Artwork created by Kirk Anderson and courtesy of the Career Development office.
Only 20% of available jobs are posted to the public, which means that 80% of open positions are not being advertised. The key to tapping into this pool of hidden jobs is to utilize networking.
Those rather startling statistics mentioned above are from Career Development’s booklet on networking titled, “Networking: How to Get Your Foot in the Door”.
For an employer, the most convenient way to fill open positions is to reach out to someone in their network of contacts. Posting a job description and scheduling multiple interviews with various people takes time away from other operations that could be done in the business.
Because of this, it’s incredibly helpful to acquaint yourself with other people. You never know when a relationship could result in a great job opportunity.
Networking is when a person’s relationship with others provides them with new opportunities. Notice that the word “job” wasn’t used before “opportunities”. That’s because networking is not just applied to the career world, it can be used to connect you with a good mechanic, a hairdresser, or even a romantic partner.
The word “network” in this case refers to the web of people that an individual is connected with.
Everyone has a network, even if they don’t know it yet. Sit down and draw out a web of family and friends. Consider who these people may know and ask them if they can connect you.
Third-year student Lauren Cubberley shared a story about how she came to secure an internship by utilizing a connection with one of her mom’s friends.
Cubberley’s mom, Carrie Cubberley, served on the Board of Directors for Trinity Lutheran Seminary. When Capital was merging with Trinity Lutheran Seminary toward the end of 2017, human resource workers were needed to assist with the process. It was at this time that Cubberley’s mom met and befriended Molly Eyerman, founder of VIVO Growth Partners.
During Cubberley’s first year at Capital, she wanted to find a job, and she wasn’t picky about the specifics. This prompted her mom to connect her with Eyerman, and shortly after, she was able to secure an internship working in the field of human resources.
“Without my mom referring me to this person who she had met, I wouldn’t have had this really great job that I have now,” Cubberley said.
Cubberley has been working at VIVO for about two years now, and her job involves hiring employees, performing background checks and updating handbooks for other companies across the country, just to name a few.
Networking can reveal aspects of yourself that you’re not even aware of. Before working at VIVO Growth Partners, Cubberley had no aspirations to work in the field of HR (her first passion was youth ministry), but spending time as an intern awoke revelations about other things she enjoys doing.
Speaking of passions, a great way to grow your network is to be open and express your interests and aspirations with others.
Fourth-year student Matthew Longfellow is a big fan of NASCAR, and he eventually established his own club on campus that’s dedicated to it. One day, a fellow student connected Longfellow with a man from his church. Turns out, this very person is a cameraman for some of the biggest NASCAR races.
Longfellow sent a few emails and before long he secured a job working as a runner for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a weekend. Being a “runner” involves driving a golf cart around the racetrack to deliver supplies and relay messages between the crew members.
Following that, Longfellow received a call offering him another runner job, but this time, for a main NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Longfellow laughed about how he almost missed out on the opportunity.
“I was at the Mezz Fitness Center when I got the call, and it was from an unknown number, so I almost didn’t pick it up, cause I wasn’t expecting it,” Longfellow said. “So yeah, pick up the phone. That’s another piece of advice.”
A person can never know when a new opportunity falls into their lap, so always try to keep communication channels open.
One last tip for creating and growing a network is to attend workshops and conferences related to your field. Strike up conversations with the people you encounter and ask for their business card. On the back of the card, write their name, the date and the location that you met them.
Making acquaintances and forming connections is only half of it. It’s also important to maintain the relationships that are made.
Networking takes many forms, it’s not just related to the career world.