As many job seekers know, it often takes more than a strong resume and determination to secure an offer. Amy Landry discusses why your network may be the most effective tool in your job search arsenal.
It’s been said that 70 to 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking vs. cold applying.
Wow. If that’s true, it means 15 to 30 percent are filled by cold applying or finding a job on a job board and applying without knowing anyone at the company. According to TopResume®, the number is actually closer to 60 percent. How many of you looking for a job are tracking the number of jobs you’re applying to, the number that are cold applications vs. jobs someone in your network shared with you and the number that lead to actual interviews? How do your stats look? Here’s a quick snapshot of mine:
- Total number of applications: 193
- Total number of “decided to go with someone else” emails without an interview: 57
- Total number that went into a black hole: 118
- Total number of applications that lead to an initial interview: 18
- Number of cold applications that led to an interview: 12
- Number of shared by network that led to an interview: 6
One might look at these numbers and think “she’s doing better with the cold applying, so that stat can’t be true.” But what if I were to tell you that while yes, I had 12 interviews from finding a position on a job board and applying, none of these led to an interview with the hiring manager. The recruiter felt that my experience and what I shared with them was “really impressive,” but once reviewed by the hiring manager, they did not want to pursue my candidacy. On the flip side, the six jobs that were shared by someone in my network all landed me at least one interview with a decision maker, with a few taking me to the final round.
What does this show? What should you take away from this? (If you’re not keeping your own stats, there’s no time like the present.)
For me, it shows that there is some truth in the stat that 60 percent of jobs are filled through networking. How exciting it is to receive a message in LinkedIn saying “Are you still looking for a job? If so, I may know of one and can connect you to the hiring manager.”
Human beings are trusting creatures. We want to trust that someone presented to us to fill a job we need to fill can do what the job requires. What better way than knowing the candidate directly, or knowing the person who is recommending the candidate? Once I started to look at the numbers (data never lies), I started to shift my mindset and focus my attention on getting my message out there to those in my network. By “message,” I mean who I am, what I am looking for, how can I add value to a company, etc.
You know your professional brand. One job searching skill that everyone should learn and cultivate in this pandemic world is how to market yourself. After all, you are your best advocate.
So how can you market yourself when you’re sitting at home? The first step is being willing to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. Step two: Look for ways to share your story with your network and the wider world.
The following are some suggestions that have been shared with me along the way, and I’m taking full advantage of each and every one:
- write a blog,
- be a guest on a podcast,
- share with your network and any professional groups that you are looking for a job (be sure to be specific on what you’re looking for),
- write an article for a professional magazine or
- be a speaker at a conference.
A little birdie told me that the SCCE is looking for speakers right now. One thing I have learned this past year is that you have to be agile and think outside of the box when searching for a job. What worked for you in 2019 may not work for you in 2021. Yes, it maybe scary to get out of your comfort zone and try some of these, but it will be 100 percent worth it when you finally land a job.