Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Put 100 Career Counselors in a Room

"Put 100 career counselors in a room and ask them to identify the single most effective way to land a great job, and 98 of them will say that it's networking. Why? For two reasons:

First, many of the best employment opportunities are never advertised. You won't find them posted on job boards or even on a company's own Web-site. Collectively, they are known as "the hidden job market." Employers only want to interact with top candidates for these positions, and they believe the best way to find such prospects is by networking.

Second, because the opportunities in the hidden job market are not advertised, most people never even hear about them. Far fewer people, as a result, apply for these openings which means that there's less competition for them. Not only are they among the best openings available at any point in time, but the odds of being the successful applicant are often better than with advertised positions."
Thus began an article by Pete Weddle in his October 15th issue of his widely-read newsletter in which he often features a column entitled WEDDLE's Research Factoid. In this case, the "Factoid" was called The Overlooked Strategy and was based on the results of a survey he ran on WEDDLE's between 1/1/07 and the end of August. He had 11,700 responses to the two question survey: "where did you find your last job and where do you expect to find your next one?"

Only 10.5% said that they got their last job via networking or at a business event, and Pete said an even smaller percent said they used online networking (including the buzz word of the day "social networking") as part of their search process. Amazing!

Given the data that one sees almost on a daily basis on how people get their next gig, I was really surprised to see the number that low. I guess Pete was too which is why I suspect he called the piece "The Overlooked Strategy."

Pete doesn't say what the demographic of the respondents was, so it is totally a matter of conjecture as to what sort of job levels he was talking about but I have to believe that it did not include a significant number of senior level executives.

We have been asking our members similar questions ever since we started doing some serious survey work some fifteen years ago and the numbers what we got have always been in the 60s and 70s. At the moment, it remains at 70% and has been at that level for quite some period of time.

While I remain surprised at Pete's figures, I certainly am on board with his key point in terms of the real driver of networking success:
"The key is to practice the Golden Rule: network with others the way you would like them to network with you."
Said differently, effective networking has, so far as I know, always been about an attitude and lifestyle of giving long before you worry about getting.

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