This week’s Agony Aunt question comes from a client of mine looking for help with the process of contacting potential employers and is about ‘How to get noticed and get a response from headhunters’.
Successful online networking is something that, in recent years, has become a lot easier and less time consuming to achieve. With the likes of email, Facebook and LinkedIn you can contact new and old contacts, share your current projects and present people with your CV at the click of a button. However, professionalism is key, and knowing when to send someone your CV and who to send it to is very important.
How To Get Noticed and Get a Response From Headhunters!
I have spent the last 4 months looking for a job and I have emailed my CV to everyone I know. However I have had a very bad response. People tell me to network but it does not appear to be working for me. What am I doing wrong and how can I improve?
This is a very topical question, especially since I am always telling my clients to ‘Network, Network, Network’, however there is a good way to network and a bad way to network. So in this blog post I hope to be able to give you some guidance as to good practice for networking and how you can get a higher response rate.
The first thing that immediately jumped out to me from this question was that the client has said ‘everyone I have ever met’. This is never going to be a good start. If you are thinking of networking and thinking of approaching your contacts then think twice. It has taken you a long time to build up your connections throughout your career so you do not want to upset them by an email out of the blue. Firstly work out which ones will be the most appropriate to reach out to. Make a short list and then remember something personal about them (a shared conference, a shared workplace, where they are working now etc) and make a note next to each name.
The biggest mistake most of my clients make is that they send multiple emails asking for a job. This can backfire as not only are you unsure if your email has been sent to a spam box but you run the risk of your contact being annoyed. You never want to look desperate and by sending an email asking for a job you give them the opportunity to ‘junk’ your email without even opening your CV.
The best way to approach your contacts, key decision makers and top headhunters is the good old fashioned way – write a letter and send it to them directly. Include your CV and a cover letter but also include a personal handwritten note. If you know them write something personal about what you have remembered. If you haven’t met them before then just your cover letter will be fine. People rarely receive hand written letters these days so it will be something they not only open, but will remember.
With any luck they will either remember you and get in touch or refer you on, but from some you may not hear anything. As a rule, for every letter you send make sure you follow up with a phone call. When speaking with their PA’s they will ask you if you have spoken with him/her before – you will be able to say truthfully that you are in correspondence with them and are referring to the letter you sent last week. This will hopefully give you the ‘in’ you need to start a conversation.
This approach is a great way to get referrals and recommendations. People will be impressed by your tenaciousness, initiative and personal contact; this is much more effective than any other route.
Emma Foster, Senior Client Relationship Manager