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March 21, 2011


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A friend of mine got an interview as a result of asking a telemarketer if there were any openings at the bank the telemarketer was calling for. She didn't get the job, but after that I agree that the concept of network should be expanded.

There is a book on this, Superconnect: Harnessing the Power of Networks and the Strength of Weak Links.

The concept of weak (and strong) links originated in a Harvard doctoral student's paper called The Strength of Weak Ties.

One anecdote in Superconnect shows concisely the power of networking through weak links.

Elon and Kimbal Musk, two brothers who co-founded PayPal, were struggling to raise capital for an earlier venture. About to give up, their landlady sensed something was wrong and inquired.

Short version: the venture was fully funded from two highly unlikely sources.

The book then gives the takeaway quote from Kimbal Musk:

'Some of the people you think will not be able to help you in any way know people who can help you in ways you cannot imagine.'

Networking is the only way to find a job. I've spent the past two months contacting people I know, getting names from them and making connections with those complete strangers. It's hard work, but it has paid off. I am one of three finalists for a great position that received more than 100 applications. If I had simply submitted my resume and cover letter online, I would have never been considered because I'm new to the profession. Also, two other companies, both of which I would love to work for, have also given me a heads up on jobs they are about to post -- all because of the connections I have made.

Put yourself out there and put a face with the resume. Employers will notice.

When my husband was job hunting, he actually posted a prayer request on our church prayer list (which is visible to everyone as they come in the narthex). He welcomed the prayers, and also commented "I want everyone to know I'm looking". While it didn't lead directly to a job, it expanded his overall network and let him work with a few people who could help him brush up and tighten his resume.

He also tapped his networks of people from prior jobs, classes, Linked in, softball, kids activities .... We had a lot of people keeping their eyes open for a good fit, and he got some temporary work while looking for a full-time position. Friends of friends (of friends, etc.) are a great resource.

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