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If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times – when it comes to job hunting, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. The idea of networking for the sake of job opportunities is as old as jobs themselves, and even if it’s just meant going out for a pint with people in your industry, it’s always been good practice to make connections so that, if and when opportunities arise, you can take advantage of them.
But, in a world where Zoom cocktail hour is at best a waste of time and at worst leaves you feeling worse than you did going into it, people are figuring out new ways to make those connections digitally.
Enter whisper networks. Think of whisper networks as sort of like chat rooms or subreddits. They’re online forums run through any number of platforms with really any number of community members. But those community members share an industry (or, more likely, a subset of a particular field within a particular industry). So, members in these whisper networks can help each other solve problems, cut through red tape or even find a new jobs.
Generally, whisper networks have a lot of benefits. For workers, they get a fast-tracked way of applying to a job in a more noticeable way than, say, a LinkedIn application, which rarely stands out. For employers, they can target a specific set of people with a subset of knowledge, and the odds of finding the right person are higher.
There is a problem, though, and it’s that these networks tend to be invite-only, meaning that moderators get the final say on who stays and who goes. And recruiting experts say this can mean diversity in these groups is lower than in the general population of qualified people, meaning you get a less diverse set of applicants.
For better or worse, though, the job hunt is changing. And with the internet by our side, networking is entering a new era.