You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, I’ll tell you! There is one contradiction to the law of non-contradiction. The phrase “that’s the way it’s always been done” is both true and false at the same time.
With the way technology has enveloped just about every aspect of our lives today – “that” is certainly not the way it’s always been done. In job searching, for example, prior to the Internet, the average person would complete an application in-person or send a résumé in response to newspaper ads via the United States Postal Service. Today, most communication is done via the Internet by submitting résumés to employer websites and sending correspondence by means of e-mail. As technology advances, lines of communication are becoming blurred. While it may not have been appropriate to forward your résumé via e-mail in 1999, it has become standard protocol today. In fact, while I was writing that sentence, technology advanced to the point where texting is probably now standard protocol! (Just kidding.)
On the other hand, the phrase “that’s the way it’s always been done” holds true for networking. Networking is a phrase we use to describe making personal and professional contacts in order to leverage connections within other organizations. People today feel that networking is not applicable thanks to the digital age, with applications completed and résumés uploaded online. People perceive a digital “wall,” if you will, between themselves and the employer with no chance to speak face-to-face. With networking, that is not necessarily true. The PROCESS of application may be done electronically, but you can still make face-to-face connections with others in effort to find employment.
Estimates show that between 60% and 80% of jobs today are found through networking. Jobs include employment at all levels – from upper management to line staff, in occupations from professional to administration to retail.
Think of networking as a blanket in that it has the potential to cover all aspects of your life. Networking can be done with any person: personal or professional. Networking can also be done on an informal basis such as speaking with your neighbor or on a more formal basis such as joining a professional network. Networking does not even require a formal presentation in every situation. It may simply be exchanging a business card or mentioning to your barber or hair dresser that you’re looking for work.
The following are some ideas on networking, both formally and informally:
1. Develop or make new contacts with friends, neighbors, former coworkers, college or school alumni, etc.
2. Join a social media network like LinkedIn or Facebook.
3. It’s okay to informally mention you are looking for work at a party.
4. Join a professional association to develop contacts.
5. Request an informational interview with someone you know. People like to talk about themselves.
6. Send out some networking email messages to people you know.
7. Make cold calls.
Yes! Networking is still alive and well in the digital age. Tune in each day this week for another blog with additional pointers on how to network successfully.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.