Utilizing the Good Ol’ Boy Network…Especially if You’re a Woman


Companies determine their hiring needs long before a job opening is formally announced. In many cases, these jobs are never openly advertised. During this time, companies conduct a search to see if anyone within the organization knows of a talented person who might be available. It is during these short windows of opportunity that the networking strategies you learn and deploy will produce some of your greatest opportunities.


Studies consistently show that the most effective job search method and career advancement tool is networking– the art and science of finding job leads through family members, friends, and acquaintances. Over 80% of successful job searches come as a result of knowing someone or something and talking to people. The least effective job search method, which ironically is the most widely used method, is responding to classified ads and job postings on the Internet. Doing the job search as basically a direct-mail operation, many are disappointed to discover the reality– a 2% response rate for direct-mail job hunting is considered successful.


In the era of email, Twitter, and text, it may also come as a surprise that the most effective means of communication is still face-to-face and word-of-mouth. And when it comes to finding a job, networking through personally meeting and talking with people is now more important than ever.


Most athletes that have competed in highly competitive environments operate within a rich network of relationships that have developed over time as they progressed in their athletic career– from coaches, teammates, parents, administrators, alumni, boosters, media, business people, politicians, members of churches and other community organizations. Networking is essential to a successful job search and your key to the hidden opportunities that never get publicized. The community of contacts you assemble throughout your lifetime can provide critical details on job leads, vacancies, and industry trends. They’ll also tell you what you’ll need to succeed in your search for a new or better job and a rewarding career.


In the final analysis, your network is a group of people who know that you are looking for a job. These people know what skills you possess, what interests you have, and that you are ready to explore new ideas and meet people. When you assemble a career or job network, it usually implies that you are actively looking for a job opening. Networking is not the same as informational interviewing or having a mentor, but you use many of the same techniques in how you manage the relationship.



About the Author

Russ Hafferkamp is the Founder and CEO of the Athlete Success Network and Managing Director and Co-Founder of Career Athletes, LLC (www.careerathletes.com). Russ is recognized as a leader and coach in the career development of collegiate and elite athletes and is the author of “CareerBall: The Sport Athletes Play When They’re Through Playing Sports” and "CareerBall: The Athlete Career Guide and Handbook".

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