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Why Networking Works
I keep hearing how important networking is in job search. Why?
Here’s a statistic: Studies show that at least 75% of job seekers find their new jobs through networking, simply by talking to people.
Employers want to make a safe hire: someone who can definitely succeed in the role they’re hired for. Their preferred way to do that is to hire someone they already know. If they don’t know anyone like that, then their next choice is to hire someone known by someone they know.
Networking is an effective way to meet people and expand your professional connections. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you'll establish connections to a variety of prospective employers.
Another reason to network is to gain information. You want to know all you can about the company you think you want to work for. If all goes well, you’ll spend most of your waking hours there for the next several years. Don’t you want to know if it’s a good match for your skills, interests, and values?
Knowing a lot about a company does more than help you make a good decision. It’s also tremendously helpful in the interview process. A very common question is “What do you know about our company?” If you can demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, it shows you care about the company; that will always impress an employer. That knowledge will also give you confidence in the interview; you’ll know what they’re trying to accomplish, a little about what they’ve already tried, and how you can help them succeed.
The people you meet through your networking efforts can provide that information, from first-hand knowledge and experience.
Here's one of many networking success stories I've personally seen happen: A job seeker joined a local Toastmasters group (a group that teaches public speaking and leadership, and is incidentally a great way to network.) She became the group’s treasurer. The club president took notice of her skills in that role. When the opportunity became available, he hired her as his company’s accountant.
So go ahead and network. It will shorten your job search considerably.