With the nation’s unemployment rate still near 10 percent – and economists pondering whether a “double dip” recession is in the offing — it’s not enough for those seeking work to post a resume on a job-search Web site or hire a headhunter.
From C-level executives to mid-level managers, the key to workplace success often isn’t what you know, but who you know.
That’s the experience reported by members of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group (GPSEG), a non-profit association of senior-level executives aimed at fostering business contacts, supporting personal and professional growth and generally sharing knowledge.
“Piles of resumes are on the desk of every human resources executive, so the law of averages is working against you,” said GPSEG Chairman and CEO Roy Hibberd. “The more people you know – and will vouch for you — the more likely you’re going to be remembered and seriously considered as a candidate.”
Consider: The Labor Department said private employers hired just 41,000 jobs in May. That’s down dramatically from 218,000 in April — and the lowest number recorded since January.
The government said 431,000 jobs were created last month in May, but most of them (411,000) came from the hiring of temporary census workers. And that overall number fell short of expectations – a poll of economists by Thomson Reuters had forecast the addition of 513,000 jobs.
Business executives understand the importance of networking – GPSEG has a membership of close to 1,200. The organization – whose motto is “Networking for Life” – surveyed its membership in late 2009 and recorded some telling findings, which demonstrate the need for effective and continuous networking for the entire workforce.
For example, half of all members said networking is important to helping them accomplish their goals.
In addition, the primary benefits of GPSEG included a willingness to share ideas and contacts (cited by 67 percent of those surveyed), a source of job leads (34 percent), a source of career advice (17 percent) and references for new positions (8 percent).
Hibberd, who also is the senior vice president, corporate secretary and general counsel at Dollar Financial Corp. in Berwyn, Pa., noted that while networking through a formal organization such as GPSEG offers the most concentrated opportunities, just about everyone has the capacity to network to some degree on their own.
“When you’re looking for work, your job is finding a job. Take advantage of every resource available. Joining a group such as GPSEG is extremely beneficial, since it brings together like-minded executives; job leads can come from anywhere. It could be your neighbor or your kid’s soccer coach” he said. “In some senses, it really is a small world, so get out there. Networking really is just another avenue for marketing yourself.”