Since the dawn of business, networking has been one of the most powerful and successful means of creating opportunities. With the maturity of the Internet, there are now web sites and services dedicated entirely to business and personal networking and the people that have embraced these formats are reaping the rewards in a big way. The next generation of the global workforce will already know which companies they want to work for and will probably have first-hand accounts of their prospective work environment from a company’s current employees. In addition, these incoming professionals will be extremely mobile in their working lives, changing directions frequently as opportunities arise and their interests evolve. Careers that involve only one or two employers are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, the concept of career as a working life spent in one particular field may also prove to be outdated.
For temporary employees and those that have found success working through staffing firms, the business networking resources that are emerging can be an especially effective tool. This subset of employees may actually benefit more than any other from the information that can be found in developing networking resources, since their work environments are more likely to change and change more often than traditional employees.
In the new world of networking, people are creating and publishing detailed business and/or professional profiles of themselves on the Internet. These profiles are often posted on a web site where other members of the site can search for people with common interests or experiences. The informal nature of the forum setting allows for immediately productive interaction that would be much more difficult to facilitate in a face-to-face meeting. As a result, people can ask pointed questions and get the information that may offer valuable insight into an upcoming professional decision.
In many instances, it’s not only fellow colleagues that are browsing these networking resources. Many of the networking sites are geared toward both employees and employers, making it a neutral meeting ground for both sides of the business equation to learn about one another and assess the potential of a future working partnership. These dynamic and personal networking centers may eventually begin to challenge the ubiquitous job boards and resume-posting portals that currently dominate the online human resources industry. By providing a forum where much more information is exchanged and by exploring the true aspirations of a given potential employee, these networking resources are making it much easier for both employers and employees to find their most suitable match.
As these networking resources continue to grow and evolve, the accepted practices of job hunting and recruiting may change dramatically. Instead of sending out dozens of solicited and unsolicited resumes and posting resumes to large impersonal resume databases, job seekers will create a detailed profile of exactly what they bring to the table and what they are looking for in an employer. Employers will no longer blindly post job openings on job boards, but they will explore the smaller and more refined networking resources that allow an intimate look at the nature of a prospective employee. Networking has always been at the core of professional and personal opportunity, but its true potential is only now being unlocked.