By John Holmgren,

Overview – The problem

Newspapers and online bulletin boards are fine for locating ordinary jobs. However, an open secret is that the best positions rarely appear there. With thousands of resumes posted online in virtually every discipline, and employer searches done by keywords, your resume suffers long odds of getting you a job interview.

So, how do you find the hidden premier positions? Answer: networking. Networking is contacting everyone you know, and many you don’t, in the search for your next job.

Purpose of Networking

Get to the top of the candidate list with the assist of a personal referral
Broaden your opportunity by letting people know you are looking
Locate the not widely publicized prime level job opportunities in your industry

Networking With Whom?

Build your 100 person network; try to get into each contact’s network. It’s the most efficient way to locate the most desirable jobs
Contact: family, friends, acquaintances, librarians, waiters, neighbors, union members, class mates, professors, athletic club members
Contact: past and present employers / fellow employees
Contact: professional association membership, college employment office
Contact: your state’s congressional delegation’s offices, local business associations, the SBA, Chambers of Commerce, church and community volunteer groups, state employment department

The Networking Process

Contact targeted members of your network by phone or letter
Best of all; ask a mutual friend to introduce you
Introduce yourself; state the reason for the contact
Say that your meeting will be less than 30 minutes
Ask to have your resume critiqued
Request another lead (always!)
Know every organization in your geographic area that could employ you
Contact human resources; if they aren’t hiring they frequently know who is
Keep records: contact dates; follow-up schedule; meetings planned; letters and resumes sent, referrals you’ve received; from whom and to whom
Attend networking breakfasts and meetings that are person-to-person, not business-to-business
Build your web site; include your resume
Be sure to include recruiters. Among others, “Kennedy’s Directory of Executive Recruiters” lists agencies specializing in your career area and geography.

The Networking Conclusion

Having accepted a new position, write your entire network with the good news. Thank each one for the help given. Offer to do the same for another person who is looking.