Importance of Networking

I’m a traditionalist. When, as a young lad, I set out to find a job I did it the only way I knew how: I looked for a “Now Hiring” sign in a store’s window, then went in and filled out an application. I got my first job that way. It worked for me once and if something works for me I stick with it.

After graduating college, I was a bit surprised to find out that most places who would hire a writer didn’t advertise that job in their window. Not that I blame them, most of those windows were several stories above the sidewalk so it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to advertise for jobs that way.

Obviously, a new strategy would need to be devised. Books needed to be purchased; words needed to be read; information needed to be obtained.

What did I learn? That networking was the number one way to find a job. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor, 70% of all jobs are found through a personal network

 

A network starts with family, friends, school chums – anyone you know who has a job and who is in a position to either inform you of an open job or possibly recommend you for a position at his or her company. But, the genius part is that it can extend beyond your immediate circle out to friends of friends of friends; expanding into a ripe grapevine of possibilities.

 

The power of this network lies within the personal recommendation. If a company values its employee and his or her work, then they’ll value his or her opinion when suggesting a new employee. Especially since their employee risks his or her standing in the company to make that recommendation.

You can also reverse the flow and allow this to work in your favor. Not only is that person in your network recommending you to the company, they’re recommending the company to you. Instead of taking up too much of your time researching the company, you have an insider who can tell you what it’s like to work there; what the people are like, how do the managers treat their employees, etc.

This information arms you very well for the interview. You’ll be able to answer questions with a focus towards the company and even offer ideas on how things may be improved.

There’s no downside to networking. It works for employers and for jobseekers. The key, then, is to build an effective network that serves you best. More on that later…

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