80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking

According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. This percentage of networkers represents smart jobseekers who understand that looking for and finding work takes...work.

They understand that personal networking coupled with online networking will yield better results than spending the majority of their time on Monster.com, Indeed.com, Dice.com, CareerBuilder.com, and other job boards.

Smart jobseekers attend networking events consisting of jobseekers, business owners, professional associations, meet-ups, etc. However, networking events are not smart jobseekers' only, or even major, source of networking. They also utilize their rich network of former colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and others; or start the building process…and keep it going once they’ve landed a job.

Many experts will tell you that companies want to hire from within first; only when there are no appropriate internal candidates will they rely on referrals from employees (who get a bonus for a successful  hire) and people who will approach them through informational meetings. The latter category of jobseekers (you) have the benefit of getting known before the job is "officially posted."

"...employees who come to the company 'known by us' in some way are seen to be better hires and thought to get up to speed more quickly and stay with the company longer," Martin Yate, Knock em Dead series, writesAnd this includes you. This is where relentless networking comes in, whether you contact someone at a company so they can get your résumé to a hiring manager, or you contact a hiring manager in your desired department to set up a meeting.

Pam Lassiter, The New Job Security, understands that networking can be daunting, particularly for Introvert types, but encourages jobseekers to do it, "Using your networking wisely is a muscle you can exercise and develop if you haven't already. Outplacement and alumni career services surveys report that 65 to 85 percent of jobseekers find their jobs through networking...."

Some jobseekers misunderstand the purpose of networking. They think it's all about them. They constantly ask without giving, which is the quickest way to drive away potential allies. People who have the true networking mindset realize that they should first help others, before thinking of themselves.

The bottom line is that helping other jobseekers will help you. Paying it forward increases your odds of landing a job. And, there are plenty of great networkers who will help you, as they realize they'll eventually get help from others. They are patient and determined.

Here's what one of my customers, who recently got a job, told me about proper networking: "Have a conversation with people [as opposed to] giving them a 30 second commercial.  It's not about 'I need a job.'  Have a really good conversations with a few people at an event and listen to what their needs are. Think of how you can really connect with them and support them vs. just getting a business card."

Networking only makes sense, so I’m perplexed as to why some jobseekers don’t embrace it. I know that personal networking means going outside one's comfort zone, particularly if you’re an Introvert (as an Introvert, I know the feeling). Developing the attitude that “I just have to do it” will help you over the hump

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Comment by Karen Siwak on April 1, 2012 at 10:39pm

Now I want to know who Jerry was slamming.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 2, 2012 at 5:42am

You're relentless, Karen. Are you as relentless when trying to find talent for your customers? 

Comment by Karen Siwak on April 2, 2012 at 9:17am

If I was a recruiter, I probably would be, but as a career management coach I am relentless in helping my clients understand how recruiters think and work. So... who was Jerry slamming?

Comment by Kyle Schafroth on April 2, 2012 at 10:29am

Regardless of the stats attached to the 'success rate' I just want to see more young professionals learn to network properly. I still have acquaintances (using that term is generous) from college that are convinced that surviving a lecture together or running into one another at a local watering hole one time makes us networked professionals and should help land them a job.

Either way, professionals young and experienced need to figure it out if they want it to work. Being realistic I don't care what the percentage is and neither should you (ambiguous) or Joe Schmoe. 80% or 30% doesn't mean squat if you're the guy without a job that isn't having success with networking, job boards or whatever else. I learned this in high school and it's still true - statistics are great for proving or disproving anyone's argument since they can be calculated three ways and interpreted six others.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 2, 2012 at 11:06am

Sorry, Karen. Great profession. Let's keep the discussion on the page on which it was started: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/i-get-so-frustrated-w...


Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 2, 2012 at 11:11am


I haven't heard or seen great stats on jobseekers using job boards. I have witnessed my customers getting jobs through networking--however they describe it. Such as, "I got a job at company ABC. It wasn't through networking; it was knowing someone at the company." Well, that's networking. We all engage in networking in all aspects of our lives. Maybe networking takes too much credit for jobs being obtained, but....

Comment by Ivan Stojanovic on April 2, 2012 at 11:38am

@ Bill: "We're all grown ups here." - yes but Jerry has an image of a child... :)

Comment by Kyle Schafroth on April 2, 2012 at 11:47am

Bob -

Not entirely sure I catch what your comment was getting at but my point(s) were:

1 - I agree networking is powerful and can be successful (heck, it's how I got my first internship in college) but that doesn't change the fact that many professionals don't differentiate or know the difference between professional networking and social connections. It can disfigure the numbers and turns the friend of a friend you bought a beer for at the bar into your referral that you know nothing about.

2 - Since the story is usually about the benefits and success of networking it creates this illusion for the disgruntled or soon to be frustrated job seeker that if he or she attends some networking events that a job offer is around the corner. If it doesn't work for him or her then it's a wash and that is what matters. The macro view is great but the important perspective is at the micro level.

Again, Statistics 101:

  • Correlation is not causation: Just because someone got the job and happened to network with someone within the company doesn't mean that it was the cause. If a company is hiring based on connections and not qualifications then hold onto your horses; I see some trouble on the horizon.
  • Statistical Generalization: We suppose that what is true of a sample can be generalized out to and applied to the entire population. This is valid only to the extent that one is accurately representative of the other. This cannot hold true given the variance in: industries, geographic region, and heck - even companies within a given area. Seeing a fat 80%

While I appreciate the points you're making in the article I merely want to point out that it's not all gravy.

Comment by Darryl Moore on April 3, 2012 at 11:32am

Bob, Sandra, Karen, Kyle – excellent thoughts and builds. It was a good read and disappointing that mass media statistics can be misleading on concepts as critical as networking.  Sadly, those who may have seen that story, in an economy with many who are desperate to work, will believe that they need to start building connections to improve their chances, without understanding the type of connections required.  Bob you did networking a great service by speaking to the need to go beyond personal need for oneself…problem is that networking takes time and authenticity…and desperation rarely allows for such nurtured growth – creating empty connections that offer little value. 

Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 3, 2012 at 12:00pm


I agree that we can't generalize about the overall effectiveness of networking based on a sample that covers a certain area or time period. A different camp holds that networking is responsible for only 23% of jobs obtained. Somewhere in between the two numbers is probably more accurate, but where?

I disagree with your first assertion that getting a job through a connection is not causation and that social networking or plain dumb luck is not networking. Because without the two, someone might not have gotten the job. I was looking for the job I hold now 7 years ago and called someone in the organization to see if she knew of any openings. I called at the right time, because the job had been advertised and pulled form the papers (that long ago). Had I not called at that time, I wouldn't have known about the opportunity. I didn't attend networking events to land this job; it was dumb luck.

I agree with your second point--jobseekers think they need to go to organized events to network, and they become disgruntled when it doesn't happen. Networking is a natural process that works best when people are relaxed and, as Denise says, it's a give and take process.


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