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Job hunting? Who you know is important, expert says

Posted March 17, 2011

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— When trying to land a job in a tough economy, who you know can often be more important than your resume.

Three employees at At-Home Assessments, a Raleigh company that sells home medical equipment, got their jobs the same way.

“Through networking, just talking to people (and) letting them know you are looking for a job,” said Jill Mulder, who started as a sales representative in February.

John O'Connor, a career counselor in Raleigh, says successful networking means thinking creatively and meeting people who may be outside your field.

“Go to things you're passionate about, that you care about, something that may spark a commonality with someone who might know someone who's at this company,” he said.

That person might have a heads up about an unlisted position, where most of the openings are.

“The big search engines, I don't think I’ve ever seen percentages of (more than) 3 to 6 percent of jobs listed there,” O’Connor said.

Networking is key in job hunt Networking is key in job hunt

Hiring managers take employee referrals seriously when they're filling those positions, he said, so it's important to nurture a network with quality relationships.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to that person in the grocery store, just talk to anybody. Just be open and positive,” Mulder said.

In a highly competitive job market, O'Connor says be ready to communicate your value to a company quickly and effectively. Always focus on what you can offer them, and, if you hear about a job opening in your network, try to contact the hiring manager as soon as possible.

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  • jarheadrod Mar 22, 2011

    This article is right on target. There is much more needed today to land that ideal job, or even an in between job, than just hitting someone up with your resume. Networking - and John not only preaches it, he lives it. He not only takes the time to show you "how", but provides the leads you need for your particular field in order for you to be at the right place at the right time, so you can network. It is about being passionate about "you".

    As a career coach, John has provided me numerous networking opportunities, as well as helped me find what I am truly good at. In my honest opinion, John is the most forward thinking expert at social networking in the Triangle. Sometimes, I think he knows just about everybody!

  • spindtr Mar 22, 2011

    I have had the opportunity to work with John a number of times. The overriding theme in promoting yourself or in my case my business is that no one thing produces maximum resulting. Rather, it is the constant adaptation of your strategy to acheive your goal. The world around us changes by the minute in order to keep up and be competitive your must change also. I was asked what one needed to do in order to find a good job....everything. You must do what everyone else is doing then do more...John understands this and pushes people to do more! The information that I gleaned from John and has lead to unimaginable success, a seven minute interview/promo with the President, White House Press release and article in USA Today on page 15A....who knows where this will lead us!

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/27267611/detail.html

    Mark D. Crawmer
    Business Development

    mobile: 910-583-1797
    email: markc@rhinoassembly.com
    website: www.rhinoassembly.com

    5900-T Harris Technology Blvd.
    Charlotte, N

  • dbass3 Mar 21, 2011

    O'Connor right about the value of networking in a job search. You have to get out there and talk to lots of people - the right people based on your interests. Does he provide one-on-one coaching for folks less familiar or less comfortable with this sort of networking? Would be a great service.

  • akgetter Mar 21, 2011

    Mr. O'Connor gives us a great reminder to think creatively and to remember that opportunities are out there! He makes a great point that as we go through our daily routines, we should pay attention to those around us. As an employer, I would much rather higher a referral through networking than take a shot from a random resume.

  • mindreadersnyder Mar 18, 2011

    John O'Connor is passionate about networking and he knows what he is talking about, since I have seen him push and prod and then continue to push and prod his clients until they become relentless about networking. Folks have to realize you just can't give up. You have to keep marching. It is usually the contact you least expect to be helpful who will deliver the connection you have been waiting for.

  • jraxlin Mar 18, 2011

    Mr. O'Connor is right on the money. Networking to get a job is the new paradigm. With all the competition for jobs, you need to know somebody. Your best bet is to seek out a "Master Networker" who can connect you to who and what you want. Ask your friends if they know such a person and would they make an introduction for you. The name of the game is leveraging other people's networks. JRAX

  • gmeny Mar 18, 2011

    Clearly in today's job market an introduction by a trusted colleague, or even knowing a current employee of the potential employer is very important. I think John is very good and gets it.....That help is often critical, presenting your best face forward to a new potential employer thru a networking contact. I do believe that some recruiters know the gauntlet and, as a current client, John works through it, discovering and contacting, if he doesn't already know, the ultimate decision maker(s). That is what I need in a recruiter/career service pro. Press on. This piece is very well done and it doesn't have me stopping all the networking that I can do personally. It encourages more. GregM

  • eshack1 Mar 18, 2011

    I think the report is dead on. I would add that bringing positive energy, karma and attitude to networking is key.

    People generally want to help, to know and to work with folks who they like and trust and many of my deepest personal and professional relationships started with me doing the supporting. Later on, the favor was returned in spades. Something that some of the people posting here might want to consider. Negativity will close doors fast.

  • thackerb Mar 18, 2011

    I think what he is saying is very true, especially in today's job market. 10 years ago there wasn't as much competition between applicants and staffing agencies and career boards. Today there are 1,000 applicants, 20 staffing agencies, and 10 career boards all after the same position. The only way to get around the recruiting bottleneck is to know someone. Networking couldn't be more important.

  • john41 Mar 18, 2011

    Thanks for these comments and I was very happy to work with WRAL-TV on this story. The story was not intended to be a fully rendered workshop on all that it takes to network,and build relationships. So if you would like to learn more about what you might do Career Pro Inc. would be happy to email more tips for Free to anyone who needs more!

    To atozka I would say that despite today's 8.3% unemployment numbers in the Triangle that, in general, things are getting better. The point of the story that verde picked up on focuses on creating value in the relationships that you already have. To create new relationships that may matter in your search can be very tough, intimidating and make you feel like nobody wants to help.

    A couple more tips to further help - I would suggest going a lot deeper in your networking through: Creating a Strong Linked In Profile and Plan, Developing a Powerful Resume and Adapting That Resume to Each Job, Refining Your Networking Around Key Online and Offline Co

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