Networking, one of the most dreaded job search activities, but it does work!
This was overheard at a networking meet, “I don’t care what they say. I don’t see the point of networking. All we are doing is manipulating people who can’t help us anyway.”
I’ve heard that comment before, especially the part about networking being a form of manipulation.
What is a person supposed to do? Why build a network? Why contact people? For the most part, they will NOT have a job for you to consider. They may NOT be interested in talking with you. After all, people are SO busy these days.
I especially hear, “Why take the time to go meet, when you could be filling out an on-line application, or responding to a job posting with a resume and cover letter!”
I bet you know what I am going to say.
Accessing a network of contacts, acquaintances and friends is THE best way to find a new role.
BEST, meaning most reliable, most money, and most interesting opportunities compared to any other form of job search technique.
Consider these reasons below for networking and why planning time to network is critical as you search for a new job.
5 Reasons you should be Networking when looking for a New Job
Reason #1: Statistical:
That’s how most good jobs are filled. More jobs are filled by ‘who you know’ than by qualifications or compelling resumes or working with a recruiter. The numbers are staggering: 60% – 75% of jobs are filled through Networking. I can never find that citation when I need it but trust me, it is true. And since that statistic is true, we should be spending at least 60% to 75% of our job search time on networking!
Social Media complements networking today. It is so much easier to connect and reconnect with acquaintances from ‘past lives’ because of LinkedIn, Facebook, and yes, even Twitter. These sites allow us to NETWORK with folks we know (or knew before) regarding job opportunities.
Reason #2: Meeting-Oriented:
Networking requires face-to-face contact, and that’s how people get hired. When you network with someone, you must set meetings. Avoid lengthy phone conversations. Set the appointment, and get off. People get hired when some hiring manager decides they like you, and trust you, and believe you will help them solve problems. It is VERY rare that kind of decision is made by reviewing a resume, or by simply talking on the phone.
Talk about something interesting to the other person, something about their background or about a problem you know or guess is important to that person. They will want to get coffee with you if they think there is something in it for them.
Set a goal to have coffee at least 2 or 3 times a week with someone in your field. If you commit to consistent network interviews, you will be interviewing for jobs without even knowing it. You need to get in front of a LOT of people.
Reason #3: Opens Doors:
Talk with people that you know at first. Then expand your range to people that those folks suggest. This process of accessing a network two and three degrees removed from that network of immediate contacts will open doors you had not idea were out there. This is the voice of experience talking. That’s how it works. You have to work it hard to get to that ‘third degree,’ and for it to open the door you will enthusiastically say “YES, that’s my next gig!”
Reason #4: Teaches You to Fish:
How many jobs do you expect to have in your career. With an average tenure of three years in a 40 year work life, it makes sense that we will change jobs ten to twelve times in our careers. Will you ever change jobs again? Probably. Why not learn the skill that will give you the best chance at a really interesting job in three years or five years or ten?
Reason #5: Recharges You:
Yes, networking serves to regularly re-energize you. Networking IS the recharging power behind your search, even for quiet people. Talking professional to professional is very gratifying.
Do you have a phone? How often do you charge it? I plug mine in at night and sometimes even during the day. Job search requires a lot of energy. It is a full-time gig in itself. Without regular positive energy boosts, it’s fairly common to get mired in negativity. Networking, when done efficiently and well consistently keeps you going, and causes you to stay focused and positive, both important to successful job changes.
Check out The Interview Doctor’s 7 Tips for Career Success for the Shy Person. Networking is a MUST-DO activity in any job search. No matter how hard you find it.