Poor networking habits are dooming short-term job prospects for active job seekers, according to new research from Upwardly Mobile, Inc. (UpMo), an online career management service based in Palo Alto, CA.
"Job seekers focus on all the wrong areas," says Allyn Horne, Senior Director of Research and Methodology at UpMo. "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."
UpMo's research is based on data from its Job-Hunt Readiness Evaluator, a proprietary assessment tool developed in conjunction with Robert Half International, which helps each job seeker identify his or her critical needs in the job search. The research found that active job seekers - those who are unemployed and looking for work or those who plan to find a new job in the next 90 days - hurt their chances through:
- Sporadic communication: Job seekers only talk to - or e-mail - an average of 8 people outside of their current organization on a monthly basis.
- Failure to expand the circle: Job seekers are reluctant to ask for introductions, with fewer than 4-in-10 (38%) asking for an introduction in the past month.
- Small networks: On average, job seekers have a network of just 29 colleagues, defined as peers they have interacted with in the last 18-24 months.
- Misplaced priorities: Jobs seekers spend 68% of their time looking at online job postings - and less than one-third of their time reaching out to others.
- Insufficient time investment: Generation X job seekers (those who began their careers between 1980 and 2002) and Millennial job seekers (those who began their careers after 2002) are the biggest offenders of not investing the time required to land a job quickly. Millennials spend just 12 hours per week on job-hunting activities, while Generation Xers spend 15 hours - far less than the 30 hours required to achieve a short job search.
"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."