“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is a phrase I hear often. It is a cry of despair by people who have been in the job search for much longer than they want. Their assumption is, “Since nobody has offered me a job, I must not know the right people.” On closer look, nothing could be further from the truth.
For many of us, it’s more comfortable to quietly spend hours and days applying for jobs than to enlist others’ help to make a connection. Applying for jobs can sometimes be a bit like playing the lottery. While it may be uncomfortable for many of us to let our friends, family, and acquaintances know we are looking for work, it just takes one person you know to give you a lead that makes all the difference – introducing you to your future employer or providing some vital information to assist in your job search.
To illustrate, let’s assume I’m the General Manager or Owner of a company and one of my best employees has given their two week notice. The first thought in my mind is not, “What should my employment ad on monster.com say?” I don’t want to spend unbudgeted money on advertising. I certainly don’t want to wade through dozens of resumes in hopes that a few will yield prospective employees. And, I dread offering the job to the wrong person. No. Most hiring managers ask, “Who do I know that can do this job?” Or, “Who do I know that will know someone that has the skills and qualifications.” These questions are the key to finding your next job.
Send out your resumes and fill out those applications too. But, spend more time getting known. Tell everybody you know what you are looking for and what you have to offer your next employer. The more your job search strategies focus your energy on getting KNOWN as a resource, the faster you’ll find the job you’re looking for. So, what really matters in your job search is, “It’s not what you know, it’s who knows you.”