Mackay’s Maxim: No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, you can’t do it alone.
The job market has seriously changed over the last fifty years. Gone are the days where a high school diploma alone can land you a solid job to support your family – today’s young people need multiple degrees, years of experience, internships, scholarships, and so on and so forth to land a decent position nowadays.
Today’s job seekers need a network more than ever, but people are still subscribing to the outdated adage that education and talent can get you a position alone. But when everyone has these qualities, you need a little extra help finding a position.
Talent Alone Is Not Worth Much Anymore
Talent alone cannot save you in today’s economy. Plenty of people have talent, but do you have the experience and references to prove it?
There are ways you can highlight your talent on your resume. You can provide links to your portfolio or past projects. You can list special accomplishments under each position. However, these actions are standard in a world where everyone can learn how to ace an interview.
Having network connections helps corroborate your talent in order for you to get a job. You can list them as references or ask if they know anyone at the company you’re interviewing for. You can have your network vouch for you or even find out about interview opportunities through them.
Don’t Rely on Training and Education
One of the most traditional and deeply rooted adages in today’s society is that with proper training and education, you can do whatever you want. While education and training are incredibly important, nearly everyone has a college degree.
You need more than completion to prove yourself in today’s economy. You need to excel in these programs and develop relationships with people who can vouch for your success. Knowing how to network can help you emerge from these programs with people who can help you in your job search.
You Need More Than Yourself – and the Government Won’t Save You
You can be the most dedicated, loyal, self-reliant, resilient, competent, and hard-working individual in the world – but without someone to back it up, these words are not enough to prove yourself to a hiring committee.
Government assistance programs can also no longer provide a safety net for job seekers. Resources are dwindling in today’s system, and many young job seekers are not eligible for programs.
Networks Are Crucial in Today’s Economy
When talent, education, training, your tenacity, and even the United States government cannot help you, where are you supposed to turn?
Your network. Whether it be college friends, old coworkers, professors and teachers, neighbors, friends, or even the store clerk down the street, you have a network. You can use this network to find new opportunities, to sniff out leads, and to corroborate your skills to hiring committees.
Wherever you go, network. Talk to people. Follow up with them. Ask them about their company, school, their friends and family. Help them whenever you can, and don’t be afraid to ask them for any job leads or if you can use them as a reference. These people will become powerful tools in a world where resumes seem interchangeable – and you can see a change in your job prospects.
Paige Soucie is the Director of Community Development for Harvey Mackay Academy. She loves to travel, run, cook and spend time with her friends and family.
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