• Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

I was told I need to do "networking"...

Aspea

Active Member
Sorry, I'm venting a little in this thread...

I graduated college years ago without the slightest clue what networking meant, or that "making connections" was even important. I thought that the way it works was like this: Study hard, get good grades, graduate, apply to Job A, the most qualified candidate would then get Job A. The end. I'm still not sure why it doesn't work out that way. Is it because there's way too much competition for the "good jobs," and so there has to be a system to ration and delegate the jobs (other than the most fair way, which is by who is the most qualified)?

I recall a college acquaintance of mine getting an internship position that I was trying to get. I asked him how he got the internship. He said the boss goes to his church. Wow, that really felt unfair.

Because I failed to network (I guess?), I was quite unsuccessful in gaining employment working for others, so I started my own business and became self-employed.

After being self employed for many years, my business is ending, and I am now facing the prospect of looking for a job. I am being told by my tiny group of contacts that I need to do "networking" so that I can discover what career path I need to take. This is a skill I never developed and never fully understood why it was important. Why is it important? How do I do it? Why? What I should expect from it, what I can give to it, etc? I need a Networking 101; is there a class for this? I need to take a class in Networking 101; never heard of such a class.
 
Last edited:

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
What type of business was it, are you still in contact with your former customers ? They are your network and people they know further extend the net work. to net work properly you need to interact with other's Short of being a writer with one publisher this is hard to avoid. A lot of us are loners and networking is difficult, nobody answers their phone unless they know you,
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
What makes a person more "qualified" than another? That is individualized with respect to the culture of the business. Usually, when that business means working with a team and/or the public,..."people skills" are put up as "high priority". So, in the example of a new graduate,...got his/her degree, did well in school, went to a good school,...but,...so did a bunch of other candidates. The next question the employer has is, "What is the likelihood that this person will work well with myself and my team?" "What else does this "qualified" person bring to the team to make it stronger?"

I do know for a fact that employers, especially when faced with multiple candidates, will begin to look at the "other things" that may suggest a good "team player". In school, were you a student tutor? Did you play any sports? Were you in a fraternity/sorority? Did you work throughout school? Were you a church youth leader? It could be anything. If you received top grades AND were involved in other things besides sitting in your room and studying,...it pushes you towards the head of the line. If not,...back of the line. Frankly, many would rather interview a candidate with a "3.5 GPA" over a "3.9 GPA" if they were active in doing other things besides school work.

Whenever possible, mention all those "extra" things you were involved with,...if not on the application,...do it in the interview. Furthermore,...most people interview from a position of weakness,..."I really need this job." Try not to do this,...rather, interview from a position of power,..."I will be an asset to your team because of _____, _____, and ______." Do your homework on the business,...know what they do,...know their customer base,...know their mission statement,...walk in there like you are there to help them accomplish their goals. Flip it around,...interview them,...as if to say, "Why should I work with you?" "What are you offering me?" Obviously, don't be blunt about it like this, but the point being, ask detailed questions about how raises come about, how am I being evaluated, what benefit packages do they offer. "Can you give me a tour?" Seriously,...you have to be interested in them by asking questions. Like I said, do not put yourself in a position of weakness.

Social reciprocity is not a natural thing with many autistics,...but if there is a time to act it out and be an outgoing, interested, interesting, question asking, positive individual,...this would be the time.

If you do a YouTube search for "Job interview from a position of power" you will get several helpful videos.

As an autistic,...I am guessing you don't have a lot of "contacts",...people in the business that you know socially and professionally that you can use as references, open doors for you, or to even "name drop". Some people just are blessed with the "gift of gab" and can walk up to anyone and be their best friend within a few minutes,...and shortly afterward be talking about business opportunities. There are others who are wealthy and have power and influence,...they get more opportunities to "network" as well. If you are new to the "scene",...you don't know anyone,...and you probably won't for a while,...but put yourself in situations where you could meet the "right people" to open up some doors for you. As the saying goes, "Sometimes it's not what you know, but rather who you know."
 
Last edited:

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I took of courses over the years that had experiments to do with team building as this was to be the future, never worked always the brightest person took over. had the best ideas. Even at various jobs saw the same results sounds great in theory never actually saw it work.
Philosophy always sounds great on paper or school i remember they had a philosophy of how science worked and a physicist wrote a paper destroyed it in the sixties. science did not work that way. See Thomas kuhn

you may need the network to get the job, but once your in the networking within the company looks great on paper but if you are a bit of a genius or very good the rest of the people will collate around you, you become the team. IT took me 40 years to see this is how companies really work. Of course someone else gets the promotion who has better social skills.
 
Last edited:

Sherlock77

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm terrible at networking too, but it is very much the way at least some of the business world works

It often is who you know, it's probably just chance (ultimately) that your one friend goes to the same church as you mentioned above...

