As a member of modern society, you’re well aware that networking is one potential route to finding work. But, did you know it might actually be the best way to get the job done? (The job of finding a new job, that is.) Some estimate that upwards of 85 percent of open positions are filled through networking. If you’re looking for work, it might be better to put your time into building your professional network rather than pouring through all those listings online. Could networking actually the best way to find a new job?
THE MOST COMMON WAY TO FIND WORK
The benefits and the overall impact of networking have received a lot of study in recent years. The results of these reports vary to some extent, but all agree that it’s definitely a popular way to get a job. Some experts say that 70 percent of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80 percent or even 85 percent.
Even when figures are broken down into different categories of job seekers and people are asked how they landed their current job, networking tops every list. In one survey, conducted by LinkedIn and the Adler Group, “active candidates” were separated out from “tiptoers” and “passive candidates,” those who looked for work in more casual ways. Regardless of the individual attitudes and approaches job seekers brought to the table, networking was the most popular way to get a job. For “tiptoers” it won out 3 to 1, and for even more casual job seekers, dubbed “passive candidates,” networking dominated other job-search methods on a scale of 7 to 1.
THERE ARE A LOT OF HIDDEN JOBS OUT THERE
One of the major reasons that networking is such an effective way to get a job is that there is something of a hidden job market out there. Some estimate that as much as 80 percent of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking.
In fact, getting a referral for a job opening from someone who’s already working with the company could give you pretty impressive odds. Only 7 percent of job applicants get this kind of referral, yet referrals make up 40 percent of new hires. Clearly, networking isn’t just one potential route to finding a new job — it’s actually the most effective path.
“At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published, ” Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons told NPR. “And yet most people – they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majoring of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO NETWORK:
We really ought to come up with another word for networking — the one we have is just icky. But, networking doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable process. So, don’t let the thought of it intimidate you or turn you off.
Networking is really about connecting with people — and, like everything else, it helps to be sincere. So, backburner the job search process a little in your mind and focus on making new connections and strengthening existing ones. Then, be sure to let those contacts know what you’re up to professionally and where you’re looking to go next in your career. That’s networking! Here are a few other tips to consider:
- Try to get out there and network the old-fashioned way sometimes, meaning face-to-face interactions. Online professional networking sites are great. But, personal interactions are often still the most powerful.
- Have conversations that aren’t all about you with those in your network. Offer your help without looking for something in return. Helping others could end up coming back to help you in the end.
- If you consider yourself on the shy side, don’t fear. Introverts can be great at networking. One important key is to come up with some questions and topics to discuss in advance. That should help you feel prepared and more relaxed.
- Keep in mind that establishing a strong network takes time. Be ready to invest some effort on a regular basis. Then, your network will be there at the ready when you need it.