Finding a job through "networking"???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Dunn, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    All the career advisors are telling people right now that the best way to get a job is through personal contacts, also known as "networking." The process they describe usually involves "informational interviews," in which one goes out and makes contacts, but without the direct objective of asking/applying for a job.

    In theory, these contacts eventually will put you first in line when a manager decides to open up a job somewhere. Such jobs supposedly are often filled before they could be listed through the HR department, a Web site, or a newspaper ad.

    Am I the only person who doesn't understand how this is supposed to work? I've talked to most of the people I know, and it's the same story everywhere: "We've been laying off over here. Hiring is about the last thing on their minds right now..."

    To me, it seems this process could be described as "asking for a job, without asking for a job." But how does it REALLY work? And what if you need to move somewhere (i.e., Dallas) where you don't know a lot of people yet?
     
  2. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    What it boils down to is 'knowing people.' Old workmates, people you've worked with as part of your previous jobs, people these people know, people in online communities that you're in, and so on.

    My personal story involves, a few years back, bitching to a guy I played StarCraft with that I wasn't making much. Turned out he was manager of a tech company, I sent my resume, and a week later went for an interview and got a job offer that literally doubled me salary. And my mother told me I'd never find a job playing computer games. :)

    Speaking of which, I'm looking for a job in Systems and Network Administration, in or around Mississauga/Toronto/London/Kitchener/Waterloo/wherever in the area. :)
     
  3. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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    It may surprise you that about 70% of the companies that hire, never post in help wanted indexes.

    Networking is indeed the single most effective job-finding strategy you can implement, but it should be done, well, strategically.

    For example, identify the general field of work you want to be employed in. Then, isolate the best organizations, trade groups, etc., that comprise of members that come from that line of work. If any have regular luncheons, (like Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, etc.) attend some and get a feel for where you are most comfortable. Become a volunteer in an area where you are likely to meet people who work in the companies you have identified as being where you want to work.

    If you do this, you are virtually guaranteed success, at least in getting interviewed. There's millions of people out there with resumes. I NEVER hire anyone who has not taken a previous interest in the field they want to work in (in other words, I don't like grads with no life experience who I think are job-hunting, not looking for a career in which they will commit themselves). Many managers that I know in business today like people who volunteer because it tells me something about their value system. I like people as well who know how to network, because they make good sales people for the company as well. Its a respected skill, and even though some will suspect you are doing it to get a job, they will respect you if you do it circumspectly, persistently, and creatively.

    Good luck!
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I dunno if it really applies to what you're asking, but a course at school needed me to do 30 hours of work experience somewhere that is related to a career. I planned on going to futureshop. Well yesterday, i went there iwth my resume and all, and luckily i knew a guy who works there, and he knew how much i knew about Consumer Electronics and such. I got to talk to a couple of his supervisors and stuff, and they're going to call be back befiore friday.

    if it wasnt for me knowing the guy, i wouldn't have had a chace of talking to anybody at all.
     
  5. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Sadly, it's not what you know, it's who you know.
    Almost all of my jobs came from contacts at prior jobs.
    BA Physics MA Applied Math
    Job 1. Got hired blind at Bell Aerospace designing realtime video processing boards that interfaced with DG computers. Job 2. Got hired due to knowledge of DG computers, communications, and networking. Job 3. Got hired when people split from Job 2 and formed new company.
    Defense jobs went bust in 1990. Went to law school, got JD. Passed CA bar and US Patent bar exams.
    Job 4. Got patent attorney job in small law firm due to tech background plus JD. Job 5. Got patent attorney job in fancy law firm due to Job 4 plus friends from law school. Job 6. Got in-house patent counsel position at "prestige client" due to working for "prestige client" at job 5. Working at job 6 now for world's largest semiconductor company. Job 6 cool. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    It really is who you know.

    How do you "network"? I don't know exactly, but my best idea would be to just be cool with everyone. Do your best in everything (including hobbies) and be passionate about your work (and your hobbies). Eventually, you'll develop a reputation.

    I'm the local "computer dork." I've got some 10+ PCs in my house, home automation, motorized blinds, all sorts of great geeky stuff. Everyone who knows me (and plenty of people who don't know me) know the sort of things I'm into. So, when my neighbor needed a new employee, he literally walked across the street, knocked on my door, and offered me a job. At a company I'd previously applied for many times. A company that wouldn't talk to me before. He knew I had what it takes to do the job simply from talking to my other friends & neighbors in passing. We barely knew each other.

    That was a month and a half ago. Today was my third day on the job and talk about a career move - it's amazing. I couldn't have found a job this good on my own in a million years.
     
  7. Mark Dubbelboer

    Mark Dubbelboer Screenwriter

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    i got a good job because my uncle owned the business

    i keep the books at his engineering business part-time while attending university. I realize that this isn't something you can work on, but almost everyone has some sort of family connection that knows someone that can get you a good job.

    My other job (tuition's expensive) i got because a coworker from a previous job was able to vouch for my efficiency and integrity.

    those two jobs have led to the best things in my life right now.

    one of my friends was taking some lame psych class or something. the only thing she retained was this - there are weak and strong links. a strong link being a direct family member, a friend etc. these people are useful, but it's when you utilize your weak links (relative's friends, friend of a friend whose roomate went to school with bob) that you will start to get places.
     
  8. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    The only job that I ever hated was the one that I found through a recruiter. I was about to quit, but they did layoffs instead. Now I'm working with old friends, and loving every minute of it. I simply emailed one of them one day saying "My job sucks, do you know anyone that is hiring? I liked working with you guys." And they replied "We've got a position that you'd be great in, send me your resume". A few weeks later, I started.
     
  9. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    What would you guys do if you don't know a lot of people in the area you live, or in the area you wish to move?

    I relocated to Austin about 18 months ago to take a job I found through a recruiter. The job was OK, but the company faltered and had a mass layoff. My reputation is good among many of the lucky individuals who stayed, but they all have several "better" friends apiece who are out of work.

    My friends/acquaintances outside of work don't know a lot of people in the IT industry.

    Dallas or Houston are bigger cities with more companies and jobs overall. However, I just don't know a lot of people in those places.

    I've pretty much talked to everyone I know, and they don't have any job leads. So I go back to the usual on-line job postings, and get brushed off (companies that want someone with specialized skills on ALL operating systems + Cisco networking, not just a Windows 2000/NT admin).

    At this point, what makes the most sense (to me) is to bust my butt on certifications (I have the MCSE2000, Cisco CCNA, and Solaris 8 on my to-do list for the next 4 months or so) so I have a shot at being "hired blind."

    Any thoughts on how to get to know people when you're stuck on the sidelines without a job? Even the traditional work-arounds like short-term contract work are closed off. There are so many unemployed tech people in Austin that a contract firm had no problem getting 5 MCSE2000-certified senior NT admins for a FIVE-WEEK temporary project, with no provision for contract-to-hire. (A year or two ago, they wouldn't have even gotten college freshmen without part-time experience to apply for those jobs.)
     

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