If you live in PEI, you’ve heard your neighbour or your father or your aunt or your grandmother say at one time or another, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!”
The sad truth of the matter is that when you live in such a tiny province as we do, that statement is (almost) entirely true.
Now, the reason we qualify that with an “(almost)” is because it’s true to an extent.
First, let’s back up a minute and talk about what the phrase means in the context of finding work . . . ya know . . . just in case you haven’t heard it before.
Let us break down the statement, shall we?
It’s not what you know. This suggests that your skills don’t matter. Your learning only gets you so far. What you know doesn’t matter. Yadda yadda yadda. See now why we added the “(almost)” clause? This part isn’t entirely fair because, to a certain extent, it does matter that you know stuff.
It’s who you know. This means that if you have the right connections—if your social circles are worth a lick—you have a contact somewhere who will get you a job, regardless of whether you have any skills. Again, this really only applies if you’re a hirable person and you happen to know people who work in jobs that are hiring.
So, what does it really come down to?
The Hidden Job Market
If you’re of an age and stage where you’re searching for job opportunities, you’ve probably subscribed to N3XT Job where you get text messages keeping you informed about recent job postings. If not, you’re possibly still doing things the old fashioned way by reading the classifieds of The Guardian, searching the Job Bank, or relying on employment fairies or carrier pigeons to drop opportunities into your lap.
Maybe you’re of the understanding that these jobs—the advertised ones—are the only jobs available in PEI.
If you believe that, then you clearly have yet to learn about PEI’s hidden job market.
Many employers don’t have any need to advertise job openings because they already know who they want to hire. Maybe it’s a relative or a friend of a friend. Maybe it’s so-and-so who works with what’s-his-name’s brother’s mechanic’s wife. Other times, the employer in question already has a stack of resumes to choose from when an opening comes up, or they’ve possibly been approached by their kids’ soccer coach’s babysitter expressing interest in working at whatever fictional place this is that we’re talking about.
This happens in a lot of cases. More than you could even imagine.
So, how can you use the whole “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” thing to your advantage?
Here are some tips for those of you wishing to work in PEI at some point in the future:
- Keep your nose VERY clean
- Try to stay out of the court reports
- Don’t get a criminal record
- Be nice to everybody—you never know who you encounter who may end up being a potential employer one day (the nose you put out of joint today could be attached to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow)
- Take every job you do get seriously
- Make it known to important people in your life where you want to work and that you are ambitious enough to have a job
- Create a resume and drop it off directly to places you’re interested in working—whether or not they’re hiring at the moment
- Be careful about what you say in social media because you don’t know who out there watching you has the potential to hand you your dream job one day
- Make it known that you’re looking for work
Doesn’t sound all that difficult, does it?
What’s the best “who you know” story you’ve heard of?
Photo credit: hebergersite