If you believe the apocryphal statistics, 50% of jobs are acquired by the traditional resume / application / interview. The other 50% of jobs are gotten thru networking. Some even say that the percentage of jobs gotten thru networking is significantly higher. I think the relative percentage varies based upon your location and profession, but it definitely seems to be that a great many jobs are gotten by playing a very strange game of telephone and talking to a friend-of-a-friend in your industry.

Up until now, I had largely been ignoring the networking aspect of the job hunt. Why? Well, I’m not a social butterfly and it is somewhat painful to pull the mask over my face and play the networking game.

That all stopped 2 weeks ago. I decided to try to network with a vengeance and see how far afield I can run with the networked contacts I have, and have been given. I definitely believe that getting into a face to face situation gives you a much higher likelihood of getting a job. And using network contacts has the added benefit of skipping over the high school drop-out that is working as the HR admin who keeps tossing your resume because it has too many big words she doesn’t understand.

In the last two weeks, I have been having email and face-to-face conversations with General Counsels from huge multi-billion dollar corporations, large firm partners, small boutique firm owners, academics, you name it. If someone says, ‘Hey I know this guy…’ I’m going to call them and try to talk to them.

So far there have been no job offers. One of the big GCs revamped my resume and offered pointers. Several hand off many other names to contact to see if they can help. The information they pass out in the short interviews is actually really invaluable. Salary info, business contacts, who to avoid, what the latest gossip / firm breakup is going on… things you don’t see from outside.

I think the most interesting thing about running with this experiment is the Alumni connection. I never really gave much thought to actually contacting Alumni, even though every career service office ubiquitously mentions it. So I finally did it. I think I got a 90% response rate… every one of them was happy to talk and mentioned that no one had ever bothered to reach out to them as an alumni. It was a surprisingly good resource. I was shocked that the career office got one right for once.

I guess I will see where this experiment goes, if nothing else, it is absolutely fascinating.

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