Question

My husband is a recent college graduate in need of a professional job. He’s had a couple of possibilities, but no offers or anything.

I know what the problem is. He’s going about it the old-fashioned way, by applying for “available” jobs he finds via the Internet. He dutifully fills out applications and sends resumes to places advertising jobs. Obviously he needs to get on the networking ball, but he’s having a difficult time with it, for two reasons.

First, he thinks it’s wrong. He wants to get a job on his merits, not because he “knows somebody.” He wants to feel like he earned the job by being competent, not by being the best ass-kisser or because somebody’s brother’s cousin’s friend has some pull with the company owner’s daughter’s dog groomer. I don’t know what to say to him about this, because I happen to agree. It feels like, at least in the current climate, success in a job search has relatively little to do with your actual ability to do the job.

Second, and this is the part I’d like your help with, it’s really a downright unpleasant thing to have to do. Calling up everyone you know, begging for a job and asking them to beg for you to everyone they know. I think it would be easier to ask people for money, frankly.

How do people do it? Do you reward yourself with a treat every time you make an icky phone call? Imagine your “contact” in nothing but their skivvies? Risk sinking into multiple personality disorder by dissociating yourself from the entire process?

Help, please!

Nick’s Reply

get a jobI understand your husband’s hesitation and his attitude, because I was a new college grad once. However, he is absolutely, positively, completely wrong.

It’s easy to assume that “who you know” is a corrupt way to get a job. The truth is, companies hire people they know because they’re less likely to encounter problems with “people they know.”

Need to get a job? We hire who we know.

A V.P. at a successful company explained it to me many years ago.

“We hire using our company’s ‘people filter’. We hire only people who are referred by our employees and by people we know. This assures us that we’re getting good people, because why would our friends and employees refer turkeys? It assures us that the new hire will work hard, because if she doesn’t it would reflect poorly on the employee who referred her. And, we are assured that the new hire will get lots of help and support — it’s a kind of guaranteed on-the-job-training.”

Know what? That V.P. doesn’t hire people just because they “know someone.” Good companies will still examine a highly-recommended candidate carefully. They will look at your skills and abilities, and hire you only if you’re right for the job. A good company won’t hire a turkey whose only credential is that she “knows someone.” But, that people filter is what gets a candidate in the door, and it’s what seals a relationship if all other criteria are met.

We don’t hire resumes or turkeys

You are worried that “success in a job search has relatively little to do with your actual ability to do the job”. Step back a minute. How is your husband demonstrating his ability to do the job? By sending employers a document with his name and credentials on it? Do you really think that convinces anyone he can do the job?

Contrast this with a candidate who talks to that dog groomer, who in turn introduces the candidate to a friend whose father owns the company. The friend talks with the candidate, satisfies herself that the candidate is talented, then refers the candidate to her dad, who refers them to a manager who is hiring. I’ll take that dog groomer over a scrap of paper any day — and so will most hiring managers.

When you send a company your resume, you’re not demonstrating anything. All you’re saying is, “Here are my credentials, all typed up nicely. Now, you go figure out what the heck to do with me.” Employers are lousy at hiring from resumes. A personal contact is your opportunity to actually show what you can do — it’s your opportunity to demonstrate your value and to suggest how you will help the company. (This won’t work if you’re a turkey!)

We trust our icky contacts

Your husband needs to get over this. (And so do you.) If you don’t follow my logic, consider this. Companies pay headhunters lots of money to deliver the very best candidates for a job. A $100,000 position will yield a $30,000 fee. Do you know why companies pay that kind of money? Because they don’t want to waste time with thousands of resumes of people they don’t know. They want the personal referrals of the headhunter. They’re paying handsomely for those icky contacts.

When you develop relationships that gain you a personal referral, you’re being your own headhunter. You see, companies don’t hire people they know in order to do a favor for someone. They hire people they know because of the trust factor. They’re simply more likely to get a good hire from someone they know.

Trust: Get a job without icky

Developing professional contacts is crucial to success. If you regard it as icky, then you’ve got the wrong idea entirely. Is it dishonest or immoral to make an effort to meet people who do the work you want to do? Is it ass-kissing when you call people in your field to discuss their business and to learn how you can make a contribution to their industry? Is it unpleasant to take a step into your chosen line of work — or is it just uncomfortable because you don’t know how to do it? (Please check Natural Networking: An end to stupid networking.)

