• Sridhar Rajendran

Day 17 — Value of real-world networking

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Social networks are not all hyped as they are

Image credit: Pexels

After churning out resumes faster than a newspaper mill and not hearing back from anyone, I thought — “What more could I do?”. Lo and behold, LinkedIn. I was already applying to jobs on it, why not reach out to the recruiters directly or better yet the hiring manager. And so for the first time in my life, I purchased a Premium account on LinkedIn.

Besides applying for jobs, I sent an InMail to the recruiters. Like a crazy ex, I tracked down the design team in the company that was hiring and reached out to a few of them. Some of them did reply back. The job opening was either filled or put on hold or I didn’t qualify for it. Any response, even a rejection is better than no response.

I tracked the success rate of the InMails and connection requests I sent to people. It was quite low. Most people use LinkedIn when they are job hunting and not to maintain an active network. So most of the mails I sent to the design team never saw the light of the day or had delayed response. As for recruiters, they were quite active but didn’t share any feedback.

After a month of frantic messages and LinkedIn-addiction, I decided to turn off the Premium account. The return on investment(ROI) did not justify it. 

People trust and respond to people they meet in real-life more than on the Internet. 

So I attended every design related meet-up in the town.

It didn’t matter if I already knew the topic, had an interest or if it was relevant or how far it was. Over time there were a couple of regulars I bumped into, who turned out to be good friends and helped me in my job search. They saw my interest and the work I have done, so they were more inclined to refer me to a job that came up. I am quite thankful for the valuable connections I built through these networking events. Some turned out to be mentors, some peers, few fakes (avoid) and even some mentees. While I had not reached my destination at this point, I was still ahead of the starting line, where most wannabe designers were. I shared my mistakes and learnings and assisted in whatever way I could.

Never trust the ones that proclaim they loooooooove to mentor people. Empty vessels do make more noise. Trust the quiet, calm person; they are genuinely helpful most often.

I spent most of my days on applying for jobs on LinkedIn/ Glassdoor/ Crewkarma, attending meet-ups and working on more projects. Things did get monotonous after a few days and I questioned myself, “Do I still want to do this?” The answer was always YES. And so I strode on despite the sound of crickets — loud and clear.