Debra Feldman

Why Network?

Here are six reasons.

August 20, 2009
by Debra Feldman

Without a doubt networking is indispensable for positive campaign results. In fact, industry experts and research confirms that the vast majority of new hires result from personal connections and the percentage is highest among executives with over 85 percent reporting that they sourced their new position through a personal recommendation or referral.

Although submitting resumes online, notifying recruiters via fax resume blasts and direct-mail campaigns including broadcast e-mails, can generate employer interest, it is personal networking that produces the most viable job leads and the lifelong relationships that make investing the time to nurture the right connections pay off. Just look back through your own career history or ask colleagues how they got their last position. Playing the odds in the job hunter’s favor means emphasizing networking activities over all other job search methods. Get to work and expand your network and work those contacts harder and the odds are you’ll produce a new opportunity faster than using any other approach.

Despite the volume being far greater through blasts and mailings and online clicks, what generate real offers are personal connections.  Direct-mail campaigns distributing your marketing documents produce about a one percent return, at best. Calculate the cost of paper, stamps and labor involved and it gets pricey. Then, you have to factor in all the envelopes and postage lost on returns and the uncertainty of not knowing whether anyone actually evaluated your materials. Finally, there is no guarantee of making a direct, personal connection with the recipient.

Contrast this to establishing a warm personal relationship with someone you target as a good networking resource and the likelihood of getting additional referrals and/or an immediate job lead argues dramatically in favor of purposeful networking as the job search method of choice, especially for senior-level accounting and finance professionals. With effective networking, it’s possible for you to achieve more than 100 percent responses from each networking encounter – that’s more than one referral for each and every contact you establish. Very quickly, your network builds exponentially vastly increasing the number of people aware of your qualifications and connected by one or more degrees of separation. At the executive level, employers are much more comfortable hiring a friend of a friend than selecting their next leader from a bunch of resumes representing unknown prospects.

Starting a Networking-driven Job Search

First identify with whom to connect and then define how best to command attention and the desirable response. Despite the substantially greater efforts involved, targeted networking focused on a few highly selected contacts with big potential, provides a greater probability for uncovering new career opportunities matching a candidate’s requirements. If this is the method used continuously to expand one’s business network, when it comes time to seek a new opportunity, many appropriate and valuable connections will already have been established paving a successful path filled with insider tips, leads and information.

Adopting these strategies will add to your job search success and put your networking to the test.

  1. Establish a specific reason or focus for each networking interaction. Know what this contact can do to further the campaign progress and politely ask for help.

  2. Strategically focus networking activity to concentrate on individuals positioned to bring more connections. If someone works at your target employer or is the roommate of someone who is employed there, this is one good way to get inside an organization.

  3. Target networking to get connected to individuals who are well connected because this will exponentially increase your networking depth and reach.

  4. Be persistent. If you believe a contact is beneficial and are having difficulty reaching them, don’t easily give up trying to get their attention. Identify someone who might be able to arrange an introduction rather than cold calling. Do something outrageous, but professional, to capture their attention and start a dialog.

  5. List everyone you have ever known that you admire and respect. Seek them out and let them know what your career objectives are at this time. If they ever liked you, chances are they will be happy to help, offer advice and provide support.

  6. Promote yourself. For example, publish an article that you can circulate. This will keep you in front of others without having to send a message saying outright that you are job hunting and need their help. When they contact you to congratulate you is the time to make them aware that you are open to new opportunities.
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© Debra Feldman, 2009

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques soon to be profiled in Forbes magazine and featured in an upcoming syndicated television series. In addition to writing columns and conducting workshops for several revered professional associations, Debra provides career guidance to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.