Local News

Job hunting? Who you know is important, expert says

Posted March 17, 2011 2:49 p.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2011 6:23 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.