It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you

26 Oct

Given the economic climate, the jobs market and the saturated graduate recruitment pool, the latest figures from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) are hardly surprising.

AGR statistics reveal that the number of CVs submitted for each vacancy has doubled since 2009. The largest employers receive on average 83 CVs for each post, with some companies receiving as many as 150 applicants per job. Crikey.

So how on earth are you meant to stand out from the crowd? Well there are two important things to bear in mind: targeting a CV or job application specifically to the job advertised and harnessing the potential of social networking.

Casting one’s net far and wide might seem a good idea, however prospective employers will see through the generic and throw your not-so-carefully-written application out of the window.

Richard Irwin, head of student recruitment at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Britain’s largest private graduate recruiter, told The Independent that the figures suggest students are hedging their bets by sending out CVs en-masse.

“I think the sheer number of applications – which far outstrips the number of students graduating each year – shows that students are trying to send out as many applications as possible. That might seem like a good idea but I’d actually argue that those who send fewer, but more focused and targeted CVs, tend to do much better.”

It would seem that in media roles, it’s particularly bad form to go on fishing expeditions of any sort.

That’s partly why it’s been quiet on the old blogging front (mea culpa). I spent two days filling in a job application form which required the usual information (qualifications and employment history) but also how my training and experiences fulfil the key skills criteria.

It doesn’t sound that difficult, but when you’re desperate to impress someone and it’s a HANDWRITTEN application (shock horror) it takes longer than you’d think. One typo and the whole lot needs to be re-written. And it did.

Secondly it seems the old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has a new web 2.0 spin.

Greg Johnson, a business executive and careers coach, recently wrote a blog post on this very subject.  Although it’s essentially advertising a workshop on how to utilise social media in a job search, the second paragraph got me thinking:

“It is not what you know or who you know, but who knows you.”

That little add-on went round and round my head. Perhaps subconsciously I had recognised this, after all I have been attempting to get people to know me. I have this blog, I have contacts through Facebook and Twitter, and I keep in touch with colleagues from previous jobs.

I then decided it was time to be serious about this social networking for employment malarkey and join LinkedIn. Cue confused face.

So I’ve joined, but my profile looks nothing like the others I’ve seen. It needs some serious work.

I’d rather have people ‘know me’ through LinkedIn thinking I’m a potential asset to their company, rather than thinking “What a sad case, she can’t even grasp how to use LinkedIn.”

So today chaps, it’s Operation Sort out Profile.

What are you up to?









3 Responses to “It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you”

  1. Bothered October 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Stopped in to wish you luck on your career, and maybe give some advice from someone who is plugging along as a wanabe writer. I know things are tough. I’m older, worked for years in a career, was laid off from my job and have started to see if I have what it takes to be a writer. I think a key to becoming a writer who can make a living at it is to write as much as possible in many different formats. Right now I have ten blogs, and I write everything from humor to advice on health to spiritual writings on things such as the meaning of life. One of my humor blogs led me to write a book called, “Simple Observations; A humorous look at the absurdity of the world around us.” I’m in the final rewrite. Hopefully it will sell a few copies, but more importantly lead to other opportunities. There are also opportunities to practice on sites like Helium, and maybe make a little money. I also joined a site called You can post your work, and have other writers review them. It has made me a better writer. I’ve even sent some of my work to newspapers and magazines. I may never be a famous writer, but I do believe there are opportunities. Good luck, and take care.

    • Just another wannabe hack October 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks very much, that’s really nice of you!

      WOW, you have so many blogs!! It takes me all my time to balance just this one 🙂

      Thanks for the advice too, I’ll be sure to pop by one of your many (!) blogs and see what you’re up to, 😀

  2. Invisible Mikey October 27, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    I’m married to a retired TV news hack. She had a similar degree background to yours; Political Science/Journalism. She got in by interning, and to some degree by living in one of the largest cities for her desired career path (Los Angeles).

    I wouldn’t have a clue how to begin a career like you want, or like she had. I always got hired for what I knew how to do, which used to be selling in shops, then editing sound for films, and now it’s taking x-rays. I can still wish you good luck, though!

    (I write for free, for fun, and for practice. I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much if other people were assigning the topics. But you guys go right ahead. I did enjoy reading this, and I read “Bovvered’s” humor blogs pretty often.)

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