Guest Post:  Michele Verley, M.Ed.; Career Counselor, Author & Founder of

December 11, 2017

The Job Hunt has changed big time!

Job search (and recruiting) have changed big time and if Idea2CareerCTE teachers aren't advising students to use the back door (aka networking) to get in they're losing out on tremendous opportunities. Which means you need to share these job seeking tips with students.

Networking Works

A recent LinkedIn survey shows that:

  • 80-85% of the people that companies want to hire AREN'T the people who are applying for their jobs via a job board.
  • 70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had some sort of connection (via their network).

Unfortunately, these stats aren't common knowledge and many people are relying on the age-old standard; writing that resume and sending it out in droves via online job boards. Definitely a must-do, but it's not where job seekers should be spending the majority (or much) of their time and energy because here’s the lowdown…

  • Only 3% of people who apply to jobs via an online job board are getting a phone call.

Lousy odds!

People Hire People

What's a better use of your time if you're looking for a job? Talking to people. "Companies" and "Human Resources" don't make the decisions about who to hire...people do. Building relationships, leveraging existing relationships, and making new connections is key.

In fact, networking doesn't have to be about meeting as many people as possible; it's really about building a professional or "acquaintance" relationship with a few (or more) well-connected people who can vouch for you, and who'll be willing to introduce you to a few other well-connected people.

Keep in mind that in addition to making connections, when you're networking you're also developing your professional and soft skills by communicating, being held accountable, and having an organized system of follow-through.

Furthermore, building a great professional relationship or acquaintance is an asset that doesn't go away. Even if that asset can't help you now, the people you meet are oftentimes someone that you can reach out to repeatedly through the years as you build and mold your career to where it's meant to be.

How to Network - The Basics

  • Start with the people you know. Talk to them and see if they know anyone in the industry you’re interested in. Ask them for an email introduction to the person(s) they know.
  • Meet new people. Talk to people. Have conversations with people wherever you go; even simple conversations that aren't related to work.
    • Ask if they have a business card and if not get their email address.
    • Add that info to a contact list along with a brief note about them.
    • Know what you just did? You built a relationship and you added to your network. Boom!
  • Go to events that are related to the industry you're interested in.
    • Maybe a career fair, a local association meeting, a trade show or anything else that you might come across.
    • Go to the event, walk around and talk with people.
    • Ask questions, learn from them and get their contact info.
      • Ask if you can email them sometime if you have any questions regarding what they do or their industry. People want to help people so they'll more than likely say YES!
  • Interested in a particular career or career pathway?
    • Find people who do that job or are in that industry.
    • Track down their email address (maybe even call their company's main number to ask for it).
      • Can't find their email? Look them up on LinkedIn and send them a message that way.
      • Send a brief email/note and ask if they would have time for a 10-minute chat to share information with you about their job and their experiences because you're interested in a similar career.
      • They don't answer your email right away? Email again in a week or two with a reminder because your email probably got buried in their inbox and they'll be glad you sent a reminder.

There you go, that's a start! There are an infinite number of resources online that can help you with ideas on how to network without it being scary, intimidating or something you want to avoid. Here's one but there are so many more so get online so start searching!