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The secret to networking and applying: An expert recruiter tells all

Phil Cooksey
Sr Principal Talent Advisor

“Something many jobseekers don’t realize is that there is a big difference between working with a corporate recruiter and an agency recruiter.” Phil Cooksey, Sr. Principal Talent Advisor

Throughout my extended career as a recruiter and Talent Advisor, I’ve helped countless professionals change lanes and find career fulfillment. Is there a secret formula for success? Not exactly. But I can give you the next best thing: A plan.

The first thing you need to do is pinpoint exactly what you want from your career. Luckily for you, I’ve already shared my failsafe technique for achieving this. Once you’ve completed this step, we can move on to the next leg of our plan: the job search.

There are two different ways you can go about finding that dream job of yours: 1) Networking and 2) Applying. Which route should you take? The answer is simple: both. Here’s everything you need to know.

Your network is your net worth 

We all have connections. But which ones can actually help you land a job? It’s an unwritten rule that a referral features higher on a candidate shortlist than a non-referral. So who should you market yourself to? This is where social tools come in exceptionally handy. I recommend LinkedIn as a starting point. Use it to jog your memory and scan through your online connections. You’ll find that many of your past colleagues have moved on to new companies—these are potential leads.

Arm’s length connections can also be useful. These are people who know you through someone else but who you’ve never actually worked with. You’d be surprised the number of referrals I get from people who are vouching for a friend of a friend.

Now you need to refine your list. Ask yourself: Who out of these people has a vested interest in helping you? Are they relevant to your target industry, company, or vendor? Cut down your list to viable leads and begin reaching out.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to consider your social circle. People who know your character well can be great advocates for you professionally.

Get yourself out there

Networking events are a great way to see what’s out there if you’re new to an industry or trying to get back in the loop. So start saying yes to industry, tech, and recruiting events that are relevant to your target career. Whether they come in the form of breakfast meetings, conferences, or panel discussions, your goal is the same: to keep up with old connections and make new ones.

Networking events are particularly important in the developer space. They provide a great forum for technical minds to mix with likeminded people in their field. You can walk away with some really useful leads that are directly related to your job search.

Top tip: Go prepared to talk about yourself and your career experience. These events are often marketed as purely networking events but you’d be surprised how recruitment focused they are.

Seek connections with corporate recruiters

Something that a lot of jobseekers don’t realize is that there is a big difference between working with a corporate recruiter and working with an agency recruiter. That difference is trust. A corporate recruiter is naturally going to put a lot more consideration into whether a particular position meets your career needs. As your future colleague, it’s very much in a corporate recruiter’s interest to make sure you are satisfied with your placement.

Top tip: Make sure to connect with corporate recruiters in your target industry. As much as I love calls from my friends who work in legal, my sphere of influence is in the IT field.

Applying for a job (the right way)

So, you’ve seen a job posting for your target job at your target company and you’re ready to apply. Hold up! There are some things you need to consider first.

  1. Is this posting directly with your target employer or is it with a third party site? If the job is not posted directly with the employer, then do a quick search on the company’s career page and see if you can find it.
  2. Don’t go through a middle man! Applying directly to your target company is better for many reasons:
    • You get into your target company’s system.
    • Your resume will be in the direct line of sight of the hiring manger.
    • Many third party hiring sites don’t remove out-of-date job postings. If you can’t locate a job on the company’s career page, that posting may no longer be active.
  3. Before you apply on the company’s career page, find out if you know anyone who works there. Go back to your LinkedIn. If you do, reach out and see if they will refer you or tell you more about the position.
  4. My last piece of advice is to fully assess the position in question.  Does it really meet your career needs? Be discerning—we can see every single application that you make. You don’t want to look like you’ve applied for 50 jobs and not made it past the first interview. If I see you’ve only applied for one or two positions, straight away you are a more desirable candidate.

Best of luck in your career search! For more expert career advice and a direct line to Oracle recruiters who can connect you to your next big break, I highly recommend you join the Oracle Talent Network.

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