It is not what you know, it’s who you know.
You will hear this over and over and over again throughout your career. And it will come front of mind when applying for roles, finding out you didn’t even reach the shortlist when your skills and experience were a perfect match to the job specification. It is dis-hearting and feels dam right unfair.
BUT before we get all judgemental and frustrated… lets think about it from the recruiter’s point of view…
They receive 50 to 100 and more resumes for the one position. Their role is to sort through ALL of these resumes matching their skills to the position descriptions. From the 50 applications, 25 match the criteria, from the 25, they need to short list to first round interviews, from the interview they shortlist to second round interviews. If someone, knows someone and can already give a character reference that actually does make the recruiting process not only easier but also saves time and money. So although it seems unfair, and in cases might be, it is cost effective for the organisation.
FYI – some organisations actually have money incentives for their employees for referral recruiting.
What can you do?
Networking is such a powerful tool. It teaches you to market, brand and position yourself as an expert and not to mention the valuable (I cannot stress how valuable) connections you make and your confidence levels will increase. It is just a spiral effect really… it has so many benefits it is just ridiculous.
From networking, personally I have been able to get inside information into advertised roles from knowing people who work in the organisations and in one instance, I was able to contract the manager who was recruiting. All from connecting at a networking event.
Networking can be very scary, intimidating and just uncomfortable. It is one of those things that if you don’t throw yourself out there and shake that hand it will become harder and harder to do.
How do I network?
Introduce yourself. Shake hands (practice this at home, you want a firm handshake that is confident and intended). Before going into a big spiel about yourself, ask about them – their work, how they got to their position. And then go into what you do and who you are. If you are at an event with speakers or presentation, it is also a good idea to discuss the presentation and give your thoughts – this is an easy conversation driver and ice breaker.
Where do I network? Jump on google, ask your colleagues and research industry specific organisations. There are so many organisations / institutions that have professional development and networking events out there, you just may need to do some digging to find ones that are relevant to you. Some organisations that I like to attend are below:
- Australian Marketing Institute (+ Emerging Marketers)
- Australian Institute of Management
- ADMA (Association for data-driven marketing & advertising) (+30Below)
- Young Bloods
- PRIA (Public Relations Institute of Australia)
- APSMA (Asia Pacific Professional Services Marketing Association)
FYI – organisations that are looking to recruit often attend networking events to scope talent.
My advice: put yourself out there – network, network, network.
Never Ever: Be negative or ‘bag out’ anything or anyone – you never know if they are connected or involved. Be pussy about recruitment or job opportunities. Have too many wines.
Have you ever networked? What has worked for you?