One of the toughest challenges a job-seeker faces is how to connect with insiders at a company where she wants to work. While most people know that LinkedIn is a treasure trove of information and contacts, getting someone to respond to you about a job opening at their firm is probably going to be an uphill battle.
So how do you reach someone inside a company who’s willing to help your job application and resume get to the right person? From what I've seen at Fairygodboss, I believe specialized groups and closed communities are where people may be more inclined to help a stranger out.
While there are thousands of women’s organizations, the key is to find a community or group where there’s a practice of paying it forward. If the DNA of the community allows (and even encourages) asking and giving help, that’s incredibly valuable.
- The Li.st describes itself as a visibility platform for professional women, and this group has an enviable membership base of executives, celebrities and other hard-working and high-achieving women working in a wide range of industries. Members must be invited to join and enjoy discussion, networking introductions, information and advice.
- Ellevate Network is a global women's professional network. As a membership based organization (previously known as 85 Broads), Ellevate Network encourages career growth through information and events. Members network and share job opportunities and advice at live events or through online discussion boards.
- Tech Ladies started as a Facebook group but has grown into a vibrant online community that welcomes and supports all women working in technology. It’s free to join, and women in the community ask and give each other advice and support. Best of all, job postings come with real email contacts so you know a human being will be receiving your application.
- Fairygodboss (which I run) is probably best known for its anonymous employee reviews. Lesser known is the fact that women in our community anonymously send messages to each other with questions they have. Members initiate conversations about how to best apply for open positions, and other questions around company culture and policies that may be difficult to ask directly to HR.
- Ada’s List. Named for computer scientist Ada Lovelace and originally based in London, Ada’s List has recently expanded to the U.S. It’s free to join this community of women in tech, which is wide-ranging in its interests. The supportive vibe in this community is deliberate as the group is based on principles of inclusion, empowerment and diversity.
- PinkPetro is a social media and learning community for women working in (or interested in) the energy industry. Members can meet each other online and offline for networking, support and conversation about career development and jobs.
- 100 Women in Finance (formerly 100 Women in Hedge Funds) is a global community of women in the financial services industry. Members meet in person and online for networking events, to stay on top of industry developments as well as to share job opportunities.
These communities are just a few examples of the ones in which women are banding together to help each other in a professional context. And help is something every job-seeker benefits from. An introduction to a current employee can make a world of difference if you're trying to stand out as a job candidate!
Georgene Huang is CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss, a career and job community for women, by women.