Networking, Networking, Networking

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

3 min readNov 30, 2020

Today, it seems that all you hear about is networking being the preferred and most effective method to find a job or make a career change. This might be true on the surface; however, if you stop and think about it, the overall emphasis on networking is the direct result of an existing broken system. Just go to any job transition site or career fair and ‘networking’ is mentioned in an overabundance.

I recently heard an owner of US Government defense services contracting company tell a forum of transitioning servicemembers and Veterans that “…if you’re not networking; you’re not working...” Although that was quite the pithy statement and repeated throughout his remarks, it is absolutely misguided and lazy advice. What he was really saying, perhaps unbeknownst to him, is that the current job searching and career development systems in place are not working and that your future completely depends on chance and circumstance. In essence, he was giving the attendees false hope in a solution that doesn’t apply to all.

Don’t get me wrong, networking is a very effective and powerful engagement tool. When given the opportunity everyone should take full advantage of it. However, and unfortunately, those opportunities are few and far between for most individuals. And, most certainly not a scalable solution to an underlying and endemic problem. Even with the proliferation of social media channels, not everyone is connected to the right network or that right person. Furthermore, it wouldn’t take long for the effectiveness of networking to get diluted if everyone was engaged in the art of networking. Most individuals would respond to someone’s networking request occasionally but not on a continous basis. It would quickly become a burden — for both sides.

The Solution to the Root Cause

The answer is not doubling down on networking. As stated earlier, networking is not scalable, and it would eventually collapse in on itself. In my October 7, 2020, article, The Song Remains The Same — Military Hiring, I discuss the fundamental and endemic problem with how labor demand (jobs) and labor supply (people) align for job seekers and employers from a military hiring perspective. The problem stems from the overall archaic, chaotic, and analog nature of job searching where resumes and job descriptions tend to be the only currencies to match jobs with qualified applicants. The answer lies in the creation of an automated labor data exchange that is capable of exchanging massive amounts of labor demand and supply data on a scalable basis. And, this is exactly what the people at Oplign have done.

About the Author: After a military career and many years as an executive in the defense services industry, Jeff Gibson and his colleagues have built and currently running Oplign, LLC. Oplign is a labor data analytics company that is dedicated to changing the behavior on how individuals find jobs and companies optimize their labor force. Click here to learn more.