ways to initiate relationships:
- Interview experts in your field for your blog or another publication.
- Reach out to speakers at conferences you will attend or have attended. Ask more details about their presentations or thank them for what you have learned (state how you applied it, why it worked for you). Suggest collaborative ideas.
- Identify people who may be partners for your services and send them personalized messages (for example, if you’re a career professional, you may partner with lawyers, immigration consultants, or graphic designers).
- Connect with colleagues in your field and support each other with useful resources and referrals.
- Network via professional organization events and volunteer opportunities.
- Identify connections on LinkedIn with whom you would like to have more in-depth discussions.
Once you have a professional meeting with a new connection, connect with them on LinkedIn, make notes on your exchanges, offer useful resources, and follow up in the future when you have a reason. Initiate meaningful conversations, cooperate to reach common goals, and let the relationships you build contribute to your success.
Based on this article, what would be your top 3 action items to start with this week?
About the author:
Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a professional resume writer with a background in content writing, university teaching, and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada. For more information, please visit https://tm-editorial.com/about/ and contact her to schedule a free introductory consultation.