How many times do you hear the phrase, “its not what you know, its who you know?” Well, to a large degree it’s true. But it does not mean what you may think it means.
What it does is point to the power of networking in a job search. We advise that people do 3 main things when looking for a job. 1. Following job posting boards is a necessary evil of the job search. You may find a job here, but you are just one of thousands of people looking at the same posting. 2. A placement agency like 52 can open doors and provide opportunities that never show up on job boards. A placement agency is also a function of the next and critical step. 3. Network. Often networking is the most important missing piece. It’s also of course, the hardest one and the one that requires the most work.
So, getting back to the “who you know”. It’s not really who you know as much as it is what you know and who you know. If you don’t have marketable employment skills, it really doesn’t matter who you know, chances are you still are not going to be hired to run your mom’s friend’s marketing department. The key is to know as many people in your chosen profession and specialization as you can. If you are good at what you do, you should have a network of people that know it. When looking for a new job, you tap into that network and let it work for you.
If you need to build a network, it takes time, effort and focus. When you make a contact make sure you also ask that contact for a referral. That way one contact becomes two. And always follow up. Keep track of your contacts and the activity you have had with them. When trying to build a network on a job search you need to ask yourself, who would hire me? As in, what is the position or job title of the person who would hire me? If you are a graphic designer, it might be a creative director or marketing manager. Those are the people then that you target for your networking. You also target people who would be doing the same work as you, but they are more able to refer you to opportunities, the higher level people may be the ones doing the hiring. Either way, it’s still networking and building your sphere of contacts.
It’s good to get this skill down early because it is a recurring theme. A job search through proactive networking is very similar to the business development cycle that companies pursue. And it’s hard work. But, it is worth it because you never know the opportunities that will present themselves, either in the short term or years down the road.
Because, it’s all about who you know.