If your husband can’t get comfortable talking to people about the work they do (and the work he wants to do), then I can’t help him. He’s going to have to learn the hard way.

Here’s the risk he takes. If he gets hired strictly on the basis of a blind resume submission, the odds that he will have the support and attention he needs to succeed are much smaller than if he gets hired through a personal contact. My friend the V.P. devotes lots of time to help his new hires succeed because he’s beholden to the people who referred the candidate — there’s personal responsibility and trust involved. You see, it works both ways: personal contacts yield good hires for employers, and they yield the best opportunities for job hunters.

Don’t kiss anything to get a job. Networking must not be icky. It should be a natural, satisfying experience of getting to know good people in your field — and helping them get to know you.

I wish you and your husband the best.

What’s your take on networking and using personal referrals to get a job? Maybe more important, why do so many people think networking is “icky?” Is networking a skill, or an attitude?

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38 Comments
  1. I am an electrical engineer with several years of experience. I also have a degree in music and have been a church organist/choirmaster on and off throughout the years – I met my wife when I was doing that full-time.

    Thirty years ago, an organist at a church where I currently live contacted me to substitute for her for a few Sundays. I thought nothing of this contact until I moved back to the area several years later. The organist is also a software engineer – we ended up working together for about 4 years. Then I went to another job for 18 months, that company closed down, and I got an interview with this woman’s husband who works at my current company and he hired me. The job is a great match – I had interviewed with the company before, but it took someone who already knew me and what I could do. The organist/software engineer has also seen me at my worst (she stopped when I had a motor scooter accident on my way to work one morning and helped).

    I didn’t do anything icky – I just know these people and I like them. Obviously they like and respect me. Let me put it this way: The standards are the same – but these people have seen me work, and so they know what they are getting. They know more than they could discern in an interview if I were a stranger.

    So how can you convince strangers to hire you? Answer: Make sure they get to know you and that you get to know them (it goes both ways).

  2. For new graduates, join the professional organization for your field. Attend meetings if they exist. Many organizations have special outreach for young professionals, and are actively trying to meet young people in the profession to take over the organization leadership. Easy way to meet people. I’m in computer mapping, GIS, and our state professional organization has monthly Mappy Hours in 3 or 4 locations around the state, mostly in outdoor locations due to the pandemic. No agenda, just informal conversation about what projects people are working on.

  3. This letter writer asks for help. Good for her.

    So, here’s some help:

    Both parties need an attitude adjustment. He, because what he is doing is apparently not working and his response to this seems to be to do more of the same while expecting different results (the classic definition of insanity). She, because she has defined networking as “a downright unpleasant thing to have to do. Calling up everyone you know, begging for a job and asking them to beg for you to everyone they know.” I don’t know what doing that is, but it’s certainly not networking.

    If they want to continue failing at networking, then by all means continue approaching people like this: “Hi, my name is Chris. I’m looking for a job as a (position title). Are you hiring, or do you know anyone who is?”

    But if they want to succeed, start by approaching people like this: “Hi, my name is Chris, and Nick Corcodilos suggested I contact you. I recently graduated with a degree in (major) and am looking for a job as a (position title). Please understand, I don’t expect you to be hiring or to know anyone who is, but I am looking for some advice and guidance, and Nick thought you would be a good person to talk with. Would it be possible to talk together for no more than 20 minutes sometime in the next week or two?”

    And when meeting with someone, under no circumstances give the slightest hint that he expects them to hire him, recommend him, or refer him to a job … doing so is the kiss of death and will fail every time. Instead, simply ask 2 or 3 legitimate, real questions, listen carefully and take notes, and end by asking the person if they can recommend 2 or 3 others that he can talk to.

    I have 4 papers in the Featured section of my LinkedIn profile that cover all this in some detail.

    Also, see the book Switchers by Graham.

    PS: There’s a saying in the networking world: Ask for information, get information and get jobs; ask for a job, get neither.

    • And when meeting with someone, under no circumstances give the slightest hint that he expects them to hire him, recommend him, or refer him to a job … doing so is the kiss of death and will fail every time. Instead, simply ask 2 or 3 legitimate, real questions, listen carefully and take notes, and end by asking the person if they can recommend 2 or 3 others that he can talk to.

      This makes it seem so icky to me, you want a job but can’t mention it. If I was on the other side I’d describe that as evasive and shifty behaviour,

      • Hi Craig, and thanks for your response.

