Job Hunting Advice

Networking

Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian economist who, in 1906, observed that twenty percent of the Italian people owned eighty percent of their country's accumulated wealth. Over time and through application in a variety of environments, this has come to be called Pareto's Principle, the 80-20 Rule, and the "Vital Few and Trivial Many Rule."

Your Next Job Could Be Closer Than You Think

How can we apply this to a job search? Simple: you probably already know, with one degree of separation, the person who will award you your next job- in fact, there's an 80% chance of it. All of the endless books written on resumes, cover letters, searching the classifieds, searching the Internet, etc. are worthless 80% of the time. People want to "know" whom they're hiring, and the next best thing to that is "knowing someone who knows someone." Business articles call this practice "networking," and the people they know "contacts." Real people call this "having a life" and contacts are "friends," "neighbors," and "family."

Get on the Phone

One of the first things you should do when you are looking for a new job is get on the phone or in person (NOT email) and chat with people who may know of opportunities. Work from the inside out- start with people you know well, brothers, sisters, in-laws, best friends. Then proceed to good friends, former coworkers, and even acquaintances that you perceive as having a positive "work" image of you.

It's Who Knows Who You Know

The job of your dreams may be just under your nose. Within your circle of close contacts, each probably has 10-50 people they know well enough to recommend you for an open position. If you know 20 people, that's potentially 1000 people open to you for a "shoe-in" at interview time. In a few rare cases, no formal interview will ever be required, just a casual chat and the knowledge that you are friends with an insider.

Note to HR: Real People Work Here

Despite the efforts of HR job departments to sanitize the world of work, companies are still staffed by people who want something more than a simple economic relationship. Most people spend about 25% of their life at work; they want to work with people they're comfortable with, and a key component of comfort is knowing that you are already a part of their extended non-work connections with other human beings.

It's Not Really the Best, But...

Though this method is not the most effective on a theoretical basis, we recommend it as your first action because of its other positive features- fast results, circumvention of the traditional employment process now dictated ineffectively by corporate HR departments, and a chance to end the distasteful experience of unemployment with as little hassle and damage to your self-image as possible.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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