In the move from being a reactive to a proactive job seeker, it is critical to have the facts about the job search process. Here are two essential ones that are helpful for anyone, and often have particular meaning to those who were employed for many years in the same company:
1. Many job seekers are aware that 75-80% of all positions are found in the hidden job market which is accessed by using their network. What they don’t know is that most people find their next position within just the first two to three circles in their network. It usually starts with contacting direct acquaintances, family and friends who lead the job seeker to someone they know, or someone they know who knows a hiring manager. That means that the common kneejerk reaction of trying to expand a network as quickly as possible with lots of new people is unnecessary.
2. Networking for jobs is different than other types of networking such as product and service sales or many types of professional recruiting. In his new book Highly Effective Networking, Orville Pierson does an outstanding job in describing the difference in networking for employment. In one section, he describes several myths about networking for a job. Here are two of my favorites:
“My network is too small.”
Orville’s experience is that every person has a network that is large enough. I agree 100%! Most people do not realize just how big and relevant their network already is. My work includes assisting unemployed people who were at the same company for many years. I often hear a variation of the following: “I worked for Company X for 10/15/30/40 years….I don’t have a network!” Once we start assessing who they know in the various categories of their life, the list quickly adds up to at least 25-30 contacts right off the bat and increases from there with a bit more thinking. Since each of those 25-30 contacts knows at least 10 people, that is 250-300 individuals only one more circle out!
“My network doesn’t include the right people”.
This myth is based on the notion that meeting hiring managers is only possible through top level individuals such as presidents, Senior VP’s or managers, etc. The reality is success in gaining employment is based on the effective use of the person’s current network to gain access to the hiring managers and other contacts on the target company list. What’s needed are people who know these people and most often, they are not at those highest levels. It is not about a feverish search for the top guns. It is about taking a close look at the wide variety of people already known and effectively and strategically accessing and utilizing that network!
In the past 35 years, we have experienced 7 recessions. The facts above have remained constant during that time. This information can be used to build a foundation for a proactive job search on solid ground.
Next time: The impact of reciprocity on the job search.