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GUEST COMMENT: Every 10 enquiries are 1 meeting; every 1,000 contacts are 1 job offer

It’s 11am and I have already received three rejection emails. I want to crawl back in bed. But I go for a cup of coffee instead to provide some comfort. Coffee is safer than a cookie.

Sleeping in this morning would only waste a few valuable hours in which I can get hold of people and make connections. I am getting to know every professional in my field. They answer my emails, agree to meet me for coffee, and generously pay the bill. Do they feel guilty because they are employed and they know how few jobs are out there?

The late nights in the office during my previous role, and my fancy education – what have they lead to? After three months of job hunting, I am tired. I miss working, colleagues, a pay cheque, and yes, early-morning Monday meetings. My first student loan payment is due in a month and I am scared.

The numbers game

A job search is simply a matter of numbers. I estimate that every 10 inquiries that I make (mostly by email) will translate into one meeting. Ten meetings will keep me busy until an interview arises, regardless of whether it is a job that I want. And 10 interviews will hopefully result in an offer that I like.

So 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000 people who I need to interact with to lead to a potential job. The numbers sound overwhelming and quite scary, but I estimate that I am well above 600 contacts already. Perhaps it’s the mathematician in me that likes to keep count.

Are there that many people left in my industry to meet? Actually, yes, and it’s not just the managing directors, chief investment officers and HR professionals. The vice presidents and associates count too. Members of a team who could raise their hand up to recommend you are numerous throughout the experience chain.

Often the more junior people, as well as being easier to get hold of, can be your most valuable allies in sharing information such as job leads, changes at the company and introductions. This discovery has been one of the most pleasant things about my current job search.

I have been surprised by the number of people in my industry who I have never crossed paths with before but have been willing to meet me. If there is one benefit from incessant networking, I am rapidly becoming the most plugged-in person in my job sector. So every morning when I wake up, the first thing I tell myself is: “It’s not a matter of if I go back to work, it’s only a matter of time.”

The author is an American who has just graduated with an MBA and is looking for work in Singapore.

Comments (11)

  1. If you’re over 600 ‘networking’ connections and still no closer to a job, I’d say your idea of a good meeting and their idea of one are probably polar opposites!

  2. I applaud your optimism. We are in the same situation and I also say the same thing maybe not only in the morning though. I am sure you will get something and lets hope soon.

  3. Oxymoron alert: HR Professionals….

  4. 10 interviews to get one offer?

    Dude. it would be optimistic to expect 10 interviews per rejection these days.

  5. I wrote my dissertation on this very topic. “How job seekers find jobs through social networks in the UK finance and ibanking industry” I collected 190 random samples
    A few things are quite obvious:
    1) job search through ex-colleagues is the most efficient
    2) job search through ex-university friends is the second most efficient
    3) the strength of the social ties doesn’t matter, the matching agent can be an acquaintance or a close friend (but since we have more acquaintances, you are more likely to find jobs through them statistically)
    4) people who do not know about your work attitude or ability (information asymmetry) are not likely to recommend you since this would risk their own jobs and perception in the company if they bring in an idiot or lazy person
    5) on the recruitment side: companies rightly assume positive assortative matching (high quality employees will recommend high quality candidates, since people group and socialise with similar persons) and will look at the recommendation of a top performing trader or ibanker more favourably than that of a low performing employee
    6) the higher the social class, the better social networks are for jobsearch purposes

    Cambridge Social Network Economist Reply
  6. The key to networking is to network when you have something to offer. Theres nothing I hate more than someone who previously wouldn’t give me the time off day suddenly wanted to meet up with me for coffee once they’ve been canned. If you spread the love/commision/deals while you’re in a job, you’ll never be out of a job as something will always come up.

  7. load of bull ..author doesn’t have anything else to do…

  8. I admire your attitude. Things are really rough right now, but I hope you find something soon.

  9. Couldn’t agree with Pooky more. Candidates become clients and clients become candidates. That is my policy and it works a treat for me. Social networking is one thing but linkedin is highly over ratted and people speak such utter corporate American obvious rubbish on there. Pick up the phone. Talk to someone, build relationship, get a good role. Stay in touch and develop a career.

  10. American with an MBA in Singapore? You sound very lost to me, boy. Come back home to Tennessee, drink some bourbon with a true American like me and then we’ll go shooting empty bottles from the back of my pick-up truck whilst driving at full speed through corn fields…

    billy bob hickson Reply
  11. Hey look on the bright side…..sounds like you have had more free coffees than the CEO of Starbucks!

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