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Networking without a Network


Effective networking is a critical element of every successful job search.  This is true whether a person is looking for work in Israel or any other location.  Yet the concept "networking" is often misunderstood and/or not implemented well by those seeking employment, in many cases increasing the amount of time to find work and eliminating from the search many jobs which are an ideal match.

Most people are familiar with searching the internet or printed media for job postings, then using email/fax to respond with a CV to relevant advertisements.  The advantages of this type of approach are that the job listings are easily accessible, and there is a large quantity regularly published.  A less positive attribute of this job search method is that numerous other job seekers have equal access to the identical set of jobs.  Clearly though, the key reason for not relying upon this technique exclusively when searching for employment is that many attractive jobs are never listed in such mediums.

The Hidden Job Market

It is estimated that at least two-thirds of all jobs can only be found in the "hidden" job market, and are never advertised to the general public in newspapers or on the Internet.

At first glance, this may appear counter-intuitive.  If a company is searching for employees, why wouldn’t they place their notice in as many sites as possible?  There are various reasons.  First, some companies demand high levels of secrecy when searching for employees, and although public search methods do offer some degree of discretion, once the job is in the public domain the company loses a control.  Second, to handle all of the job applicants in a public job search requires a lot of resources.  However, the main reason why companies refrain from massively posting job details is that employers prefer introductions from people that they already know, those essentially pre-screened by someone trusted.

The search & selection process that includes receiving many CVs from unknown individuals takes a great deal of time and effort on the part of the company and at the end is still fraught with uncertainty.  To combat this instability, businesses much prefer to hire people that are familiar to them, mainly by accepting recommendations from current employees (the concept in Israel is known in Hebrew as "chaver mevi chaver" – חבר מביא חבר ) and/or other respected individuals.

The objective of networking is to be in contact with as many people who are in a position to recommend you as possible, so that when they are asked for perspective candidates, your name will be on the tip of their tongue.  With so many companies and so many people, it is not realistic to hope for complete coverage.  Nonetheless, the larger the scope of your network, the better your position will be when hidden jobs become available.

Networking Without a Network

For new immigrants, there are special challenges when networking.  The primary one is how to network without an existing network?  For most people, moving to a new country means starting over, and that may include few friends/family that you can rely on.  In such a situation, even beginning the networking process may appear to be a daunting task. 

Have no fear, between the organizations in Israel that can be used for networking and the predisposition of Israelis to be helpful, you will find that in most cases the process will go smoothly.  A lot of effort is required, but this is a clear case where the more work you put in, the better the results will be.

Practical tips to get your network growing:

First, you must identify professions/industries of interest.  The target can certainly be larger than one sector/profession, but it shouldn’t be too large that focus is sacrificed.  If the list is too small, then you may miss opportunities to identify new contacts that are really of value to you.  If the list is too large, it is possible to move in many directions that don’t have a high probability of success. 

Make a list of everyone you know.  Nobody (we mean NOBODY) is too distant to be excluded from this list.  Friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances; the more people that you start with, the faster your network will grow.  If you know people in Israel already, that is great.  However, people you know in your pre-aliyah country may have the exact connections you are looking for in Israel, so do not hesitate to pursue non-Israelis as well.  At the end you may be surprised; the person that ended up helping you find your job may not have been someone you initially thought could assist you.

The appropriate conclusion to draw is that you should start networking well before you make Aliyah.

A Wealth of Resources

Internet Networking Sites – One of the most popular international sites is LinkedIn.

After you complete the one-time registration process, you can connect with your contacts, and through them reach many thousands of new people.

Several thousand people in Israel already use this tool.

In addition, there are a number of other excellent Social Networking portals worth looking at.

Community Internet Sites – Many Israeli cities/regions have dedicated groups for exchanging messages to members.  This is an ideal forum to receive local information about a variety of subjects, including networking/jobs.  The two most popular are JANGLO (Jerusalem) and TAANGLO (Tel Aviv), but there are many others, large and small.

Immigrant Support Organizations – A wide variety of Aliyah Support Organizations are available to assist new immigrants to Israel, and these associations can sometimes provide contacts

Professional Associations – There are Israeli organizations associated with specific professions, including accounting, law, physicians…  If your profession has such an association, you can contact members to increase your network and knowledge.

Subject Matter Experts - Contact such individuals and conduct an informational interview, including questions such as "How do they search for work?" & "What special skills are required for this job in Israel?".   When engaging in these conversations, you should not overtly ask for a job; rather you are stating your objective and seeking advice, insights, and additional names.

Company directories – Many Israeli company directories exist, and these can be an excellent source of information.  Whether searching by company sector or location, it is possible to identify those companies that are of special interest to you, and then contact them.

Another very practical networking tool is to offer your services as a volunteer.

One final word probably the best way to network is when you may seem to least need its benefits.  Most people only do networking when they are searching for a job.  However, for people that are already working and/or those not actively looking for a job, increasing your network in any case is always a good idea, as you can never be sure when it will prove itself useful.

Keep in mind, networking can feel like a slow process, because you don’t see the positive results immediately.  Keep focused on the objective, with the firm knowledge that networking is recognized by all employment experts as one of the best ways to secure a job.

Contributed by Ron Machol – israemploy

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