The art of networking

Ana Herranz. Director. Alumni Careers Services. IE Business school

7 March 2014

Job websites have turned into bottomless pits where everyone who is looking for a job pitches in without stopping to think that 85% of work opportunities are hidden, and the only way to get to them is through contacts.

Just like many other disciplines, the area of recruitment is undergoing the catharsis of change, although I would go so far as to say that we are actually doing it in reverse. While technology has revolutionized many areas to the extent that many traditional businesses have disappeared, in the case of recruitment it is bringing about a regression.

What do I mean exactly?   Well, that today, if a person looking for new work opportunities only uses technology, namely job websites, they have very little chance of success. This is due largely to one reason, which is that it is so easy to apply for a job that the jobseeker is not discerning, applying for almost anything, even though their profile does not really fit the job description. This, in turn, means that each job offer receives an enormous number of applications, which means that the recruiter is faced with the horrendous task of trying to sort through far too many candidates. The result is that these websites turn into some kind of black hole for candidates, where they never know what happened to their applications, as recruiters find themselves having to wade through all the CVs, leading them to decide that it is far easier to ask around among work colleagues to see if they can recommend someone rather than placing an advertisement.

Conclusion: if you want to find a new job, you have to do more than look at websites. Let’s take a look at some of the alternatives.

  • Define your value proposal by means of a self-analysis process through which you can determine the strengths you have to offer.
  • Establish a clear objective. It is strange, but a large percentage of people do not have a clearly defined objective.
  • Validate that objective via informative interviews with people who work in the position you want and who carry out that particular function. This step is essential, especially if you want to switch careers.
  • Once you have analyzed yourself and you have validated your objective from an external perspective, then you need to draw up a marketing plan. This consists of preparing your CV by adapting it as closely as possible to your established objective. Create a profile on Linkedin that will flag you for the job you want. Prepare the elevator pitch you are going to use as the executive summary of your CV or in networking events.
  • Establish a strategy to identify and build a contact network in line with your objective. Today, online tools like LinkedIn are a great help, given that they permit you to have a map of your contacts and of our contacts’ contacts, in such a way that you can ask them to introduce you to people you want to reach. You can also join groups in the area of your interest, where you can create content, share information, and generate contact opportunities with other members of the group. You can look for alumni from your high school, university, or business school and forge a relation.  You have to play your part to ensure that the online contact extends offline, in other words that it becomes a personal contact. In every case you have to think what you have to offer the other person in order to build a lasting relationship.

The art of networking is a fundamental skill in today’s world, in which 85% of opportunities are hidden, which means they are not published an any website and the only way to get to know about them is through people. Going back to the beginning of the article, this explains why the open market has collapsed, given that 99% of candidates are applying for 15% of available opportunities.  Get off the beaten path!


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María de Molina, 11. 28006 Madrid

Tel. +34 915 689 600