We are always surprised by how few job seekers leverage their partner’s network, and how often jobs are found through your significant other.
Work as a team. You and your partner signed up for a life together, through thick and thin, till death do you part. Practicing interview questions, resume reviews and offering moral support are just a few areas where your significant other can help. If you feel that helping is like teaching your spouse to play golf and shouldn’t be attempted for the sake of your relationship, that is OK too. It is up to you to know your established norms and work within them.
As it relates to the job hunt, we consistently hear the following responses when we ask people what they’re doing to help their partner:
Response: “I don’t want to ask my partner for access to their network.”
Our counter: “Well then you must not need a job badly enough.”
Response: “We know all of the same people anyway.”
Our counter: “Uhhh, no you don’t.”
Response: “My partner doesn’t know anyone that is hiring.”
Our counter: “Great news – they don’t have to know anyone that is hiring. They just need to know people who work.”
Response: “My partner is a stay at home spouse.”
Our counter: “Then they probably know other soccer moms, football dads, and plenty of folks on the PTA.”
If you do nothing else…
Ask your partner to share their network. Most jobs are landed through networking, and warm introductions make a huge difference. Many times the difference between landing an interview and waiting by the phone is due to a warm intro. Yes, it’s probably the most cliché thing you can say regarding the job search, but it’s also the truth: It’s not what you know, it is who you know.
Yes, as a couple you have an immediate circle of friends that you both know, but beyond that immediate circle, things change. Both partners have different sets of interests, different friends, and different job histories. In fact, we are confident that you’ll find that the most important connections make and intros you receive will be from 2nd and 3rd-degree connections. This is due to refinement. While your partner may not be able to help you directly, they know what you’re looking for and will put you in touch with the closest person they know. That person, in turn, will likely know many more people like themselves, some of whom are the perfect people to talk to. Each degree of separation is refined and sharpened. This is critical to remember.
You have to play to win
It only takes one person to forward your resume to the right person, and they don’t even have to work in your industry. You don’t need to know anyone that is hiring and you don’t even need to be working. You only need to know people who know other people.
Remember that beyond forming connections, there is also an added incentive: referral bonuses. Most companies offer their employees a referral bonus for hired employees. The more senior the role, the larger the finder’s fee. Your friend or connection will probably help you on their own without a bonus. Just keep in mind they will probably have even more reason to help once they get you introduced.
Key Takeaway: If your partner is looking for a job, offer up your contact list. If you are looking for a job, ask your +1 for some assistance. You’ll be glad you did.
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