Why Networking Works
by OI Global Partners – Abentigro
Networking, especially business networking, is nothing new. In fact, people have been networking as long as they have been communicating with each other.
Think about early settlers swapping information with each other on the best hunting spots or fresh water sources – they were networking even then!
The Internet has made networking that much easier, providing new tools and access to information unlike ever before. Business networking simply refers to building and cultivating relationships with people who share similar business interests in a way that benefits both parties.
Initially, networking can be uncomfortable or intimidating for a lot of people. The common misconception is that you are asking for a job, when in fact, networking is actually much different.
- A common, everyday event — Think about all of the people you interact with on a daily basis: doctor, barber, pharmacist, neighbor, letter carrier, friends, colleagues, shop owners, etc.).
- Talking to people — Everywhere you go you are making conversation and building relationships.
- Reciprocal — The art of networking involves giving as well as receiving, whether it be time, information, or access to contacts.
- Letting people know you are looking for a new opportunity, being specific about what you are looking for, and asking for advice and information.
Networking is not:
- Asking for a job or favors.
- Shoving your business card or resume in someone’s face.
- Collecting a big list of names so you can impress others.
- Small talk, chit-chat, or schmoozing.
- A waste of time or as hard as you think.
How People Find Jobs
Researchers have studied how people find jobs for many years, and the results have changed drastically over the last few decades. Gone are the days when you would knock on a door, hand a paper copy of your resume to a receptionist and ask to speak to the hiring manager. The research tells us that what has remained constant over decades is that networking continues to be the key to successfully landing a new role. In fact, networking has become more and more important to job search success.
According to LinkedIn, networking is the #1 way in which people secure new employment. Some studies indicate that as many as 85% of all new opportunities are found through networking. Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University reported that 70% of all jobs are found through networking. And a recent survey by CareerXroads shows that only 15% of positions were filled through job boards.
Networking statistics show that many people believe in the power of networking and they are taking advantage of this resource. Some recent findings suggest that 75% of people engage in some form of networking, while 68% of young professionals value face-to-face networking vs. an online method.
The Granovetter Study
Mark Granovetter completed perhaps the most widely known research on the value of networking as a job seeking behavior.
Granovetter is a Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. His doctoral thesis at Harvard (“The Strength of Weak Ties”) was turned into the 1995 book, Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers.
Dr. Granovetter studied people who had found white-collar jobs and he described the methods that were successful. The results are graphed here.
In this ground-breaking research networking was 7.5 times as effective as the next best source of jobs. It was also 3 times as effective as all the other methods of job search combined. Furthermore, the best jobs – those with the most prestige and highest pay – were found through networking.
(Granovetter, Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Harvard University Press)