Why is building a job search network worthless?

Effective Job Search through best practices in job search networking

Building a job search network is usually worthless since that is the end goal for most people. Contrary to popular opinion, size does not matter (at least initially). The most important goal of networking is engagement.

Regardless of whether you build your network on-line or off-line, you still need to provide value to your network. Keith Ferrazzi, Author and Blogger at “Who’s Got Your Back” writes in a recent blog posting about the need to be organized to “ping” your network.

Who do you want to communicate with? How often? What will you provide to your network?

The heart of any effective job search networking is to show your network you are a valuable member of their network. How do you do this? You do it through constant engagement.

Do you conduct drip-nurturing with your most important contacts to stay in front on them and have a “top of mind presence”? How often do you call, send interesting articles, provide links to good information, and focus on their specific needs?

Are you a connector in your network, constantly looking for ways to put people together that is mutually beneficial. Do you get constant requests to be connected with others in your network?

Can you publish information (such as through a blog) that your network might find valuable?

Once you take care of engaging with your job search network, you’ll be stunned at the abundance of job leads, referrals and opportunities that drop through the network into your lap. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from job seekers is “I have a large network, but I don’t get any leads – it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it to build a network”. Remember – the operative word is not building – it’s engaging!

Discover if your effective in your job search networking – both in traditional off-line networking activities and in on-line social media networking – to generate an abundance of job search leads, referrals and offers by downloading our Job Search Planning Scorecard. This FREE tool will help you focus on the most important steps to take in your job search, not just in job search networking, but across every dimension of your job hunt.


P.S.: Be sure to download some the archived radio show broadcasts on networking that Brad and I have posted to our FREE Job Search Audio Library.

About the Author

Barry Deutsch is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Barry is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Rita Ashley, September 12, 2009 @ 8:30 am

    You touched on an important topic. It isn’t just that size doesn’t matter, it is also what you say to your network that influences the outcome. Messaging is the fulcrum of any networking event.

    It saddens me to see people amassing contact information and calling that a network. A network that will help with your job search is one with whom you have created bonds; reciprocity and maintenance of relationships is what makes a real network.

    Rita Ashley, Job Search Coach
    Seattle Examiner.com
    Author: Job Search Debugged
    Author: Networking Debugged
    Author: LinkedIn for Job Search

  • By Barry Deutsch, September 12, 2009 @ 11:30 am

    Rita, you are exactly right. I think many candidates look at social media as a panacea to their job search. I might sound like a broken record on this issue – All the on-line social networking does is leverage your time in developing relationships with your contacts — it does not replace the classic, old-school, and traditional methods of giving back to your network, helping others, giving first and generously, and finally making personal contact.

    I am continuously astounded by candidates who wonder why they are not getting job leads and referrals in places like LinkedIn where they have over a thousand contacts. You have to “work” your network. Building a big list is a worthless activity if it is not accompanied by the intense, disciplined approach of engaging with your network.

  • By Arun Manansingh, September 15, 2009 @ 6:22 am

    Great topic. Size doesn’t matter but the quality of your network is vastly more important. Three words- engage, engage, engage…

  • By Barry Deutsch, September 15, 2009 @ 9:37 am


    That could be a tag-line for networking – the three “E’s”. One of my concerns about social media/networking is that it gives a false hope to job seekers that if they build a big enough network, lots of job leads and referrals will come to them. Networking fundamentals have not changed in 25 years – you’re exactly right when you say engage, engage, engage.

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