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For this research-based article, I decided to debunk or support two claims I hear frequently about networking and connection.

You’ll never need to apply for a job again if you’re a good networker.

Are the days of the “tap on the shoulder” for your next job still alive and well or have they gone by the wayside? In research conducted by Lou Adler and LinkedIn, they quantified the talent market using the following descriptions:

  • Active candidates seeking new jobs – 5 to 20 percent of talent market
  • Tiptoers (those casually looking for another job) – 15 to 20 percent
  • Passive (employed and not looking) – 65 to 75 percent   

Of these groups, active candidates found their next job through networking 45 percent of the time; tiptoers 60 percent; and passive 62 percent. Most impressively, of those in the passive category who ended up changing jobs, only 8 percent got the job through applying for it directly.

My conclusion based on this data is that while you might need to keep an updated resume on hand at all times, you’re better off being open to new possibilities in casual conversation with friends and acquaintances than scouring job boards.

I can relate to this data based on my experience getting a job five years ago. I’d begun to express interest in moving into a new role at my company. I was also pregnant with my second child at the time, so was not actively looking for a new role.

While at home on maternity leave, an MBA classmate and colleague at my company called to tell me about an open position he wanted me to consider. In between chasing a toddler and nursing a baby, I definitely wasn’t looking at any job boards. He cracked open the door to an opportunity that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

However, if I’d kept quiet and not told him I was open to other opportunities, he might not have called. When in doubt, share what you want to do next! It might not be a tap on the shoulder and you’re in, but it could be the start of a conversation that’ll lead you to your next role. (The end of the story’s that I interviewed for the job my first day back from maternity leave and received an offer several weeks later!) 

People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.

Gallup has another way to look at this. They consistently find through employee engagement surveys that only about 30 percent of people are engaged at work.

While they don’t point directly at people quitting jobs because of managers (because they survey people still working at their companies), their research indicates that companies are hiring the wrong managers — getting it wrong up to 82 percent of the time.

What are the best qualities in a manager according to Gallup? Ability to motivate, use assertiveness to drive outcomes, foster accountability, create trust and transparency through relationship-building, and making decisions based on productivity, not politics.

Phew! This would cause anyone who considers herself a great leader to second-guess her ability. It’s easy to see that managers might be very strong in two or three of these areas, but checking the box on all five areas is a tall order.

Beyond this data from Gallup, personal experience has taught me that the more managers allow people to show up authentically and share openly, the greater the level of engagement.

In most corporate settings, we’ve moved well beyond the need for command and control management. Allowing people to be themselves and giving them the opportunity (and autonomy) to do their best work every day goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and loyalty.  

How are you showing up for your team, your manager, and your company? How open are you about what you want to do next?  

Having trouble telling this story? If so, reach out to me. As a coach who specializes in networking, relationship building, and professional development, I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes with you to discuss your goals and help create an action plan that’ll keep you ahead of the curve.

Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach, award-winning public speaker and passionate writer, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. Natalie helps her clients make more meaningful connections in their lives through careful examination of their network and through building an action plan to strengthen their personal and professional relationships.


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