This blog post is dedicated to show you how important building your network of people is for the long term. How did you find your last job? I asked this question on LinkedIn about two weeks ago and got some very interesting answers.
It seems that there are mainly two ways through which people who answered, found their last job, either direct application or networking. If you look at the answers in detail, most of the people who first indicate they have found a job by applying for a position, then state, that they either followed up or had some contact help them.
1. Understanding the market
I think it is essential to understand that in most professions today, there is a very big lack of communication during the recruitment process. This makes it very hard to find the right people for the employers and the right jobs for the employees.
On the one hand, there is a big lack of professionals among many industries – I personally recruit within the IT sector since 7 years and know this is a major issue. On the other hand, many people have difficulties finding a job. In fact, many expats in Switzerland have problems finding a job due to lack of the local language skills.
Being a recruiter myself, I have encountered many companies that publish job adverts in German, including a must criteria of fluent German language skills for the position. At the first look there might be nothing wrong with this job ad. On the second look or better on the first call, suddenly the company declares German as a nice to have but absolutely no must.
2. So why do employers publish such job ads?
Because employers believe the job market is full of 5 legged dogs and purple cows. Companies, or better to say, many HR professionals, believe there are more than enough qualified candidates on the market for any job.
The reality shows that there is a huge lack of specialists and experts in the Swiss market, regardless of the industry or profession. Unfortunately employers rarely understand the employment market or just don’t have enough information about it. Therefore they rather wait to receive the perfect applicant after having a vacancy open for 6 months or longer, instead of interviewing candidates that do not fully fit the profile of the 5 legged dog they are looking for.
3. Why should you even bother networking when you are employed?
It is like not bothering about housing insurance, as long as the sun is shining and the weather is ok. But as soon as the storm turns up, the roof gets ripped off and the cellar is flooded, you wish you had insurance and not had to go through the pain and the costs.
When it comes to houses, this is clear to most people. But when it comes to their career, people neglect their relationship building efforts over and over again. They even don’t care too much about the insurance after the house is fixed and the pain is over. Because how likely is it that this will happen again? Well, in career terms, it is very likely.
4. Building your relationships for the long term
On the one hand, you should build your network to make sure you don’t have to go through the pain of the whole recruitment process over and over again. On the other hand, simply consider the benefits for your next position. Have you ever accepted a job and after 4 weeks, you wished you had never signed the contract? Or you were hired by a new company and after 3 months, you realized that the company’s and department’s values are complete mismatch with yours?
If you make sure you do not just apply for a bunch of skills on a sheet of paper that you are supposed to bring to the company, but try to align values and interests, you will stay much longer and much happier at that company.
Have you ever thought about career change? If not yet, maybe you will sometimes in the future. I have come across many people who want to change their careers, mostly in their 40s or 50s. I think it is a very good idea to explore more than just one career. However, if you are looking to change careers, how can you proof you are able to master the new challenges, if all the HR or recruitment department looks at is your CV?
When you know the right people and have a broad network across industries, a career change can happen any time you want it to.
Another very beautiful thing about building professional relationships is, that you get offered jobs on a constant basis, even if you are currently not looking. This might sound like a luxury but can be very important, if you are looking to grow your career and take the next step in terms of seniority or management level.
If you are unemployed and looking for a new challenge, chances are that you will accept a job on the same level as you last one. But if you are employed and have the possibility to express your interests and skills when you talk to potential employers, it may likely be that you are offered a new position which you can call a “next step” in your career.
It is also more convenient to switch jobs when you are still employed and may be not even looking. Once you get to this stage of knowing the right people and you maintain and develop your network, there will be no applying for jobs on company websites and not receiving a feedback in the future. You will be ways ahead of the other candidates.
This is the time when you claim your piece of the “hidden” job market. This is where you access the up to 80% of jobs in Switzerland that are never published to the public.
6. Better position means higher salary
When it comes to salaries, it’s all about position and negotiation. I know people who are on the same level of experience, in the same company and one of them earns substantially more than the other. This usually boils down to negotiation. To be able to negotiate you must have a favorable position first. It’s a bit like poker. You may lose a great hand just because you are in a bad position.
When you are unemployed for a longer period of time and desperately looking for a job, you have an unfavorable position. On the other hand, if you are employed, generally happy and not looking to change but get offered a very interesting job, you can poker very high because you have less to lose.
What is your opinion on building relationships while being employed?