        If you look at how I suggested we approach people, you’ll see that we absolutely tell the person what we’re doing (“I recently graduated with a degree in (major) and am looking for a job as a (position title”). It’s when we don’t tell the person, upfront, that we’re in a job search, that this stops being networking and, as you say, becomes “evasive and shifty behaviour.” The whole structure of legitimate networking rests on the foundation of being open and honest.

        For example, should you be in a networking meeting and someone suggests you apply to an open job, or even tells you about an unadvertised job and asks you to apply (it happens), and you jump right on it and ay you will, 99% of the time you’re finished right there. Instead, the wise (and honest) reply is something like, “Thanks for sharing that, and it looks like something that’s right up my alley, but I still have some questions I need to answer and some research to finish. May I check back in a week or two, and we could discuss it then?”

        If you don’t do this, in about 5 minutes (or less) the person will be wondering how you manipulated them into revealing the open job, and will be sorry they said anything. But if you demure, the person will see you as honest and trustworthy (“Please understand, I don’t expect you to be hiring or to know anyone who is”) and that can (and typically does) motivate them to reach out to you after the interview and strongly encourage you to apply … and then, they’re choosing to do that and you have gained a true advocate, without being “shifty.”

        Again, the guides in my LI Featured section.

        • And I forgot to add, that if a person does reach out to you like this, following an informational interview, and asking (in some cases almost begging) you to apply, then, you would be wise to do so IF it is a job that matches your skills, experience, and knowledge and IF it actually is a position you are interested in.

          • @Chris Hogg: Those are big and important IFs. Yet many people would apply “just because.” This is what leads to lower and lower success rates, and to the even worse problem of accepting what I refer to as a broken job. Not every “opportunity” is one.

        • If you look at how I suggested we approach people, you’ll see that we absolutely tell the person what we’re doing

          This seems a little different to Nick’s advice but I like it.

          and you jump right on it and ay you will, 99% of the time you’re finished right there. Instead, the wise (and honest) reply is something like, “Thanks for sharing that, and it looks like something that’s right up my alley, but I still have some questions I need to answer and some research to finish. May I check back in a week or two, and we could discuss it then?”

          I would never have thought of that and would indeed jump right on it.

          Please understand, I don’t expect you to be hiring or to know anyone who is”)

          It just seems weird to me that you’d reach out to someone with that sentiment.

          I can’t identify which Chris Hogg you are so can’t find the LI featured section

          • Hi again, Craig.

            How about looking at networking like this:

            You’re in a strange town, you’re hungry, and you walk up to someone and say, “Excuse me. I’m just visiting here on a business trip, it’s lunchtime, and I’m thinking Mexican. Can you recommend a good restaurant?” And the person says, “I’m really not into Mexican food, but see that guy over there in the red shirt? He is. Ask him.” So you go up to the guy and say, “Hi. I’m just visiting … and he said to ask you.” And the guy says, “Sure, two streets down, take a right, go into Taco Palace. They’re always packed at this time, but tell them Jose from Uptown said he sent you, and they’ll squeeze you in, for sure.” This is networking … honest, open, no games, no shifty approach.

            As opposed to this:

            You’re in a strange town, you’re hungry, and you walk up to someone and say, “Hi. I’m hungry. Will you buy me lunch, or do you know someone who will?” This is not only NOT networking, it’s going to be a long time before you enjoy a meal (unless it’s at the county jail after being arrested for panhandling).

            linkedin.com/in/chrishogg–ohio

  4. Your ending comments really resonate – “It should be a natural, satisfying experience of getting to know good people in your field.”

    This is so true. Even if I’m not looking for a job, I love talking to people in my industry. After all, I’m doing what I do because I’m interested in it. And talking to people who share that interest is an enjoyable way to spend my time.

    I think if the OP’s husband looks at it like this, he would come around. A well-run company won’t hire an incompetent person just because one of their employees knows them.

  5. Amen! The same goes for consultants like me searching for clients.

  6. Networking is difficult for those of us who are introverted, shy, or both. No amount of “just do it” makes it easier or more natural for us. I understand its value, but it also has drawbacks for both employers and job seekers. You can get bad referrals (I have) from current employees, and it’s awkward when they don’t get considered or hired. Studies show racial disparities in the effectiveness of networking to land a job. I’ve read 1000s of resumes over the years, and helped to hire 100s of entry-level positions from both employee referrals and random applicants, and have hired good people with both methods. I still try to network, but I doubt it will be as effective for me as it is for others.

