February 7, 2012 By Dan Toussant
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; (people are SO busy), and
- 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!
Accessing a network of contacts and acquaintances and friends is THE best way – BEST, meaning most reliable, most money, and most interesting opportunities, so consider these reasons carefully in planning your time as you search for a new job:
Reason #1: Statistical: The first reason – because 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. Social Media complements networking today – it’s 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 knew (and still know) 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. 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, and Networking requires that of you.
Reason #3: Opens Doors: You talk with people that you know at first. Then you talk with people that those people recommend and suggest. This process of accessing a network two and three degrees removed from that network of immediate contacts will open doors you had no 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. A recently published national study (which covered thirty years of tracking and research) suggested that the average is ten or eleven job changes in a career. 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: The fifth and last reason for Networking – it serves to regularly re-energize you; it IS the recharging power behind your search.
Do you have a phone? How often do you charge it? I plug mine in at night; in fact, it’s my alarm now. In our bedroom, the one outlet does not provide power unless the light switch is ON. And if I ever plug my phone into that socket, and turn the lights off, my phone doesn’t recharge. Now the alarm still goes off; then half way through the next day, my phone says ‘recharge me now.’
Job changing 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 (topic for another blog) consistently keeps you going, and causes you to stay focused and positive, both important to successful job changes.