Does Networking Work in this Economy?

National unemployment is slightly down at 4.4% (from the Bureau of Labor statistics) and certain areas of the country are seeing an even rosier picture — in Boston mayor Marty Walsh states that the unemployment rate is 2.3%.

So we are trending in the right direction! A consequence of this positive activity is that many professionals are encouraged to seek better jobs and to develop better upside potential for themselves. Some estimates state that between 50% and 75% of the American working populace are currently in the job market.  Unfortunately for them, the vast majority of these job seekers are only utilizing recruiters, job boards and company web sites to search for opportunities. This works less than 15% of the time. Most job seekers find their next opportunity through networking.

MDL Partners estimates that between 80% and 90% of all new jobs in the US are obtained through personal contacts and introductions from influential people. Organizations would much rather hire someone who has been referred to them from a credible source, so it is incumbent upon job seekers to commit most of their job search effort to networking.

You should aim to meet individually with 3-5 new contacts per week, the objective being to develop a critical mass of good network connections. And follow-up is crucial! As things change in the marketplace, it’s vital to ensure that you are at “top of mind” with your connections. A “networking on steroids” mindset leads to the best chance of success in career transition.