Monday column: How networking can help graduates get their dream jobs

Opinion Sunday 05/November/2023 21:55 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: How networking can help graduates get their dream jobs

Many graduates are now looking for a job but getting one is not an easy task when thousands of job seekers are chasing limited vacancies.

However, in places like Oman, the adage ‘it is not what you know matters but who you know” gets you connected in almost anything worthwhile if you know to pull the right strings. But these ‘strings’ do not just drop from the sky on your lap.

A fresh graduate needs to get busy to build a network of people who are well connected in the jobs hierarchy. It seems like a formidable task but it is not really hard if you put your wits together. Having said that, young graduates would tell you they already know about it. Their quick answer will be that they are now connected to top people such as the Chief Executive Officers in the social media like LinkedIn.

Then why are they still looking for a job?

But what they do not understand is that while the online connections can be useful but there are many limitations. Nothing can take the place of a physical contact like a good grip of a handshake when you meet new people in seminars or other social functions. But again, even the professional circles like that may not be enough.

Here in Oman, what would really get you connected are the traditional social gatherings that still bring people together for many centuries. The mosques, funerals, weddings, Eid feasts or even the village squares or marketplaces during the weekends. But most young people, unfortunately, do not think these gatherings are important.

They stay away from them thinking they are not important in their lives. But in Oman, tradition still looms large in networking. I am not exaggerating by saying most of the top executives get the jobs from this spider web of networking. So are the newly elected members of the Shura Council.

Again, to remind young job seekers, while posting your CV online is important but if the person considering your application is not in your social circle than you have only half a chance of landing a job. As a matter of fact, expatriates who are living in Oman would tell you it is the same trend that is being practiced in their countries. Maybe a little more extensive here in Oman.

But having said that, it still appears that it is a hurdle for graduates to get in the employment ladder on their own merits. But on closer scrutiny, graduates need to dig deeper from their own initiatives to get themselves employed.  No one would hand over a position to them by just waiting for it to happen. They need to do more than that.

One area that they can do something in their lives is to get into small businesses and this is where they can open up new opportunities for themselves. You may argue that small trades also need social networking skills to get themselves going in the struggling stages. But at least, they would open up an alternative route to make a living instead of looking for a job with or without the help of social networking.