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Who needs networking for getting a job ?

Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
It looks like networking can help a lot in getting an IT/CS/Tech job. But, I feel that it is needed only if you are not exceptionally intelligent and/or skilled and/or experienced. and hey ! i am not using those words as a euphemism and I am not trying to disparage anyone.
If I am a nerd with a high IQ, I can solve complex math problems easily, know the CS fundamentals well, if i have made some nice code, then why would I need networking ? Hell, I would not even need a linkedin profile. Companies like Google, Apple, Oracle etc would
literally step over each other to recruit me. I don't think I have to make a whole bunch of acquaintances just to find that one, not-so-well-advertised, might-have-gone-unnoticed job.

So is networking (for job hunts) only for the "rest of us", ie people like me ?

I admit I am not even close to the nerd I described above. I really mean it.


Java Newbie with 72% in OCJP/SCJP - Super Confused Jobless Programmer.
I am a "newbie" too. Please verify my answers before you accept them.
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2280
    
  28

During a job search, anything that lands your resume in the hands of the hiring manager helps. That could be impressive list of responsibilities, or a huge skill set, or academic qualifications, or you know someone who knows the hiring manager. Everything helps.
Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4168
    
  21

Even for the know-it-all perfectly experienced, capable, immaculate candidate - networking helps. After all, the people looking to hire this fella would need to know about him - and how do they learn? It aint from a resume or curriculum vitae - those are too easy to fake or get burried in a bundle. The know of this hypothetical perfect candidate because someone they trust tells the hiring manager about them. Your goal is to be the guy the trusted adviser talks about to the right people (until you get a job, then your job is to prove that trusted adviser right so he is willing to vouch for you again and people will still trust him.)


Steve
Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2841
    
  11

I get most of my jobs as long term contracts through a woman I've known for many years who runs a "supplemental staffing" business. She's the one with the networking skills, definitely not me. However, a few years ago, she couldn't find me anything in a reasonable time frame so I had a couple of interviews for jobs I found on Craig's List. (Yes, really.) I didn't know anyone at either place, but the interviews were both extremely technical, and I got offers from both. My resume was already strong by then though. I guess the summary is networking is very important, and if you don't have a proven track record, then it's vitally important.
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11405
    
  81

Well let's assume that our mythical candidate is exceptionally intelligent and skilled and experienced. Furthermore, let's assume they have a high IQ, can solve complex math problems easily, and know the CS fundamentals well. What happens then?

How do companies find this person?

You suggested that they may not need a Linked-In profile (which is a way of networking), so let's rule that out.

Let's rule out another form of networking - selling yourself to recruiters (not that I have gotten a job from a recruitment agency ever).

What we are left with is that this person would be applying directly to companies. Cool.

Nowhere in the skill list above is any indication that this technology wizard has any human skills. Do they know how to write a good cover letter and/or resume?

  1. If they send in their application, it would typically go past at least one non-technical recruiter first. Miss a keyword, or write badly, and they discard it.

  2. They then might go past a technical recruiter, who might also discard it if their favorite buzz words are not all present.

  3. Then it goes to someone who is hopefully technical to decide whether or not to either phone screen and/or bring on site for an interview. Same rules apply - say anything that strikes the reader as being incorrect on the resume, and the resume is discarded. Even if it is 100% correct.

    The person reading the resume is human - they may never have considered the use case indicated by the candidate, so they may decide that it doesn't make sense (a good interviewer will try to work past their own prejudices). Similarly one or two words can change the interviewer's perception of the work done by the candidate:

    • were they doing front-end, back-end, or middleware?

    • Were they technical or were they managerial?

    • Were they programming or testing?

    One simple word can give the reader the impression that the candidate was working in an area other than what they were looking for!


Now consider the candidate who has networked with my friend Bob at work. Bob passes the candidate's resume directly to the people involved in step 3. Before anyone has even glanced at the resume the candidate has already bypassed two potential failures! Now the technical person is looking at it, and may still have the same doubts as to the suitability of the candidate. But the general assumption is that if I trust Bob, then I am willing to give someone he trusts the benefit of the doubt - let's at least do an initial interview!

Remember I started with the assumption that this was a coding guru. Networking made the process so much easier for that person.

I would suggest you look at who is on Linked-In at some point. I am sure you will find people who need no introduction are on there.


The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Andrew Monkhouse wrote:
Remember I started with the assumption that this was a coding guru. Networking made the process so much easier for that person.


The essence, i guess.

Andrew Monkhouse wrote:Well let's assume that our .... introduction are on there.


Thank you very much for the detailed response. Helps if things are dumbed down for me. ;)
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
@PatFarell - I did not know about vint cerf, thanks for telling me about him. But, one does not have to know about "Etienne Lenoir" to have the right to drive a car

I wish I could ask vint cerf and other-mysterious-guy how much they needed networking in each "stage" of their career. If they said they needed it when they became "big" and successful, then I will happily say that I am naive/fool.

and.....if you don't mind, can you answer the questions which I asked you in my reply above.

Thanks
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Andy Jack wrote: But, one does not have to know about "Etienne Lenoir" to have the right to drive a car


I actually don't think that anyone has a "right" to drive a car. Its a privilege and carries a lot of responsibility. I wish it was far harder to get a license to drive and easier to lose the privilege.

The parallel argument would be that you do need to know who Etienne Lenoir was before you design a car's engine.