    • The social skill of networking seems unfair! I’ve never been a social butterfly, but I would be a good worker. I guess you would need to be one of us to understand how awkward it is to network. Imagine if companies only hired people who are experts in needlepoint or weight-lifting.

    • Please don’t think of ability to network as a personality trait. It really isn’t. It’s a learnable skill. Yes, some personalities may be more amenable to it, but anyone can learn it. I think I’m a prime example. I always considered myself introverted, shy, unlikely to speak up or reach out. I learned by doing. I don’t pretend to understand anyone — but please ask yourself, are you incapable of it, or do you just find it uncomfortable and so don’t want to do it?

      Except in rare cases, working means working with other people. Social skills are almost always required. And to the extent getting a job is a social experience, social skills are always required.

      Please — look around you. There are loads of resources to help you learn to socialize.

      • Try baby steps to become more comfortable in the environment.

        For example, go to a trade show and wander the vendor floor. Pick up some literature and business cards. Have something at the snack bar. Just notice things and check out the vibe. When you get tired of it, leave. Then do a little more next time.

        Also, get simple business cards with your contact info. Cheap and useful.

        • Great advice! Also, ask your professors, college placement office, other (!) college placement offices. Cold call all companies that might have the type of position you are seeking. Record what you learn. Also, check out salary.com and similar. And the on-line job sites such as monster.com , etc.

  7. “The resume gets you hired. The fit gets you fired”
    Rich Cooper
    “Entrepreneur in Cars”
    If someone will vouch for you somewhere, that’s a plus, but that won’t necessarily seal the deal anymore, and to endlessly proliferate this false networking narrative is totally out of touch. Many people don’t want to stick out their necks and risk their reputations, or for that matter, risk their employment, on a possible dud. Requesting a 20 minute “no strings” meet-n’-greet out of nowhere is also a waste of time as you can end up with someone not qualified to do any hiring, or may be viewed as an imposition, crass, or unnerving for someone who’s already spread thin and doing the work of 2-3 people.

  8. Early in his career, one of my friends found his job at a GM division was being relocated to Michigan. He had to go there to interview for the job continuing there, pretty much a formality, but he didn’t want to leave where he lived and had roots.

    On the flight back, the guy in the seat next to him had one of those standard airplane conversations with him and asked what he did.

    When my friend told him, the guy said “you’re kidding – my wife” – a manager at another elite top local employer – “has been looking for someone like you for a long time. Here’s our number” – this was before cell phones were common – “when you get home tonight, call her.”

    He did, and that resulted in a temp-to-hire industrial engineering job – this was during a recession – and after six months he was hired on as an industrial engineering manager.

  9. Nick, just have to say I love the way you lead off your answer with that choice of graphic.

    Networking isn’t kissing up, but that’s a nice playful way to start the answer.

    My last 4 career changes have all been negotiated through networking.

    It’s not sucking up its talking to and finding opportunities in your field.

    Although oddly enough, when looking for my first job I had a networked opportunity fail and found a job just through applying blind, although someone at the company did know me and likely vouched for me, I didn’t actually reach out and network. But the people I met at that job, I’ve networked with and they’ve networked with each other for the past nearly 30 years…

    • @J: The more something burns me up, the more I try to have a sense of humor about it. Thanks for your kind words!

  10. As a lifelong introvert and recently retired engineer, I understand having mixed feelings about networking. This issue comes up even in college, where some extroverted students are getting to know the professors and the introverts tend to get their work done and keep to themselves. (Of course you can guess what this means when a student later needs recommendations from professors.)
    My main advice to an introvert is to train yourself to ask good questions. If you have a good question in mind, you can always keep a conversation going without too much discomfort. Extroverts are able to blurt out questions (some good, some bad) and the net effect is usually good. The skill of asking good questions will enable you to talk shop (which is what Nick C. defines as networking), and also to solve problems on the job when you get there. One bit of self-knowledge is to figure out what situations lead to yourself coming up with good questions. For myself in my career, if I was able to get someone to show me a problem in the lab, I could come up with questions much better than if I was just hearing about the problem verbally.

    • @Michael: The most daunting challenges in understanding ourselves often can be dealt with by focusing on one key parameter of our behavior. You nailed it! Ask one or two good questions and the conversation goes naturally from there. No need to “sell out!” to get ahead! Thanks for your method! All anyone needs to do is try it.

    • Plus when I have a question I tend to end up on stack overflow rather than talking to people. How do you network digitally when there’s no opportunities locally?

