The idea for this article comes from a recent question from a job seeker who asked, “Why is it easier to cold call strangers to find a job than it is to network with people I already have met? I have no fear when I cold call, yet I feel very nervous and uncomfortable when networking”.
Networking is the single best way to find a job. By most reports, at least 70% of all jobs today are found by networking. Yet, many job hunters have an easier time calling complete strangers than calling a friend, acquaintance, former co-worker, or colleague for help. Why is that? Can you find a job just as easily without bothering people you know?
When asking people for help, there are 4 basic responses you can get:
- “I can help you and I’m willing to help”
- “I can help you but I’m not willing to help”
- “I can’t help you but would if I could”
- “I can’t help and wouldn’t even if I could”
So why is it easier to call strangers than acquaintances? Look at numbers 2 and 4 above again. Those two responses represent rejection. It is much easier being rejected by strangers than by friends, family, or other acquaintances. When people you know reject you, you feel pain and hurt. We all do. Its one of our biggest fears as humans.
So why even call on people we know when looking for a job? Simple: People you know are least likely to reject you. In fact, 99% of people you know will help you in your job search if they can! This is the true magic of networking.
Visualize the following scenario: I’m your boss and I ask you to call 100 people to try to sell them a widget. You’ll make 50% commission on every sale you make. I have 2 lists. The first list contains 100 names randomly picked out of the phone book. The second list contains names of 100 people who have done business with us before and I guarantee you that 99% of them will buy a widget from you if they have the money. I then ask you to make 100 phone calls from one of the lists and you get to pick the list you’ll use. Which list would you pick? Why?
The fact is, most people who know you–even if by name only–will try to help you more than they would try to help a total stranger. 99% of people you know will try to help you find a job if they can, yet the 1% fear of being rejected holds many people back. You should be eager to network! You are much more likely to be helped through networking and you’ll find a job much quicker.
Now get out there and network!