Networking is defined as the formulation of an active group of business connections and as such it’s highly valued. But can it really help a job search?
The truth is that although some people swear by networking, others have a hard time believing that it can be of real value. Some business owners, for example, believe that spending time making professional connections can help expand their brand’s reach, while others believe that networking is a waste of time.
Employees, on the other hand, are more open to the concept of professional networking as they understand that making professional connections can help them change jobs and even change careers.
And in spite of the fact that many jobseekers agree that networking could help them get a job, most of them never actually take the necessary steps to make these connections as networking requires time and effort. The hesitation to take these steps usually results in making a few connections here and there that can’t help in the job search, and this all culminates in the jobseeker claiming that ‘no, networking can’t help you find a job’.
And although it would be great if your CV would be the only thing that could help you get a job, the truth is that employers are constantly demanding more and more things as they want to ensure that every new hire will be retained. Turnover can be costly for employers, and this forces them to make the hiring process as demanding as possible.
So, having a great CV won’t necessarily help you get the job. You’ll need something else to push you forward, and this is exactly where professional connections come in. Having someone to vouch for your skills (as well as your personality) can help push hiring managers to make a decision in your favour, and this is just one of the reasons why you should be embracing the idea of professional networking.
To help convince you to dedicate the time and effort effective professional networking requires we’ve created a list of a few other reasons you should be taking networking seriously. Go through it and if you are unsure of how to network, contact us here and we’ll be happy to write a comprehensive guide to help you out.
Many Companies Are Now Using Referrals as a Hiring Strategy
Many companies are now beginning to realise that employee referral programs are very effective. Research from the United States has shown that hiring through referrals can be:
- More time-effective: 29 days are required to hire an employee through referrals, whereas 39 days are necessary when an employee referral program isn’t in place.
- Cheaper: hiring an employee through a referral program can save organisations up to $3,000 per hire.
- Retention rates are higher: 46 per cent compared to the 33 per cent when hiring through career sites.
The problem with the increasing number of organisations with referral programs is that it gets harder for jobseekers to find a job. Having a referral program in place means that an organisation will never advertise its vacancies; this essentially means that jobseekers will be completely cut off from specific employment opportunities and your job search can drag on for a very long time.
Having professional connections with people within various organisations could help you know which companies are hiring. Start making professional connections with people in your industry and you’ll soon have more employment opportunities than you ever thought possible.
Industry Experts Agree that Networking Is Effective
What’s great about professional connections is that employers are always keen on hiring employees who have good connections. Not only because this means that someone can speak for their skills and qualifications, but also because having an employee who is interested in outreach can help the business push forward as well.
A well-networked employee could be the key to company growth and employers are well aware of that, so don’t be shy about admitting to your potential boss that you are interested in continuing to make connections with people in your industry.
According to Chris Bolte, the CEO of Paysa, one of the most up and coming companies in the salary data market, maintaining connections with the industry while taking a sabbatical was what helped him re-enter the business world. And if connections can help someone taking a break from their career come back as the CEO of a company, imagine what connections could do for your job search.
Targeting Companies Can Be Effective
Targeting companies can be an effective job search strategy as it enables you to find a job with a company you are passionate to work for. I strongly recommend that you make a shortlist of all the companies in your industry that you want to work for (take into consideration things such as salary and perks, but also ensure that you have the necessary skills and qualifications) and start coming up with ways to approach them. It could include cold-calling, but a better option would be making connections with people who already work in that company.
Building a professional network based on the companies you are interested in working for will help you get all the insider information, and it could even help you tailor your CV based on the information that the people from these companies will give you.
To do that you should look into online networking; LinkedIn can be a useful tool in this respect as it will allow you to find the people who work for your shortlisted companies and look for any common connections with them. If you have common connections ask to be introduced and if you don’t there’s no harm in approaching them with a friendly message about an article you think they’d be interested in.
It’s important to note that you should be careful with this strategy as you could easily come across as a bit too stalky. Just be mindful of how pushy you are and don’t forget to be polite.
A Professional Network Can Help You Get Some Work Experience
One of the biggest problems recent graduates face when trying to find a job is that they almost never have any relevant work experience. It makes them risky hires for employers who would rather hire someone with some expertise than someone with no expertise to speak of. However, having a strong professional network could help you get around this problem as you can do some unpaid work for your connections to gain some work experience.
If for example, you are connected to someone in another industry, you can intern with them for a while to get some skills that you can then use to apply for new jobs (You can learn how to use transferable skills on your CV here).
Keep in mind that having someone who can vouch for your skills can go a long way helping you land a job so don’t hesitate to ask your connections if there’s any way you could work for them for a while.
Professional networking shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. It can help your career advance in so many ways that you should come up with ways to make a habit out of it. Don’t stop networking as soon as you find a job as this could hurt your opportunities down the line. Keep your professional connections active and always strive to meet and connect with new professionals.
Do you think professional networking is an essential tool for jobseekers? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.