  11. What if you try and reach out to people who work at a company you are interested in thru LinkedIn, email, etc. and just ask for an informational interview (not a job or referral off the bat, nor are you asking them to look at your resume), and you don’t get responses? It isn’t going to be easy to go by some office and ask to speak to someone who doesn’t know you from Adam’s housecat. Phone numbers aren’t easy to come by either.

    Nick…networking is NOT easy and it is hard to overcome multiple contact attempts when you don’t get anything in return

  12. I’m shocked at the level of fright expressed about “socializing”/networking. Therapy may be one option to pursue as this sounds immature. Can u interact successfully w/co-workers? Yikes!

    • SMH

    • How is being an introvert and/or having a disdain or aversion for (often ineffective) networking tantamount to immaturity? Everything always goes back to “therapy” with amateur arm chair psychoanalysis.

    • I can interact just fine with other people on a team towards a common goal. I wouldn’t have done well academically if I couldn’t. Group assignments are important. But making friends just hanging out or networking. Nope I suck.

  13. I have spent my 40-plus years career in tech (mostly engineering), so here’s a classic for everyone:

    Q. How do you tell the extroverted engineer?

    A. When he talks to you, he looks at your shoes instead of his.

    I’ve met plenty of those folks along the way, so I understand the anxiety people go through at the thought of networking. However, I believe a slight shift in attitude can help. The people dreading networking are imagining themselves at a meet and greet, standing awkwardly to the side with their drink, wishing it was over so they could get to dinner. Instead, as Nick suggested, think of it as talking to that dog groomer. You love your dog, you found a good groomer for it, you have something in common. That’s an easy conversation to have.

    Now practice a bit. Ask the clerk at the checkout how their shift is going. Compliment the gardeners where you work on the nice job they’re doing. Tell the cashier at lunch how much you like their sandwiches. You’re networking. That wasn’t so “icky” was it? You don’t have to change from Mr. Milquetoast to PT Barnum; just be willing to engage with people who are in your industry. Have worthwhile conversations about the work they do.

    No “ick” about it.

  14. Nick: I shamelessly use “Networking is talking shop with like-minded professionals.” when disusing networking.

    I will risk an assumption that most people, including the shy, introverted, and those with social anxiety have some work-related things that you like to geek out on. That is networking.

    Aside from “Networking Events,” there is meeting professional people (who you like being with) for coffee or lunch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Discord, gaming groups…and anywhere else that people interact. “Interact” being the key phrase.

    Most of us have worked with the summer help…the lazy son of the COO’s fraternity brother. Or events where insurance agents and financial planners try to rope the unsuspecting in to conversions about personal finances. The rest of us find that icky too.

    Real networking is a lot like having an emergency fund…the time to start is long before you need it.

    I am far from a social butterfly. But occasionally, I get a call from someone I worked with in the past about a role. Or they let me know they are on the market. Or we get together for wings and talk.

  15. I’m an introvert too. Introverts aren’t socially inept. There was a book published several years ago that helped me rethink how I thought of introverts (myself included) and extroverts. Introverts get re-energized by spending quiet time by themselves. Extroverts get re-energized by spending time with lots of people. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t have friends or can’t work with others.

    Someone once told me that if you get uncomfortable in crowds and/or with people you don’t know, you can always ask people about themselves and their jobs, families, and interests, and then listen. I realize that the point of networking is to make contacts and to get to know others, and to do that you have to talk about yourself, too. So you start small, then keep at it.

    As for the husband who is the recent college graduate, yes, I understand how he feels. In an ideal world, everyone would be hired for their skills and abilities, but in the real world, that isn’t always how it works.

    As a recent graduate, he might not have enough “contacts” or may not have any experience in the field he hopes to enter. If he has done internships, he can always contact those who mentored him in those internships. If he lives locally, he could call up the former supervisor, offer to take him out for coffee, and then limit the conversation to 10-15 (about the length of a break, if that company permitted them).

    He can also join his alma mater’s alumni association. If he didn’t do this before graduating from college and still lives close to his alma mater, he can probably still take advantage of his college’s career development office/career services. Many colleges and universities offer those services not only to graduating seniors and underclassmen trying to get internships but also to alumni who need help. That office may also have a list of other alumni who are willing to be contacted by current students and alumni interested in that profession or employer. The connection here is the alumni connection–some alumni will help others, and if that is what it takes to get his foot in the door, that may be enough. Then I hope he will do the same for a recent graduate in the future who is in the same predicament.

