Job Search Dos and Do Nots

I do the annual surveying of the design industry, which includes questions about salaries, job security, benefits, etc. Consistently, year after year, 80% of people say they got their jobs through someone they knew, not through just cold applying to jobs.

Aka, networking!

image from forbes
How DO you get started in networking?

  1. Get to know your local design community. Are there autodesk user groups or trade organizations? Join them. 
    • Show up, ask questions. If you can, answer questions.
  2. Display your knowledge. If you can present in public, offer to present to schools or local educational events (the AIA, AGC, etc). 
    • If not, contact someone who blogs about your industry and ask if you can write a guest post, they’ll appreciate having content written for them, and their readers will hear your name, and their network might share your topic with others.
  3. Not up for talking or don’t have an article topic in mind? Hit up some forums or social media hashtags and try answering questions. 
    • Even if you cannot answer them, commiserating or clarifying their questions can still help you develop a reputation.
  4. Ask folks which skills are most in demand? 
    • I tend to find that folks around me who have designed MEPFP components are very rare, so studying up on that can help you find these jobs to stand out in, and they pay more than a lot of other specialities.

How about some DO NOT dos?

  1. Do not post on forums “I’m looking for a job”. 
    • You will most likely get deleted, and no one cares if you’re looking for a job, they care what you know and can help them with, and that you can read the rules of the site you are using.
  2. Do NOT cold contact hiring managers or internal recruiters, or try to pressure your mutual contacts to pass on their information. 
    • That is completely unprofessional and not respecting of the person’s time.
  3. If you do have a friend inside a target company do NOT apply to a job before talking to them.
    • Their HR Software might have a referral engine that depends on them making the referral first, so that if you apply first and then ask for a referral later, they cannot do it.
  4. Do not be invisible online. Have a LinkedIn profile at the very least, WITH a photo. 
    • Almost everyone in HR and a lot of hiring managers will Google you and be suspicious if you have zero online footprint.
  5.  Do NOT add people on LinkedIn and then immediately slide into their DMs with 'who can you introduce me to'? 
    • I know finding a job is your priority, but you need to build a relationship with people before asking them to perform uncompensated labor for you. 

The main thing to keep in mind is that people do not hire someone for skills, they hire people they will want to work with. If you get along with them, and have a good reputation, you will find it much easier to discover opportunities.

See other online networking tips here: 

How to keep up with social media

How to get started with social media