As a college senior, I am constantly looking for every job posting, career fair, or opportunity to just post my resume for employers to see. According to Mark Granovetter’s research, I am going about this all wrong. Granovetter found that most people who found new job opportunities found them not from job postings, not even best friends, but acquaintances. Take a job seeker who operates in a specific network component. All of his or her friends within that component will have the same interests and information to offer about job opportunities. However, if our job seeker meets a new friend from a new network component with vastly different opportunities available, there will be a weak bridge between them, but a bridge nonetheless. That weak link is very strong and very necessary for job hunting.
The New York Times backs up Granovetter’s findings in a recent article titled, “In Hiring, a Friend in Need is a Prospect, Indeed.” By speaking to insiders from top companies like Ernst & Young, a pattern revealed that despite the promise to read every application, only those with some relation to employees were taken to the top of the pile. Moreover, employers like Deloitte or Enterprise even incentivize current employees to refer acquaintances by offering prizes.
“You’re submitting your résumé to a black hole,” said John Sullivan, a human resources consultant for large companies who teaches management at San Francisco State University. “You’re not going to find top performers at a job fair. Whether it’s fair or not, you need to have employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job.”