They say the key to finding a job is networking. Or as the adage goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This makes the idealist in me cringe a bit. I’d like jobs to be won strictly on talent, not favoritism. Why not match two resumes up against each other and take the one that’s most qualified? As we all know it just doesn’t work that way. Hiring managers give much preference to those that are pulled from the employees’ network of contacts. I once met someone who was lamenting that he couldn’t find a job because he didn’t have any contacts. The thought never crossed his mind that he might apply through a regular job board.
The concept behind networking is that employees are likely to promote their most qualified contacts. They’ll also most likely recommend those that will fit in with the corporate atmosphere. To be sure liking your coworkers is important. Regardless of how you feel about it, networking is an important part of finding a job.
How to network has always been the question. One friend I know learned that their early morning basketball buddy was a bigwig for 24 hour fitness. He soon found himself as a manager for a gym. The guy gets paid to workout now! Others attend trade conferences and pass out business cards. In the online world LinkedIn has long been a staple social network for professionals. It has its pros and cons, but doesn’t offer any out of the ordinary networking options. Now there’s a new way to network online for the career minded. Brazen Careerist is a social network set up for the sole purpose professional networking.
Brazen Careerist offers multiple ways to connect with other professionals. Most interesting is their network roulette tool. It works as the name implies in that you provide some introductory information and enter a chat room with a random professional contact. You’re given 3 minutes to chat during which time you can decide whether to connect with that person or not. It makes for a great way to start interacting with others online. For the less adventurous there are planned events that you can join. These are scheduled at set times, typically in the evening and everyone can log in and start chatting.
My first network roulette chat was a bit underwhelming. I was connected with Mary who hails from Germany. “Hello Mary, how are you?” said I. Mary’s response was nothing but shear panic. She freaked out, ran out of the room screaming about some jerk trying to send her strange pictures. (Network roulette is just a chat tool. It doesn’t display or exchange pictures except an exceptionally dapper profile pic). In this case, Mary has a case of the ‘internets‘ and has been slimed by one too many anonymous internet persons. Over time I expect that people will become conditioned to treat network roulette as a professional social network and put on their best behavior. Ignoring intros will hopefully become a thing of the past. Maybe changing my profile pic to something less intimidating might help as well.*
BrazenCareerist offers much more. Discussion boards where you can exchange notes on anything career related. Here we find poor Alicia wondering if it’s okay to reapply for a position you’ve already interviewed for. (You’re not getting the job Alicia). A messaging system to interact with users. (Here I can explain the situation in full to my friend Mary). Group creation. Featured companies. A profile. A social resume. And the ever popular job board. Of course, the ultimate goal is to help people progress their careers.
Finding a job can be tough these days. Networking online is an efficient way to expand one’s circle of contacts. For the brazen optimist and with a little bit of network roulette luck, you may meet some people to help along the way.
* It’s entirely possible that my new friend simply didn’t speak English.