Networking – Yes

This writer recently attended a Toastmasters meeting in which the topic of job hunting was discussed. Sending out resumes and expecting a response is not going to land one a job. The cliche may be overstated, but nevertheless true in many cases: its not what you know, but who you know. One of the speakers, who works in recruiting, stated that one should used the internet to find the jobs and use the networks to get the jobs. 

While the business school, that this writer graduated from, taught technical skills, such as accounting and finance, the networking skills were not formally taught. Yes there were professional organizations that one could join, but no formal classes about 30 years ago. 

Since the earliest that one can work in the United States, is generally around high school, that should be the right time for one to learn networking skills. If anything such skills could at least land one a par time job or a summer job. 

Employers would like to know they are getting a reliable, quality employee. A resume or job application does indicate whether or not the potential employee is a good fit with the company. Paper can only do so much. A recommendation from an employee may give the company some reassurance. On the other hand a company may think that the two people may have made an arrangement of mutually recommending each other in a quid pro quo arrangement. In other words: “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your.” However someone who recommends too freely can end up losing credibility, so that risk could be an incentive to keep people from making bad recommendations. 

Networking tends to be more of a relational, qualitative skill than a quantitative skill. Yash Gupta, in an interview with the Nikkei Weekly, mentioned that business school have taught the science of management but not the art of management. The emphasis on the science and not the art of a subject is not just a failing in teaching the subject of management, but also in other subjects as well. We are human beings not machines. 

Networking does not necessarily mean having a long term friendship. Networking could also include finding the right person who can get one hired. Both the Toastmasters meeting and Richard Nelson Bolles book What Color is Your parachute recommended by passing Human Resources and look for the employer looking for a certain type of worker. 

An additional advantage of networking is that certain people within your network can enhance your work. Talking to different people and getting ideas from them could help in product development. In other words a network can provide feedback. 

One normally cannot do everything by one’s self. One has to rely on others. Many if not most people need jobs or employment. While teaching content material such as math is important, making connections may be even more relevant