Wider net lands more

‘‘Who you meet’’ and not ‘‘what you know’’ can give grad­u­ates the best edge in the jobs mar­ket,

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page - Lau­ren Ah­wan re­ports.

GRAD­U­ATES are find­ing jobs through who they know rather than what they know to prove the old say­ing.

South Aus­tralian re­search has found uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates who use their con­tacts can find work in sig­nif­i­cantly shorter time frames than their peers.

Those who pub­licly tout their job hunt with their ex­ist­ing or de­vel­op­ing net­work of fam­ily, friends and ac­quain­tances are be­ing granted the job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

G RAD­U­ATES who en­gage in net­work­ing land their first job four times quicker than those who rely on job ad­ver­tise­ments in news­pa­pers or on­line, a re­searcher says.

And ‘‘ac­ci­den­tal net­work­ing’’, or chance con­ver­sa­tions with strangers, is the most ef­fec­tive method of find­ing a job, Uni­ver­sity of South Aus­tralia re­searcher Gerry Treuren says.

‘‘You’ve got to put your­self out there,’’ says Dr Treuren, a se­nior lec­turer at the uni­ver­sity’s School of Man­age­ment.

‘‘It’s the chance con­ver­sa­tions that most of­ten lead to jobs.

‘‘I hate to sound mys­ti­cal here but if you take the first step, some­thing mag­i­cal seems to hap­pen: you get of­fered work ex­pe­ri­ence or you get a job of­fer or they know some­one who’s look­ing for some­one.

‘‘Peo­ple get these jobs at ran­dom. So you’ve got to make use of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.’’

Dr Treuren has sur­veyed more than 350 peo­ple who have grad­u­ated from UniSA since 2002 and found that those who en­gaged in net­work­ing took, on av­er­age, 21⁄ months to se­cure a job.

Those who used more tra­di­tional meth­ods, such as search­ing job ad­ver­tise­ments in news­pa­pers and on­line, took an av­er­age of 10 months to get a job.

Dr Treuren says grad­u­ates are a spe­cial group of job­seek­ers be­cause their con­tacts and net­works do not ex­tend as widely as those who have al­ready spent time in the em­ploy­ment arena.

He is now hop­ing to sur­vey an­other 500 grad­u­ates, all of whom com­pleted their de­grees last year, to fur­ther ex­am­ine how stu­dents can de­velop suc­cess­ful net­work­ing strate­gies.

The study also will look at new grad­u­ates in the wake of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Dr Treuren says anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests that many uni­ver­sity stu­dents are be­ing of­fered jobs be- fore they grad­u­ate. Re­cruiter Hays state re­gional di­rec­tor Lisa Mor­ris says some grad­u­ates feel un­com­fort­able telling oth­ers they are search­ing for a job but, by do­ing so, can reap the ul­ti­mate re­ward.

‘‘Be will­ing to put your­self for­ward and be will­ing to strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one . . . say ‘I’m a grad­u­ate and I’m look­ing to get a job’,’’ Ms Mor­ris says.

How­ever, Ms Mor­ris urges grad­u­ates not to give up on news­pa­per and on­line job ad­ver­tise­ments.

‘‘There are some em­ploy­ers out there who are very com­fort­able with tra­di­tional meth­ods of em­ploy­ing and there are real op­por­tu­ni­ties there,’’ she says.

‘‘Grad­u­ate re­cruit­ment pro­grams are of­ten listed in news­pa­pers so I think it’s im­por­tant grad­u­ates re­alise there’s a va­ri­ety of ways they can get a job.’’

Tracey Cum­mings, 27, was study­ing her fi­nal year of a Bach­e­lor of Man­age­ment (Mar­ket­ing) de­gree when she at­tended a uni­ver­si­ty­or­gan­ised net­work­ing din­ner in 2008, and sat next to the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Devine Homes.

The de­vel­oper called her a month later and asked her to ap­ply for the role of ad­ver­tis­ing co-or­di­na­tor – a po­si­tion she ac­cepted as soon as she grad­u­ated.

Ms Cum­mings says friends who did not at­tend the din­ner took up to a year af­ter grad­u­at­ing to find their first job.

‘‘I hon­estly think this net­work­ing din­ner was what clinched it for me,’’ she says.

‘‘Ap­par­ently I was the only per­son who sat next to Devine gen­eral man­ager Steve Weight­man and gave him a busi­ness card that said mar­ket­ing on it.

‘‘You have to grab hold of the op­por­tu­ni­ties that present them­selves and max­imise all prospects to make a good im­pres­sion.’’

Ms Cum­mings says two other stu­dents who at­tended the din­ner were also of­fered jobs with Devine, as client ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously there’s a large pro­por­tion of jobs that aren’t ad­ver­tised and that’s when it all comes down to your net­works,’’ she says.

Pic­ture: Greg Higgs

Devine Homes sales as­sis­tant Grace Lazzeri with Tracey Cum­mings, who got her job at Devine through a net­work­ing din­ner.

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