While a lot of job interviews focus on the skills needed for this particular assignment, I think it would be a good question to ask who Alan Turing, John Von Neumann and Brian Kernighan were and why they are important.

Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
@Pat Farell - Thanks for all your valuable points. Indeed, I need to change the way I think. Time for some introspection then.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Ulf Dittmer wrote:
Pat Farrell wrote:Google called up Vint Cerf and asked him to work for them.

So he was so good that they'd heard of him. What's that got to do with networking? Just means that he is not part of the "rest of us" Andy asked about.


Its all about networking. The people at Google heard through the grapevine that his job with a giant telecom company was not perfect. The network led to people at Google inventing a job for him. There as no position of Internet Evangelist before they hired Mr Cerf. His network is bigger and better than yours or mine, but he still got his job by networking.
chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1625
    
  13

Andy Jack wrote:It looks like networking can help a lot in getting an IT/CS/Tech job. But, I feel that it is needed only if you are not exceptionally intelligent and/or skilled and/or experienced. and hey ! i am not using those words as a euphemism and I am not trying to disparage anyone. If I am a nerd with a high IQ, I can solve complex math problems easily, know the CS fundamentals well, if i have made some nice code, then why would I need networking ? Hell, I would not even need a linkedin profile. Companies like Google, Apple, Oracle etc would literally step over each other to recruit me.

I find it's best to assume that there is always somebody out there who's more "intelligent and/or skilled and/or experienced" than me, and I'm not a big name CS guru, so it's unlikely Oracle, Apple or Google have ever heard of me (nor would they have any reason to be interested in my skills anyway). But most IT jobs are with regular companies who need regular skilled IT people, so I need to know about my own potential employment market, rather than delude myself I'd ever get a job at Google through sheer force of geekiness. I think the usefulness of networking may vary depending on your local employment market - some places may be downright corrupt in the degree of nepotism involved in finding work, while others may try to prohibit such use of informal contacts - but in reality there will always be an element of "who you know, not what you know".

So "networking" in your employment market might be a calculated move such as putting a LinkedIn profile online (although I'm sceptical about how useful this really is), contacting recruiters regularly, going to local user groups etc to build up your network of professional acquaintances, or it might simply be something like keeping in touch with former colleagues and employers because you enjoyed working with them and might want to do so again. I've had several jobs via such contacts over the years, either because they remembered me and contacted me specifically to offer me work, or because they happened to be in a company I was applying to and put in a good word for me. I was interviewed just yesterday by a former colleague for a short-term contract (of course it will be rather embarrassing if they turn me down for the job, but just getting an interview is hard enough in the current market!). And it's always handy to have people who know your work and can provide professional references when you need them.

So the question is not why would you network to get a job, but why wouldn't you?


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Andy Jack wrote:It looks like networking can help a lot in getting an IT/CS/Tech job. But, I feel that it is needed only if you are not exceptionally intelligent and/or skilled and/or experienced. and hey ! i am not using those words as a euphemism and I am not trying to disparage anyone.
If I am a nerd with a high IQ, I can solve complex math problems easily, know the CS fundamentals well, if i have made some nice code, then why would I need networking ? Hell, I would not even need a linkedin profile. Companies like Google, Apple, Oracle etc would
literally step over each other to recruit me. I don't think I have to make a whole bunch of acquaintances just to find that one, not-so-well-advertised, might-have-gone-unnoticed job.

So is networking (for job hunts) only for the "rest of us", ie people like me ?

I admit I am not even close to the nerd I described above. I really mean it.


Can you please re-write this removing the euphemisms and double negatives. It would make it a lot easier to understand what you are really asking. Not only is the wording confusing to me on the whole, I can't understand even your last line.

Even without the re-write, the answer to what I think your real question is: nearly everyone, at every level needs networking. Every job that I've ever had in 40+ years
was obtained through networking family, friends and coworkers.

When I was graduating from undergraduate college, they had a placement office that would organise interviews with companies that wanted to hire fresh grads. That was the only place where I've regularly seen people get hired without a network.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18553
    
  40

Pat Farrell wrote:
Even without the re-write, the answer to what I think your real question is: nearly everyone, at every level needs networking. Every job that I've ever had in 40+ years
was obtained through networking family, friends and coworkers.

When I was graduating from undergraduate college, they had a placement office that would organise interviews with companies that wanted to hire fresh grads. That was the only place where I've regularly seen people get hired without a network.


I will add that the professional network is incredibly important -- but admittedly, the value needs time to grow. Fresh out of college, the network are your college buddies, who can recommend you based on how much beer you can hold... Twenty years later, those beer drinking buddies are now VPs, Directors, CxOs, etc. Kinda scary if you think about it ...

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
chris webster wrote:
So "networking" in your employment market might be a calculated move such as putting a LinkedIn profile online (although I'm sceptical about how useful this really is)


I have not applied for jobs via linked in yet, but it seems useful to me. I'll wait and watch. But, others anecdotes suggest it is very useful. Guess what ! I met a person yesterday. She has never updated her linkedin profile since it was created 3-4 years ago.
But, her first intern (at a big company) was through networking, then she applied to a competitor via its website and got in. What a coincidence that I met her after posting this !

Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Andy Jack wrote:I have not applied for jobs via linked in yet,


Two minor things. First, its LinkedIn.com, usually referred to as LinkedIn.

Second, its not like Dice or Monster or craigslist, where you can apply for jobs. Sure, there are sometimes postings about job openings, but its not about direct job placement. LinkedIn is all about networking.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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