Job search itself? I have always been told that many job openings are not advertised at all, thus networking, just letting people know that you are looking for work...
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Networking is a social skill and that's why I suck at it. People will usually hire the person they'd be comfortable around before they hire the person who is best qualified but feels rough around the edges. They also hire people as a favor to a friend. That creates social capital. If someone likes you enough, they may even create a job you can apply for. Doesn't always happen that way but often enough that'd I'd place bets.

When I got my job at Lockheed (1985) it wasn't because I was a brilliant young engineer. I didn't have a degree at the time, only 6 months of electronics in the military. It was because my landlady worked there, she put in a good word to her boss, then he mentioned me to a department manager who was considering putting on another Jr. Engineer. Defense contractors have been known to smile benevolently at people with military experience.

I was then interviewed by an office manager guy who happened to do maintenance on ICBMs when he was in the military. I knew a LOT about rockets and missiles (special interest!) and I got him off onto that tangent for the entire interview instead of talking engineering. None of which had anything to do with my job description which was Jr. Engineer, Electrical/Electronics.

They posted the job publicly after they decided who they were hiring. That's how a lot of businesses work. There is no choice but to accept it and work within the system.

And so I spent the next 9 years in the Lockheed Skunkworks in Burbank working on all kinds of classified stuff and crawled around thru aircraft that didn't publicly exist because my landlady was afraid I couldn't make the rent. Eventually, they closed the Burbank plant, and soon after there were massive layoffs, but it was really good while it lasted. Nine years almost three decades ago turns into a $400 monthly pension today.

So don't turn your nose up at networking or dumb luck.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm an old retired guy now , years ago I would do research find companies that had paint systems, read trade magazines, determine who the key executive was then send a targeted letter to him/her. my strength was I could write well, was not scared to blow my own horn. detailed out my experience, If I lucked out and reached an fellow techy it would turn into an interview. My last position was on a coil coating line, as was my first position 40 years ago. Some how I lasted 21 years. they had a really high turn over. My trick was I would state what I would do easy for me as I could see every weakness in their process within a few days just had to plan out how I would fix them. kept my mouth shut slowly worked, my long and short term plans. Example next year at this time all the solid colours will no longer have claims. the management would have no idea what I planned to do, just saw the results.
quietly worked in the background formed personal relationships. with suppliers reps. Foreman, tech staff, Engineers, maintenance guys. got them on side networking one on one was my strength. I had no issue sharing the glory when it worked, again see my avatar this sat on my computer for the whole 21 years. My mantra, has always been fail to plan plan to fail.
 
Last edited:

velociraptor

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Networking is a social skill and that's why I suck at it
It can be learned. Not easy, but possible. Suggest starting with Paul Ekman's training. You can learn how others are reacting to you and around you:

 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
One of life's simple truths. It's not so much what you know, but who you know.

Certainly a truth for me. Where all the good jobs I had were strictly a matter of who I knew, regardless of what I knew or what I thought I knew.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
What you know helps, as I did not have good social skills, I made up for it by increasing my education. 3 year diploma in chemical engineering, a further 2 year diploma coatings technician, and a management certificate in quality engineering. Saved my net working skills for on the job have as I have a knack for one on one interactions. I got one job through networking a classmate one in one of my coating's courses. She worked at a testing lab not a good fit for me as I am more suited working on a process that can be improved.
 

VictorR

Random Member
V.I.P Member
The main importance of networking is access to the hidden job market.

If you google “hidden job market” there’s a ton of articles on that topic, but long story short, the majority of jobs are not actually posted (and when when they are posted, as @Au Naturel noted, the advertisement may have been posted merely as a formality when they already have a favored candidate, and the qualification and criteria requirements may be skewed to advantage them).

How might one start with networking?
Talking to anyone in your network, starting with your (good) references from past work, volunteer, and academic experiences, but also pretty much anyone and everyone you encounter. You never know who might know someone who has a position available, and there are a lot more jobs in the hidden job market than are posted publicly. What's better, as you have noted yourself, is that getting a referral from someone who knows the employer will get you a lot further than resume spamming.

On the topic of resume spamming, if you aren't already, try to have a larger "master CV" so you can create customized resumes for different types of jobs, and when writing emails/cover letters, to do a bit of research on the organization so you can show that you have done some homework. Finally, try to write the resume and cover letter using your own format and style. When I used to be a job search coach, I quickly got bored when someone showed me yet another resume written on the MS Word template, and not just any template, but the first one that came up. I can't imagine how someone might feel if they post for a job, and they get 20-30 resumes with the same canned format. Always look to stand out, but in a good way.

Cold call. If there's a field of work you're interested in, call them up to speak to the managers (get the names if possible first, via website or social media), then followup with an short email thanking them for their time. Even if they don't have anything right now, showing that you're a go-getter with courtesy may help you be someone they reach out to when they do have something available.

