It is often said that the key to an effective job search is networking. We’re all in. But what happens when you want to work at Sony BMG and you can’t identify someone you know who remotely knows anyone there? So you bravely call the main number at Sony to uncover who the head of record sales is for the southeast region. The operator has no clue. She only has first and last names. Then you ask for human resources and she refers you to the career section of their web site.
You then decide to look on the internet. You find a ton of names and titles and even some e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Sadly, none of them are the correct titles of people that you’re seeking. Even if they were, how would you get the person’s phone number? How would you get around their secretary? And, even if you got to them, what would you say that would engage their attention and interest? Now what?
The best way to get by an administrative assistant is to have him/her collaborate with you. We call this the “best friend” approach. For example, as a recruiter, when I (Ira) reach an assistant of an executive I’m trying to contact, I say; ”Let me tell you who I am and why I’m calling. I’m an executive recruiter who is in the business of helping Fortune 500 finance clients optimize their investment in human capital. My claim to fame is filling 100% of my assignments in our industry where 70-80% fill rate is considered exceptional. I’d like to talk to (your boss) about how I can add value to his/her growth strategies.”
Most people don’t bother giving any time or courtesy to an assistant. Yet, if you convey a message that positions the assistant to be a “hero” for referring your call, then you have enlisted an enthusiastic advocate. Furthermore, you’ve involved them in the process of enhancing their own employer. How refreshing!
Using this approach almost always gets you safely to your target. When you gain the trust and confidence of the gatekeeper, you’ll gain a friend who will lend a helping hand and do some of the “work” in networking.
Read more tips & strategies on this and other topics from the Get What You Set web site.