Searching high and low for contact info can be exhausting, yet this is what it takes to ensure networking is successful. Thanks to technology and companies like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google it has become increasingly easier to prepare for a job search. While the ultimate goal is usually a new career, the humble beginnings of job searching should always begin with what has become known as networking.
Networking is the opportunity to connect with other professionals in your same targeted industry with the hopes of opening doors that you want or need to walk through in order to secure a new position. With online databases for jobs popping up frequently it is easy to get disheartened and wonder if anyone even reads the resumes that have been submitted on websites like Monster.com.
Networking removes that guess work. Once a connection is made, it puts you in a unique position to reach out during a job search. Often network contacts will offer their employee id number in order to speed up the application process for their new connections. Another option is to have your resume submitted directly by a connection rather than submitting it silently into a stack of hundreds and sometimes thousands of resumes.
Take Google for example. As a company that is constantly rated in the top 100 places to work, it is a target for thousands of applicants from all over the world. In fact some sources cite that Google receives over 1000 resumes a day. That allots to 365,000 resumes a year. For a company with approximately 24,000 employees at any given time, this number is astronomical. Enter in networking. Networking truly is the key to gaining an in to these seemingly unreachable company such as Google.
So what exactly happens when one applies online and gives the name of company reference or a current employee’s id number? Companies use HRIS, Human Resource Information Software, to keep track of employee’s comings and goings. This includes a software program known as an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS. Every company uses a different ATS like Ceridian, Peoplesoft, or Taleo. Once a candidate applies and has suggested in their application that they were referred by a current employee their application is flagged in the ATS. For example in the Ceridian system the dot next to the candidates name in the database list changes color. This allows for any recruiter to quickly identify who was referred by a current employee. Almost always these candidates are contacted first. Once one has the interview there are no guarantees to job fruition because of a reference. However, all things being equal, there truly is a leg up for those who can leverage their new contacts built through networking.
While the importance is seemingly irrefutable the application of networking can often be overwhelming, especially for students. The key is confidence. As a student it is crucial to remember that professionals, regardless of age, position, or ego have at one point been a student. Most people remember what is like early in their career searching for jobs and beginning to network and how overwhelming it can feel. This leads to most professionals, barring time restraints, willing to meet, talk, or at least email to help students build their network and learn more about industries and job functions. If the student has the confidence to take the first step and ask for career development advice it is often responded to by a veteran in the targeted industry offering a helping hand.
Stay confident, and stay consistent. As a wise soul once said, “Put your future in good hands—your own.” -Unknown