Networking is the process of deliberately establishing relationships to get career-related information or to alert potential employers that you are available for work. Networking is critically important to today’s job seeker for two reasons: it will help you get the information you need, and it can help you find out about all of the available jobs.
Get the Information You Need
Networkers will review your résumé and give you feedback on its effectiveness. They will talk about the job you are looking for and give you a candid appraisal of how they see your strengths and weaknesses. If they have a good sense of the industry or the employment sector for that job, you’ll get their feelings on future trends in the industry as well. Some networkers will be very forthcoming about salaries, job-hunting techniques, and suggestions for your job search strategy. Many have been known to place calls right from the interview desk to friends and associates who might be interested in you.
Each networker will make his or her own contribution, and each will be valuable.
Because organizations must evolve to adapt to current global market needs, the information provided by decision makers within various organizations will be critical to your success as a new job market entrant. For example, you might learn about the concept of virtual organizations from a networker. Virtual organizations coordinate economic activity to deliver value to customers by using resources outside the traditional boundaries of the organization.
This concept is being discussed and implemented by chief executive officers of many organizations, including Ford Motor, Dell, and IBM. Networking can help you find out about this and other trends currently affecting the industries under your consideration.
Find Out About All of the Available Jobs
Not every job that is available at this very moment is advertised for potential applicants to see. This is called the hidden job market. Only 15 to 20 percent of all jobs are formally advertised, which means that 80 to 85 percent
of available jobs do not appear in published channels. Networking will help you become more knowledgeable about all the employment opportunities available during your job search period.
Although someone you might talk to today doesn’t know of any openings within his or her organization, tomorrow or next week or next month an opening may occur. If you’ve taken the time to show an interest in and knowledge of their organization, if you’ve shown the company representative how you can help achieve organizational goals and that you can fit into the organization, you’ll be one of the first candidates considered for the position.
Networking: A Proactive Approach
Networking is a proactive rather than a reactive approach. You, as a job seeker, are expected to initiate a certain level of activity on your own behalf; you cannot afford to simply respond to jobs listed in the newspaper. Being proactive
means building a network of contacts that includes informed and interested decision makers who will provide you with up-to-date knowledge of the current job market and increase your chances of finding out about employment opportunities appropriate for your interests, experience, and level of education. An old axiom of networking says, “You are only two phone calls away from the information you need.” In other words, by talking to enough people, you will quickly come across someone who can offer you help.