Friday, January 22, 2010

Poor Networking Skills Hurt Job Seekers

Gen Xers suck at networking.

That's one of the take home messages from a new Upwardly Mobile survey.

"Job seekers focus on all the wrong areas," says Allyn Horne, Senior Director of Research and Methodology at Upwardly Mobile, an online career management service site . "They are spending all of their time on job boards, but nearly 8-in-10 jobs are landed through someone you know—and, disturbingly, today's job seekers are neglecting their connections."

So how are job seekers hurting themselves?

Sporadic communication: Job seekers are speaking with an average of 8 people outside of their current company every month, whether it's verbal or email communication.

Failure to expand the circle: Job seekers aren't plying their networks for introductions to people that get them farther in the job hunt. Only 38% - about 4 in 10 people - asked for an introduction in the last four weeks.

Small networks: The average job seeker has just 29 people in his or her network, which Upwardly Mobile defines as peers with whom they have interacted in the last 18 to 24 months.

Misplaced priorities: Jobs seekers are spending 68% of their time surfing online job postings and less than one-third of their time reaching out to others.

Insufficient time investment: Gen X and Millennial job seekers are the worst at investing enough time to land a new job. Millennials are spending 12 hours a week job hunting, while Gen Xers are averaging 15 hours a week. Upwardly Mobile, however, says they need to be averaging 30 hours a week to land a job sooner.

"What's troubling," says Horne, "is that Generation Xers are mid-career professionals, at a turning point in their career, and should be nurturing their professional networks to stay ahead. These professionals really need to re-focus on the right priority: their connections."

Hey, Gen Xers: Put down the gaming console, put on some nice, professional clothes and start shaking some hands, huh?

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