Networking vs. Applying to Advertised Jobs

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I have never, ever gotten a job through an online job ad.

I once had an interview for job I applied to online, but the eventual offer I received was half the salary that was advertised. Next.

I always see so many jobs advertised. I advertise the jobs I recruit for myself. I’m guilty of applying to jobs I see online.

When my friends & clients need jobs, I look to online ads.

But what’s it worth?

I think this really hit me when I got my first full time consulting job. I heard about the position from someone I met with who suggested I might enjoy recruiting instead of career & life coaching. Once I got the job, I was given access to the pool of candidates where I saw around 350 others had applied for the job I was given. I was so astounded that so many people took the time and put in effort to apply – yet I was chosen, and even dared to ask the hiring manager who selected me why they picked me (because hey, I’m blunt and do things like that. Do not try this at home *ahem* work kids).

So, why Sharon? Networking. I had been highly recommended from a key talented employee for the role. My résumé had experience related to the position, but not an exact match – but I matched my qualifications to those required for the position.

Blindly sending out resumes all over to interesting positions, especially if you’re looking to change careers or industry, generally will not get you far. You’ll more likely get burnt out than get a job (but I applied to 20 jobs this week! You say) and you’ll start to look and feel desperate.

So when do online job applications work?

Scenario 1: Let’s say you’re a business analyst. You’ve been one for 10 years in a few different settings, and have a degree (or 2) from a top school. You apply for a job as a business analyst. You have a pretty good chance of getting an interview call.

Scenario 2: Let’s say you’re a business analyst. You’ve been one for 10 years in a few different settings, and have a degree (or 2) from a top school. You apply for a job as a director of business analytics. You probably will not get a call.

Most hiring managers nowadays want someone who already has had the title or a very similar one for a different company. No companies are looking for people they have to train or teach management skills to. They’d probably promote someone internal to the job if they were open to training.

So what’s a candidate to do? Network & apply to online jobs.

Limiting your search only to online applications is just that – a limited search. Networking is great, but at some point in the job process your resume will be requested – the employer will want to see that you’ve walked the walk – the one you claimed you walked when you met them.

Networking alone can work for some people – but it generally takes 2 essential elements: people skills – and people.

Certain personalities connect well with strangers better than others – as well, it’s just as important how strong of a network that you meet who are interested in helping others.

Even winners won’t get far networking with a network full of losers 😉

So Happy 2011 Y’all – Now stop reading blogs and get yourself the career you deserve!

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-d2

The Lousy Networking Advice of Others – Top 5 Tips to Ignore

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So back to all the holiday parties and networking events you’ll be attending this season. While lots of people have their own do’s and don’ts – here are what I think are surefire ways to make networking events a waste of time by following the type of advice they offer in Yahoo! Home Page articles. More on considerate networking in my article Hi, Nice to Meet You. Me, Me Me, Me, MeMeMe… at: http://wp.me/pWfpN-2M

1. Ask for a Reference

At networking events, some suggest asking people you respect and have had positive working relationships with ‘for a reference ‘, hoping they’ll get the hint that you’re on the market. They imply that this is less awkward than asking for help with a job search.

I think this may backfire as that people aren’t generally so forthcoming with helping others, and will mistakenly assume you have opportunities already if you need references, as that no one checks them early in the hiring game.

2. Use Elevator Speeches in Conversations, A.K.A. “30 Seconds of Bragging” 

I think they’re great ideas in general, to present subtlety in conversations at interviews. But in social, networking environments? You sound like a used car salesman, but even sadder is that you’re selling yourself. I was recently at a networking event, having a lovely conversation with someone, and then he started ‘accomplishment dropping’. I don’t know why he was compelled to give me his pitch, I started spacing, looking for other people to talk to, before I had to hear more. Did you know I’ve improved recruiting for my for my company despite a five million dollar recruiting budget cut?

 3. Offer Unsolicited Advice

No one likes to hear what they could improve or are doing wrong in life. Calling people on their “stuff” doesn’t help you make friends faster. Some take it more gratefully than others, but generally if you’re trying to get someone to help you (i.e. find a job, buy your product, etc.) complimenting them is a better approach.

At a family event, someone complained greatly about their employment situation. I suggested they try reading my blog for advice, as that hey, it’s there for that reason. The person volunteered to me that they think my blog is too negative. That I ought to have a more positive tone, and be more encouraging.

While this person meant well, all I could think was, hey, I’m offering to help you, and why don’t you write a preachy blog? See how many readers you get?

But instead I was a good girl and kept my mouth shut, and I was humbly reminded that this is why I don’t write touchy-feely self help books and stick to my ever-so-snarky blog.

 4. Hand Your Card to Everyone Who Will Take It

It’s like the people who stand on street corners handing out menus or the fliers for the shady ‘suit sale’ a few blocks over.

No one wants to take it, and if they do, they’ll be looking for the nearest garbage to toss it into and be bothered. Few will say, hey, thanks for YOU! Unless it’s a promotional item with your info. If you’re handing them a pen with your info, they might just happily pocket it and look at it again later

5. Politely Blend In & Be Quiet

No one likes the loudest person in a room, but no one notices the quietest one either.

Wear a black suit, white shirt, black shoes, bland accessories, black and white business card, and you’re guaranteed to stand out as much as a penguin in a group on penguins…which one were you again? Especially if you’re on the quieter side, now’s the time to practice speaking about your assets and let your own style stand out. Be confident and assertive in starting conversations with those who you feel you may have a potential association with. 

Throw on a brightly colored accessory, men, that’s your tie, ladies, a professional yet spunky scarf, shirt under your suit, bag, or shoes – but definitely not all of these combined. You don’t want to scare people off or give them the wrong impression that you’re one step away from more colors than the muumuu’s in a Florida retirement community…unless you’re trying to land a gig in the arts or fashion district. They allow for more flamboyance.