“I am here to say: it’s who you know.” This was the answer a business club speaker gave to the basic blueprint of job success: Is it what you know or who you know? I was a guest at the meeting. That was in another town, decades ago. A few days later a member asked me to join the club. I really was not interested, but I was curious. I named two popular ways of grouping people and asked if they were allowed in the business club. The reply was, “Oh, no, we have ways to keep them out.” Unfortunately, I remained politely silent. I had not yet been trained to speak up and say, “Your exclusion is un-American.” Happily, that club now is inclusive.

The August 2016 issue of Forbes magazine has an article titled, “To Get A Job, Use Your Weak Ties.” Basically, it is not close friends and recent co-workers who usually are the key to landing a new job. Instead, it is people you barely know or have not seen for a long time. My experience in getting jobs, even minimum-wage work, supports this idea. Also, I have seen this happen in many different businesses where they recruit through their current employees.

My interpretation is that people who have trouble finding jobs might want to consider widening their social circles and acquaintances by trying new things. I have unexpectedly gained good jobs through volunteer work and hobby groups.

In February 2016, linkedin.com posted an article that supported the same job-finding idea with a fancier title: “New Survey Reveals 85% of All Jobs are Filled Via Networking.”

Robert Sullivan

Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!