Interviews - research the company as much as you can, but don't be afraid to disclose (but only if you're comfortable) that you may have difficulties with unanticipated questions and ask if they would be comfortable sharing the interview questions or at least the general topics ahead of time, and if not, to ask if they could at least refrain from random hypothetical questions like "if you were a fruit what would you be and why?" since those can be very frustrating for those on the spectrum, and they serve little or no real value in assessing whether the candidate would be a good fit. Also, there's lots of lists of commonly asked questions online, and try to do some mock interviews for different types of jobs (and employment resource centres can help with this).

Now to address the other question:

I thought that the way it works was like this: Study hard, get good grades, graduate, apply to Job A, the most qualified candidate would then get Job A. The end. I'm still not sure why it doesn't work out that way. Is it because there's way too much competition for the "good jobs," and so there has to be a system to ration and delegate the jobs (other than the most fair way, which is by who is the most qualified)?

I recall a college acquaintance of mine getting an internship position that I was trying to get. I asked him how he got the internship. He said the boss goes to his church. Wow, that really felt unfair.

How does one determine the most qualified candidate? Even if two candidates went to the same college and took the same courses, they may have had different profs who graded differently. Add to that the complexities such as different colleges may have different grading scales (is a 85 a "B+", an "A-", or an "A"?), and scaling, and that these can even vary between departments, and all we're discussing so far is how to compare grades. I suppose one could build an algorithm to sort things out and assign each candidate a numeric value, but that sounds like work.

That stated, we can use things like GPAs, job titles, and years of experience as proxies to sort and shortlist candidates that we wish to consider further. But we might still have too many candidates to choose from.

Like it or not, but stereotypes and affinity bias (which, by the way, is mentioned in the course in my signature line) play a big role in hiring decisions. So that person you hired with an X degree from Y college turned out to be a superstar, there's a good chance you're going to look for others with that background. You're also more likely to give preference to those whom you share affinity with - you know and trust yourself, and so people who have things in common, be it hometown/state, college alumnus, religious affiliation, sports, hobbies, etc. This effect is magnified the closer the affinity is, so going to the same church will be much more valuable than just belonging to the same denomination.

Most people struggle with affinity bias, and so it's a matter of fact. But "if you can't beat them, join them" - and if you are genuinely interested in say rocks and minerals, join a local rockhound club. Instant affinity contacts and network.

Something I also cannot stress enough is that knowledge and skills can often be trained. Being someone who looks like they'll fit in is important. Quite often, this means sharing affinities with staff already there. But sometimes, a manager may be seeking to balance out a team. I got one job in part because I had a very different background from the other staff and candidates - the manager later told me that I was not one of the strongest candidates, but I was one of the more unique ones and they felt that I could, and that I did, with my differing background and experiences, helped bring balance to the team and helped counter groupthink.

And if you're able to get to the interview, you can also try to create affinity out of research. Study everything you can about the organization, their history, their products and services, their involvement in the community. Show that you are already dedicated to them and their corporate culture and can parachute in. I've gotten jobs this way and have also had clients (when I was a job search coach) get jobs through this method as well.

Good luck!
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Believe me being an Aspie is an edge, I before I retired the company actually the president heard a full time quality engineer would be useful, I was a straight A student in the quality courses, Asked to be considered for the position they hired an outside candidate, no experience on coil lines I just wanted a desk job. I retired a couple of years latter, and the the senior vice president asked me to stay on. He knew who the real expert was. after the stroke the president is now worried I will pass on what I did to a competitor. that is how real life works.
 

Fino

Alex
V.I.P Member
My current two jobs were both gotten because of someone I knew through college. Almost every job I actually apply to, I'm rejected.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
with my experience and education interviews were easy to get landing the job took a bit more work Aspie traits, most likely the issue. Once I got the job game changer. hopefully over the years I've built up a good reputation for our community. net working is not our strength, sounds great in principle, so do not get too obsessed with it much like dating we have to find our own ways of doing things. What works for NT's does not work for us. So go with your strengths. worked great for me changed positions a number of times.
 
Last edited:

Aspea

Active Member
Wow, this thread is a gold mine of information. I have learned a lot here.

#1: Who you know, not what you know. I learned this lesson when my college associate got the internship and I didn't. I didn't understand why this was so until my 30s, and still finding out/learning.

#2: Networking is to access the hidden job market. Ok, I was staaaaaaaarrrrrting to suspect this after applying to about 25 jobs so far, but you guys confirmed it. Thank you! I learned something here today. Of course, this does leave a lot of questions to be answered. If there is a "hidden" job market, how can I assess the level of demand for a given job? If I pursued that job, how much competition would I face? If I was deciding whether or not to go back to school and earn a higher degree so that I could work in a given field, how can I determine if all the time and money devoted to furthering my education would be worth it?

