Finding work is not quite what it used to be. The 21st century is witness to a profound transformation in the way Americans connect with potential employers and colleagues. Last month, software juggernaut Microsoft announced publicly its intentions to acquire the social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion U.S.D. Though this substantial corporate acquisition is just the latest in a string of Microsoft purchases, (with dozens of smaller tech firms joining the Microsoft fold since 2010) it reflects the changing means by which Americans find employment.
LinkedIn, founded in 2008, describes itself as “the world’s largest professional network” Providing a slew of networking tools “…to find connections to recommend job candidates, industry experts, and business partners.” The site can be most-easily described as a “Facebook” for one’s professional persona—granting active professionals a large platform to meet and vet other industry members. Although a young company, this vast network of connections, endorsements, and job postings supplements, or perhaps supplants, elements of the traditional handshake-and-business-card-exchange professional circles are accustomed to.
Both the simple existence and phenomenal success of LinkedIn shines light on an element of job searching often-neglected or avoided by seekers: the professional network. Many job seekers can count on a combination of colleagues, family members, friends, or acquaintances that can provide various degrees support. However, establishing a web of individuals who provide purely-professional support is often-daunting and not of immediate concern (or even consideration) to many job seekers.
Certain entry-level jobs exacerbate this tendency, as positions with little interpersonal interaction provide few opportunities for networking of any kind. When facing the practical concerns of rent, food, medical expenses and personal debt, as many Daily Work job seekers do, building professional relationships is quickly delegated to the back burner. These difficulties are substantially greater for members of immigrant communities, who are often not familiar with the cultural nuances and unwritten rules of professional networking. However, spending the time to generate and maintain professional connections can provide access to additional opportunities for job seekers.
Today, more than ever before, one’s professional network is becoming the primary means of securing new positions in professional circles. Though research methodology is deeply imprecise and varied, some estimates indicate that up to 80% of all available jobs are filled without being advertised. This suggests that a majority of jobs are filled either internally or through personal referrals and recommendations. A good referral from one’s professional network can be more critical for positions that are advertised because competition is fierce, with tens or hundreds of applicants competing for very limited openings.
Daily Work is proud to help seekers begin to build a robust, supportive professional network—an important element of finding and maintaining good, substantive work for them and their families. Our job club provides special opportunities for seekers to network with each other and visiting employers. Our own network of employers provides a springboard from which a seeker can identify and pursue appropriate opportunities. More importantly, our employer partners welcome our referrals which can ensure our seekers get noticed during the competitive application process.
Your professional network can be a resource for job seekers, too. If you know a business owner that doesn’t want the hassle of soliciting applicants, refer them to Daily Work. We can send them qualified applicants that meet their needs and at the same time, mitigate the effort required to hire new employees. Regardless of the form your professional network takes, your relationships and referrals can turn a rejection letter into a job offer for a committed job seeker!
By James Sullivan, Data Entry/Evaluation Volunteer