In this article I would like to show you how important having a strong network of people is. The job market has changed drastically over the past years. Today you are competing with 100s of jobseekers with very similar skill sets to yours. For some more general jobs there are 100s or in some cases even more candidates applying for the same job you are. If you need some evidence, search for a job on LinkedIn and see how many people applied already.
The direct cause of so many people applying for a job is that the HR department needs to make the hiring and recruitment process more efficient and easier for them. This results in “Apply now” buttons instead of phone numbers or email addresses and less time spent on reviewing the details of the CV or cover letters. All this leads to the conclusion for you that you must optimize your CV even more and come up with more creative cover letters. But there is a limit to that. What are the benefits of the most creative cover letter in the world if nobody reads it?
Job seekers more and more feel the urgency of coming up with new ways, more effective ways, of getting hired. Statistics say that over 50% of job seekers over the age of 50 are unemployed for longer than 12 months. To shorten the length of unemployment there must be new ways of getting in front of the decision makers. Luckily there are.
There is another very interesting statistic we need to look at. Recruitment experts say that around 80% of all jobs filled are never published. This means that all the jobs you see are only 20% of the whole market. But what about the rest? The part of the jobs that are never posted publicly are filled either with internal candidates that are already working at that company or through people that the hiring responsible already knows – either recruitment agencies or candidates.
This leads us to the core of this article, the building of networks of people. If most people only go after the 20% of the jobs that are published, would it not make sense to go after the other 80% as well? I’m not saying stop applying and only do networking. You must do both.
What benefits do I get from building a network?
Well, first of all the one I just mentioned. You have much less competition if you go for the 80% of the jobs never published. The other very big advantage is that you are much more likely to get the job, company and boss you want if you are not blindly applying for jobs. If you get your next job through your network, the chance that your boss is a great person and you will actually like your job and the company are highly increased. This is based on the fact that you would not get a job offer from a potential boss that does not like you as then you would have never networked with him or her in the beginning. Also by the time you get the offer you would have known a lot more about the company and the job than through just 2 interviews.
Job hunting for most people is something very statical and in the moment. But think about it. How many times are people these days likely to change job all over their professional life. The average sales person stays in his job approx. 2-3 years which means he or she will change jobs 16 times over the course of 40 years! And if this person has no reliable network, he or she must start the job search process all over again and go through all the hassles. There are still professions where people stay very long in their jobs and at their companies but very rarely their whole career.
What about if you could invest some time during your employment lifecycle and never have to go through applying to jobs on job boards again? Well I believe building your network is the most effective way to do so. Your personal brand is what sells you and makes you unique, so use that to your advantage and network your way to your dream job.
Actions to take
As always I would not like you to just read this and do nothing. A big part of success is about decisions and actions. Here is your action for this blogpost that will make a difference in your career over time:
Have lunch at least once a week with somebody that you don’t know that good and you could benefit from in your career long term. This will grow your network by 50 new people every year and strengthen it.
Do you want to master your interviews? Would you like to know exactly how to build relationships to the right people to create your dream CAREER? Check out the CAREER Academy!
Why do you think building a network is important? What experiences did you have and what opportunities did arise from networking? Share your thoughts in the comments!