Networking doesn’t work. Or, maybe it only works for three out of ten people.
Which means out of a hundred people, it won’t work for seventy of them.
Clarification (posted at 7:35pm MST on 4/18/08): The late Mark Hovind, a brilliant thinker helping many job seekers, made it clear on his (now defunct) website and in his comment that these stats are in a 90 day period… so sure, maybe more people will be more successful in more than a 90 day period, but his point is that if you are going from zero-to-job in 90 days, the numbers apply.
Networking Doesn’t Work
That’s pretty darn frustrating. Especially since I’ve come to believe that two of the most important things I could do for my job search and/or career management include (1) network, and (2) develop my personal brand.
And now I learn that networking doesn’t work. It’s not the silver bullet. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many job blogs. There wouldn’t be so many books on job search. We would all be networking maniacs, living giver’s gain, and oh what a different world we would live in!
Where do I get this notion that networking doesn’t work? Mark Hovind, who owned JobBait.com, had it all over his website. Here’s how he breaks down how people get jobs:
- Going Direct 85%
- Networking 30%
- Outplacement 25%
- Recruiters 1%
- Job Boards 1%
- Resume Posting 1%
I’m not sure how he came up with these numbers, but I’ve been chewing on this concept (specifically, networking to a job) since I first talked to him months ago.
Explaining Why Networking Doesn’t Work
You know what? I think I agree. Here’s why:
Most people do not have a real network. I didn’t, when I got laid off. I had not nurtured relationships, and was not prepared to approach hardly anyone for my new job search. My network contacts were all company and vendor and customer contacts, and I didn’t realize that when you get let go it’s almost as if you have leprosy and people aren’t supposed to talk with (or help) you. So I was basically starting over.
Most people don’t know how to network. Pass business cards. Give your thirty second pitch. Shake hands, give a job lead, introduce me to someone you just met…. these are all good things, but they can (and usually are) superficial. I cringed at thinking of networking with the unemployed person… until I read Never Eat Alone. That book was my #1 must read to get my head straight with regard to “networking.” Most important paradigm shift for me? The concept of an “intimate relationship.” If you are serious about networking as a job search strategy, watch my Informational Interviews course on Pluralsight.
Most people don’t follow up. Getting beyond that superficial stuff… beyond that first point of contact, or the second point of contact, and work on a strategy that includes following up. Did you know that if you send an interviewer a thank you card you will stand out? You may be the only one who sends a business card. Guess what – in a networking environment, if you actually follow up with someone you meet, you’ll stand out! Because most people don’t!
Most people think growing their network list is networking. Get more business cards. Or collect more LinkedIn contacts, Facebook Friends, Plaxo contacts… all the data. “My network is big!” “I have 500 first degree contacts!” “Connect with me and I’ll give you access to my 8 million connections!” Those 8 million connections are worthless, as far as relationships go. It’s not just about how wide your network is, or how deep your network is, but also how strong each relationship is.
What do you think? Was Mark Hovind right? Are only three out of ten people going to find their next job through networking? Because, if so, we’d have to agree that networking doesn’t work. At least, with the flawed way most people are doing it.
Are we so unsuccessful at finding jobs this way because (a) networking doesn’t work, or (b) we are doing it wrong?
I find the concept that networking doesn’t work amazing and would love to hear what you think.
Interested in learning about my job search strategies and tactics? Check out these courses I created.