    It may seem “icky” to ask everyone you know if they know anyone looking to hire, but that’s often how people get started. Many jobs aren’t even posted, so ask your hairdresser, your doctor, your dentist, etc. Those people aren’t strangers to you, and they may very well hear of job openings that you may miss.

  16. The OP’s husband has a very valuable networking resource—his parents, aunts, uncles, their friends, and his friend’s parents. Surely someone works in an attractive field or company or knows somebody who does with whom they can hook OP’s husband up.

    This doesn’t mean the husband won’t get hired (or not) on his merits—it will just help someone whom I assume is inexperienced and young get some attention so that his merits can be considered in the first place,
    which an ATS system will not do. And then, one day, OP’s husband can pay it forward by giving another young or inexperienced person the time of day.

  17. I have worked at companies that hired only on referral from existing employees – each were complete disasters, as bad as family businesses, which are themselves examples of companies that hire only on referrals.

    As to the owner that boasted he “people screened” this way, I feel he is a jerk. Also, if that was the only way new hires could expect to be trained, etc. the owner is a … (donkey).

    I know of a very large corporation that hires only in that manner. They are known statewide as a place for incompetents. They hire poor employees who are recommended by the company’s existing poor employees.

    Follow Warren Buffet’s advice: search out honest people at honest companies and apply there. Chances are very good that there will be plenty of excellent jobs in honest companies. What this means is that the lady’s husband has to research to find companies that are likely to have openings in his specialty, check out the reputations of each company and its executives, and apply at the good firms. A telephone call to the Sales department, a talk with a salesman, a few questions about the company and its executives. Salesmen know probably better than anyone else. And they are not too afraid to talk.

    • @Wes: Your story is interesting. Did this kind of hiring put them out of business? How long can any company that hires incompetents survive?

      While I’ve seen nepotism lead to problems, I can’t think of a single company I’ve know that practices what you describe systematically. The companies you describe sound really bad. But “hiring people we know or that people we know know” is a largely successful strategy in my experience.

      • The “people he knows” is a tiny subset of all the qualified people. Same for his employees’ friends, a tiny subset. And, how does anyone of them know how good an employee another person is if they do not work with them? Sorry to say, eight companies I left shortly went out of business. In each instance much of the causation was bad employees hired as a VP’s friend; a failed headhunter’s friend whom he had placed several times (hint: placed several times); several software engineers who were hired solely because they were acquaintances (!) of a current employee; in one instance, two hires at below (hint!) acceptable salary were incompetent; etc.

        The employers went out of business because of their hiring practices: hire somebody’s friend or pay garbage salaries. These appeared to be actual hiring criteria! These were practices followed systematically: the owner believed he had found the secret of corporate success. Wrong. And they would not listen. I had an MBA, Ohio State University, and tons of applicable success technically and in management.

        A serious company success question: HOW do the referral makers KNOW their referree is qualified? Haven’t worked with them; is a friend – so what? I could go on and on.

  18. P. S. It does no good to lecture “get over it.” Practical advice is to alter the job search methodology. There are thousands of prospect companies. Start somewhere, even alphabetically, and call the Sales Department. You will be astonished at what you will learn. Warning: if even the salesmen are afraid to tell you what they think about their employer, that is all the answer you need. Move on. You will have to prepare your questions to get the information you want. Take time to do that and refine as you go. I will pray for you.

  19. Lots of great input here already, so I’ll keep it short.

    I interpret this young couple’s concern as not wanting to compromise their integrity (possibly influenced by introversion) and I respect that.

    To be clear: a referral into a job opening for which you are qualified is a *positive* reflection on your integrity.

    What’s more important: how you *do* the job once you have it.

  20. While networking may indeed be a learnable skill, it is still quite a challenge to those of us who are introverted. Walking up to total strangers and babbling about chitchat is not in our DNA.

    For myself, I had the extra hurdle of relocating a thousand miles from where I had lived all my life to a place where I have no relatives, no contacts, no ties whatsoever. Rather than try to slog through the job search game on my own, I ended up registering with an employment agency. They can network far better than I ever could. It took a while, but it finally paid off – just this week I started a new job. The training period is on the longish side (due to proprietary software, and it being the type of job that you don’t really learn in college anyhow), so while training I’ll still be considered an employee of the agency; after completion of training the pay should jump up significantly, so I think it’ll be worth it. If nothing else, it gives me something to do in the meantime.

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