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The Value of Networking July 5, 2012

Posted by Tim Rodgers in job search.
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I’m back on the job market. I’m not sure I ever really left, but now I’m actively pursuing a new position, not just idly looking at new postings on the internet job boards. The best resources for any job seeker are their personal connections and extended network (see my previous post Job Search Lessons Learned), and learning how to leverage those relationships can make the difference between getting an interview and being discarded in the circular file. To that end, job seekers are encouraged to go out and meet new people in order to create new connections. The ultimate goal of all this networking is a referral to a hiring manager or other company insider who is willing to review your qualifications, either for an advertised job, or one of those jobs on the “hidden market” that are waiting for the right person to come along.

I don’t know how often it actually works that way, but you’ve got to be realistic about the likelihood of finding a job through someone you’ve just met. A recent acquaintance who you’ve shared a cup of coffee with really has no basis to recommend you, except perhaps their first impressions about your sociability and speaking ability. The best you can hope for is an introduction.

My point is that the valuable part of your network isn’t made up of people you’ve just met, it’s those people who have direct experience working with you in some capacity. Obviously that includes co-workers, suppliers, and service providers from your previous jobs, but it can also include people you’ve worked alongside in volunteer roles or non-profit organizations. Regardless, these are the folks in your network who can provide a meaningful recommendation because your time together is more relevant to those who are trying to assess your skills.

If you’re currently “in transition,” you can expand your network by attending meetings and introducing yourself to new people. It’s also important to create a more effective network by finding opportunities to help others understand what you can do: volunteering, teaching, writing, speaking. The introductions you get from people who really know you will be much more effective.

As for my own job search, I’m feeling optimistic today. It’s my birthday.

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Comments»

1. Sandy Lewis - July 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Tim! Good luck with your job search.

2. Establishing Credibility When You’re an Unknown « Managing in the 2000s - September 9, 2012

[…] maintain connections with people, ideally with those who have experience working alongside you (see The Value of Networking). A recommendation from a former or current colleague carries a lot more weight than almost […]


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