At first this seems like a huge problem for a typical job seeker. Whatever you see on a job site is a very limited fraction of the total pie.
And it’s probably a low-quality fraction at that, filled with outdated listings and lower-paying positions.
But there’s another take on this: if the vast majority of jobs are filled not with ads, but through networking and personal connections, it actually opens a huge opportunity for the job seeker.
Even someone who is not the best qualified on paper can potentially find opportunities if they can meet, connect and build relationships with the right people.
Technical or “hard” skills can be difficult, time-consuming or very expensive to build. If you don’t have an MBA, there’s only one way to get one: pay the exorbitant cost in money and time to get it.
On the other hand, people skills and networking skills are a lot easier to improve. Anybody can work on their conversation skills, body language, social presence, emotional intelligence and other “soft” skills relatively easily.
If you can get yourself into situations where you can meet and talk to people, you can practice these skills.
Even if you have a relatively low IQ, no natural talent for math, or limited educational qualifications, you can still build profitable relationships.
Relationships and human connections are available for everyone, regardless of analytical ability, vocabulary, grammatical skills, or any other “harder” skill.
In that sense, networking is very democratic.
Should you work on your technical skills? Of course. No matter how good of a schmoozer you are, if you can’t type or use Excel you aren’t going anywhere.
Continuous education and skill training is critical for everyone in today’s economy.
But networking is an extremely powerful strategy that millions of job seekers fail to use every day.
They think that blasting out their resume to 100s of job postings will accomplish anything. It won’t.
They are wasting time and energy that should be used to meet new people, build relationships with key decision-makers, and strengthen and renew those relationships over time.
That’s the most powerful strategy and it’s extremely cheap or free in most cases.
Companies hire people all the time who don’t match every single technical requirement, but have a great relationship with the boss’s brother, or who went to school with the hiring manager’s daughter, or who have known the vice president since college.
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