#3: People hire the person they are more comfortable with even if that person may be less qualified. I suspected that too. Thank you for confirming it. And regarding social capital, I do not really understand social capital that well.

#4: Job ads are posted but they already decided who to hire: this confirms the experiences I've been having recently in which I reply to a job ad and there is absolutely no response to me or any of the other candidates--complete radio silence.

#5: Keeping your mouth shut when you see where a process can be improved. Ronald, you're much smarter than I was! I got fired from a job because I opened my big mouth, blurted out to my boss immediately that they could upgrade their system to another one which was faster. I was canned the next day. I had no idea why and it made me bitter. I was unable to learn from this and many other blunders until many years later when I read some books about autism/asperger.

#6: Who is the most qualified is subjective. It seemed so clear back then; to me, the most qualified person was the person who had done the best in college, had the best grades, had the most knowledge about the particular needs of that job, was the smartest, and had the most eagerness to learn. But yeah, all these years later I can see that is not necessarily the case; there are many other considerations, so this matter is not as clear-cut as I had thought it was.

I will definitely be checking out Dr Paul Ekman, and Autism and Neurodiversity in the Workplace.

Thanks so much for all the helpful tips everyone!
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Believe it or not after a couple of months on the job on a assembly plant for pick up trucks I stated I would have the best run plant pretreatment chemicals 18 assembly plant in Ontario. at the company Christmas party. see me next year. each plant chemicals sampled once a week . Big boss come see me next party with stunned look on his face my plant had the best results, even better than the Japanese plants the company supplied too. yes I have a big mouth, backed it up. they hired me as they were trying a experiment reverse onus on chemicals I told them I was the guy they needed saw article in trade magazine automotive industry wanted to pass on control of thier systems to the suppliers. Only a Aspie, which I did not know I was could have did this, more than just school knowledge. I have an innate ability to read processes.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Going back to school to increase your education will just result in more debt.so you must target the type of position and then target the education required for this position, fail to plan plan to fail. Always worked for me.
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You will like this I have meet many engineers over my career, when it comes to manufacturing positions most are frustrated. they are trained to design the process from scratch. not improve it, on my last position two engineers were hired, on the same day as QC inspectors, On thought the job was beneath him, the other asked me for advice
I told him learn the process and get a good understanding of colour gave him a text book to read. Now that I'm retired looked both of them up on Linkedin one got fired still looking for work, second got promoted to foreman.

The quality courses are standardized offered up here in colleges, small classes may be 20 students most with engineering backgrounds of some sort. it sounds like with you background you would enjoy them. the other courses I mentioned in the private correspondence are on line. Available any where in the world, developed here.
game changer if you want to break into this industry. Like I said pays well lots of positions what I did breaks into two segments post paint, cars, appliances etc. hanging parts on a line them painting with slow hard to control or the second is prepaint or coil coating, Only started in the sixties, the future of painting, still growing lots of room for experts. Like was told at the beginning of my career look around they paint every thing. I personally watched appliances painted in factories with a paint line full of hourly employees, switch over to coil handful of hourly skilled
employees A automotive line costs hundreds of millions to build new coil line maybe 30 million low cost low overhead, pay well if you have the expertise which is not hard to obtain.
 
Last edited:

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Who you know will help you get a job.

What you know is still important. I have worked with people with a BSEE who could not engineer their way out of a paper bag. You don't want to be that person. It was extremely annoying and irritating.

We did a lot of what we called "plastic drawer engineering." We had to slap together prototypes on breadboards quickly and we had to use whatever components were in the plastic drawers of our parts cabinets. Those components often did not match what the schematic called for.

And then I discovered the engineer (BSEE from Harvey Mudd College) I was working with on one project didn't really understand Ohm's law, let alone capacitive and inductive reactance. Heavy sigh!
 

Ronald Zeeman

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
My younger brother retired, a fellow Aspie is an electronics engineering technologist his special interest was electronics when he was younger, now it is finance, stoke market. Very successful before he retired a company hired him to design original equipment for automotive assembly plants tells me with the internet and off the shelf parts no need to be an Engineer, way over educated. Sort of agree with him us technologists are better fits for most companies. Company went bankrupt when he left. Even through he worked just for fun did not have to pay him. He sounds a lot like you. The OP has some idea and a workable plan has a good base to start with combined with the right aptitude and hope fully attitude, should work. most of my plans work, that's how I got my youngest son through school and on his way in life despite a learning disability, He is an electro-mechanical technologist doing very well. did not repeat some of my early mistakes.

Solving mysteries real life not games and working a plan are my favourite activities. Helping others is also fun.
 
Last edited:

New Threads

Top Bottom