According to the GroupM’s annual forecast over advertising spending and growth, they forecast global spending to increase to 3.6%, or $543.7 billion in 2019. Additionally, GroupM also forecasts North American spending to grow 2.4% to nearly $211 billion. These numbers signal a significant increase in demand for more advertising this year, which translates into employment growth. Now that a new fiscal year has begun, agencies are looking at universities for prospective new hires to bring into the fold. Equally, students are eager to land internships with agencies to turn into potential job offers. While it might seem intuitive that students simply just apply to every opportunity and hope for the best, many individuals lack a fundamental ability that can critically reshape their internship or job hunting experience, and it is called “networking.”
Over the years a lot of stigma has built up around the topic of networking as a superficial tactic that involves one person using another individual’s social, professional or political status for personal gain, with little intention of establishing a meaningful relationship. Often times, millennials, generations y and z are criticized by older generations as relying on this social cue because they’re viewed as lacking the necessary skills to acquire quality jobs in the professional sector. Networking is the ability to build a relationship founded upon common values and interests between two persons or groups. Networking offers people a way to build a personal community of resourceful people across various industries and jobs. In advertising, networking is a fundamental aspect of the industry that is used daily and professionally with clients, colleagues and even vendors to achieve a multitude of goals. For prospective new hires, networking is an intelligent way to bridge connections to agency recruiters for information regarding open positions and opportunities that matriculate on a rapid pace. So if networking can be so lucrative and beneficial, why do people not network?
According to Barbara Safani, a human resource manager at The Career Experts, people often don’t network for several reasons: they don’t want to ask for a favor; fear of rejection; lack of awareness regarding the effectiveness of networking; not comfortable talking with people they don’t know; want to network on their own; uncomfortable talking about themself; lack of knowledge regarding the process of networking; and expecting things to move quickly in expediting the job hunting process. Sound familiar? Safani explains that people’s fear of networking means asking others to give you a job, but “this is not goal of networking…when you network, you never ask for a job, you ask for information about an industry, company or position.” She notes that sixty percent of the population considers themselves shy. When people are shy or introverted, they will be less likely to engage in networking with individuals. Her article points out that one of the biggest reasons people don’t network is because they don’t know how to engage with the person they want to network with.
Networking should always start small. Simply reaching out to someone, or saying hello and introducing yourself is a great icebreaker that has little to no cost for the initiator. Students looking for jobs or internships should find recruiters for the agencies they’re interested in on LinkedIn’s social network when they’re considering applying. In advertising, this is critical because it helps foster a positive perception of interest in a company. More importantly, recruiters are looking to build a pool of different applicants that might be a good fit for specific positions they’re trying to fill. Reaching out to a recruiter will also help bring your name to the top of their mind. Human resource teams sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes on a weekly basis. When a prospective applicant reaches out, they are positioning themselves to be more accessible to an agency by creating dialogue that goes beyond black letters printed on a sheet of paper.
Networking provides people with an avenue to tap into a growing industry. As billions of dollars are continuously invested in advertising agencies, more human capital will be needed to meet the demand for advertisers. Agencies are looking for new-hires with insights on technology, culture, and social trends to bridge the gap between advertisers and consumers. Networking offers agencies and individuals an efficient way to establish a community of like-minded professionals across industries, and showcase the diverse skills of the prospective employee. Additionally, networking should be considered as a professional tool that can help facilitate and optimize the job hunting experience.