How to REALLY Get a Job
If you’ve been in job search mode anytime lately and have had an experience similar to Jennifer Krimm’s, you’re probably pretty frustrated. I felt this way in early 2004, when six months of searching for every possible job in my desired field resulted in precisely zero interviews, to say nothing of offers.
But then I benefited from something that I now teach college students in my current role: networking. It’s been turned into a much dirtier word than it actually represents, unfortunately. It’s not the same thing as nepotism, and it doesn’t even mean that a person gets a job exclusively by knowing someone. What is does mean is that employers don’t like to take chances and so they would rather rely to some degree on personal knowledge. This is particularly true in DC, where how a person relates to others is highly relevant for actual job performance in many of the local industries. Nearly every person I know who’s gotten a job in DC got a foot in the door — at least an interview, or a resume in the right place — because someone vouched for them.
Again, it’s not nepotism and it’s not a slight on someone’s body of work, as I thought it was when I was looking for jobs. It’s simply more efficient and a safer bet on the part of employers to interview someone that comes with at least one credible advance recommendation. To go a step further, I might contend that only modern-day arrogance and/or bad advice on the part of career counselors causes anyone to think that people get ahead otherwise.
Maybe that’s fine and maybe that’s tragic, but either way it’s true. I networked my way into my current job long before I even realized that I’d done so — but now that I have more awareness of what it takes to get a decent job I wouldn’t recommend doing it any other way.