My friend got a job at a major tech company recently. And networking got her there. When it comes to job search, networking matters not just a little but a LOT. Especially now. But not the hit-and-run kind of networking. I mean the other kind. Where you build relationships over time.
Networking matters a LOT if you’re unemployed
When you’re out of work, it’s easy to get caught up in the job listing / job application cycle. Where you let what’s publicly available guide your search. But three things very wrong with that:
- Not all jobs are listed publicly. So you never hear about them.
- You still have to get through the screening process. And of course, all the competition.
- Not all jobs are fully approved yet. And some may only be vague ideas at this time.
- People who know people often get preference — for both listed jobs and those still being born!
So you have to do something that gets you past the SOSO (same old same old) techniques everyone else is relying on. And networking is your most powerful ally for making that happen for yourself. Especially if you’re unemployed. Here’s why…
First, networking matters to help get you past hiring managers who prefer employed people. Not fair — and not even smart hiring practice — but that’s just the way it is for some people. Luckily, not as true anymore. Still, good to be aware of this possibility.
But also, after a while being unemployed just eats at you. It eats at your confidence. And it eats at your energy. And this can show in interviews.
So having someone pulling for you — hopefully recommending you — can not only give you that oh so important “in” with the company. But it can also help you feel better about yourself. And THAT shows too.
My friend’s networking story
After many years building up her marketing skills, my friend got told she was being laid off. She figured it would take her a while, but she was confident she’d find something. And then the months passed with no offers. Some maybes, but nothing real.
And then COVID hit. Oh no! I can tell you she was not her old confident self anymore. And she was worried about how long this might go on. But she kept up her networking with old employers, college contacts, friends, family, and even LinkedIn connections. And eventually she heard of a really wonderful job with a major social media company.
And, to strengthen the point about why networking matters so much … she was already interviewing for the job as it was being created. It was never listed anywhere. But she is happily working there now — from home. And loves her new job!
I’ve also gotten unlisted jobs through networking. One through an old college friend. And two through people I had worked with earlier. So even if it takes a while, please know that networking really is one of the best ways to get yourself hired. Whether you’re between jobs or not.
Some networking tips:
- Networking is relationship building. Not just need based.
- Friendly conversation — not urgent desperation.
- Help people see your positive vision and determination.
- People who believe in you will want to help if they can.
- Networking is an ongoing, two-way street.
- It needs to be about more than just you and your needs!
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