Frustration Friday: Networking 101 Is With Us Forever


OK, you're tired of hearing about it.  Every book you read on job searching mentions networking.  Job counselors recommend networking.  *I* recommend networking as do other bloggers.

Guess what?  I like networking, but *I* am getting tired of hearing constantly how it's the key to getting an ideal job – because by now I know it.  A lot of people know it.

So why is it we constantly are bombarded with the "networking message" despite the fact we've gotten it?

It's because a lot of people still haven't gotten the message.  They're still not improving their networking skills.  I really wish those people WOULD improve their networking skills so I can stop hearing people talk about networking.  I like as much as anyone, but seriously people . . .

As for why, after decades of hearing about networking, people still haven't gotten the message, I have a theory.  I think it's because, for a short time, there was a golden age of internet job searches where networking seemed a lot less relevant.  Thanks to that time interrupting the Great Networking Message, we're still having Networking 101 pounded into our ears.

Here's my theory:

I imagine that in the pre-internet days of the job search, people would put out a job ad in newspapers and related publications, and otherwise see who knew whom.  It was easier to do so since those ads got limited exposure, and let's face it, you wanted to know who you were hiring.

Then came the internet.  The internet let you get those job postings out to everyone.  Best of all you could be sure they got to a select group of people – the technically and business-inclined.  YOu had the whole world at your fingertips – well the part of the world that was experienced enough to find job postings on the internet.

It must have seemed like paradise for recruiters and job seekers.

For the recruiters you just had to toss up a job posting on the internet and you'd get all sorts of resumes from all over the city, state, country, or world.  Finally all that annoying connection-checking and shmoozing could be replaced by the online marketplace.

For job seekers, you had access to companies and jobs you wouldn't otherwise.  You could make a form resume and a form email and do the job equivalent of grenade fishing, sending out tons of resumes to any potential job opening.  What you lacked in finesse or connections you made up for in sheer bulk.

If you didn't want to use the bulk method, you could still do highly targeted searches for jobs and companies.

This didn't last because, as I've talked about endlessly, the internet led to job searching being about giant soulless laundry list AND mass-mailing resumes.  Everyone lost, no one was happy, and . . .

 . . . well, we're back to networking.  Only now networking is useful to recruiters because its easier than assembling laundry lists and sorting through tons of resumes.  What worked once because of a lack of access works again in an age of too much access.

So get used to networking.  The age of the Glorious Online Job Paradise is gone.

Besides the faster people learn it, the less I have to keep hearing people repeat Basic Networking lessons until we're sick of it and . . . write ranty posts about them.

– Steven Savage