By Roy Young

If you are like most job seekers with an MBA, you spend too much time responding to publically-posted jobs. Not only is it unlikely your resume will stand out from the pack of others applying, but you are missing out on the 95% of management jobs that are never advertised. So, how are these coveted jobs filled? Simple: through employee referrals and hiring manager networks. Business professionals who are trying to fill a job, use their network of people they know, like and trust to find a qualified candidate. The key to a successful job search, therefore, is still WHO you know, NOT WHAT you know. This means that as a job seeker, the most effective strategy for landing job interviews is to pursue meetings to build your strategic connections and get referred to hiring managers by people they know. From these “informational” meetings, your new contacts will become your job-search advocates. They will want to help you advance your career. First, find good contacts by searching Alumni and interest Groups on LinkedIn. Then send a personalized note with your request to connect. Once your invitation to connect on LinkedIn is accepted, reach out by communicating on a topic you know is of interest. When you show your interest in what you know is of interest to them, you are likely to get a positive response to your request for a meeting. To do so, look at the contact’s LinkedIn Articles & Activity and send this request to meet through LinkedIn Messaging or to the email address posted on the Contact section of the Profile. Use this email script to request a meeting: SUBJECT: YOUR RECENT POST/ACTIVITY Hello __________, As an MBA, I read with great interest your recent post / LinkedIn activity feed about XYZ. I am researching _____________ and would appreciate your input. I was hoping you could take 20 minutes for a meeting in your office (or on the phone if travel distance is far) to discuss _____________ . Please let me know your availability over the next week. Sincerely, _______________________ P.S. Before we meet, here is a link to an article on the topic you will find of interest: _____________ Many of those you meet are going to refer you to the hiring managers they know who are looking to fill jobs – inside and outside their company. This will undoubtedly lead to JOB INTERVIEWS that give you direct access to the decision maker.