Networking for career-management and job-hunting purposes is no longer a necessary evil, nor the province of Public School or Ivy League alumni – it has become a basic survival skill. Why?
  • Employers, particularly in the small to medium-sized enterprise sector, are circumventing expensive advertising efforts and even more expensive recruitment agencies where they can and are networking to find new employees. This is an (a) cheaper and (b) more reliable method of recruiting talent and, in a tough market, it is a no-brainer that this will be the employer’s first port of call.
  • Talk to any outplacement or career management company in your locality and ask for their statistics on the number of their clients who find employment due to some level of personal contact. The figure will vary from place to place, but it will always be 50 per cent or more.
  • The rising tide of people who are actively managing their careers [I call them Bogeymen] have learnt the value of networking and have set the bar very high for you to compete with them. They are reaching out, connecting and re-connecting, with an ever-expanding network of people. They are exchanging information and ideas, sharing knowledge and expertise and being an available, interesting and useful resource.
If I am looking to hire a new person, I am going to first try and hire someone who is, in some way, a known quantity to me. People lie on CVs, references are not entirely reliable and anyway, my mother always told me not to talk to strangers …

So get out there and start networking. If you find the whole idea skin-crawling, start by restricting your forays into this arena to research and perhaps getting a tip-off if opportunities or positions are going to arise in a target organisation. There are few things worse than opening the newspaper and seeing someone’s grinning mugshot in a company announcement of a newly-filled job that you would have loved to go for … except it wasn’t advertised anywhere or filled through a recruitment agency.

Hate networking? I understand and I am sorry for your troubles, I really am. But please recognise that networking for your job-hunt is the equivalent of discovering a valley full of fat, slow-moving buffalo. Why would you choose to hunt instead in a barren wasteland?

Hate networking? Time to get over it and get out there.

Next: “But I don’t have a network!”

Related Posts:
Networking for shy people
Why catch-up networking doesn’t work so well