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by Vault Careers | December 06, 2011


By Debra Feldman 

You’ve probably heard too many times that the best way to find a new job, especially in today’s highly competitive environment is through networking. What if you don’t have a good network or your contacts are not able to help you?

The right connections are individuals who have the authority to hire you or introduce you to these decision makers. Usually they are employees or former employees and retirees of your target companies or others who may have internal connections. This includes those affiliated with the company or who know insiders such as vendors, suppliers, partners, consultants, bankers, auditors, customers, investors, advertisers, marketing and PR agencies, authors, board members, neighbors of employees, employees at competitors, etc.

The hardest part for most prospective candidates is figuring out where to begin a job search that will be effecive and efficient leading to a timely and acceptable offer. Below are outlined the steps to Network Purposefully and produce the right networking connections; contacts who will not only help you identify a new job now, but if you maintain these relationships and the interactions continue to be mutually beneficial, then you can also expect to find out about future opportunites, even while you are working and may not be an active job hunter.

Your network is like career insurance; your contacts can continue to mentor you, recommend you, recruit you, refer you, guide you, support you and help you stay up to date on industry trends and needs for new talent as companies restructure, change, grow, merge or move in new directions that require more and/or different resources. Your connections know you and are aware of your capabilities. It is not just what you know or who you know, but who knows and has the authority to hire you.

By keeping in touch, you will build up trust, be able to provide assistance, stay top of mind and maintain vital relationships. You may never have to look for a new job again because you will be invited to participate in solving challenges with and for people in your network. You can also volunteer yourself for attractive new career opportunites before a position is officially available. You are more likely to be in the right place at the right time if you are always there.

1. Begin choosing target employers

 How many? No fewer than 3-5 and keep it to a manageable number. You can always add to the list once you get some feedback and understand the employer market better. Emphasize quality of relationships over their quantity. Position yourself as a valuable, go-to expert so that you are memorable.

2. Select companies where you can make a positive contribution

... and where your potential contribution can be appreciated because you have relevant background, skills, knowledge that should be obvious to the employer. If switching fields or changing roles, then be sure to show how your past achievements make you qualified for the position you want next.

3. Research the companies

Identify their challenges. Ascertain the corporate culture and that you are a good fit.

4. Prepare a presentation

Your resume and talking points should show how you can solve company problems and/or demonstrate your ability to increase profits, reduce costs or improve process.

5. Contact a company insider

(See above description) and share your interest with them. Ask them to help you prepare to meet with the appropriate hiring manager and ask if they will recommend you. It is always an advantage to be referred by a mutual contact especially if they can endorse you.

6. Follow up

After you meet, be sure to send a thank you note and to follow up as suggested. Organizations change and needs for new talent is unpredictable. You want to stay on their radar by periodically reminding them of your continuing interest.

7. Keep active in your industry

Read, discuss, study, research, volunteer, etc. Be visible: comment on blogs, write to the editor, go to meetings, make presentations, volunteer at events, etc. Repeat these steps until you land a job, and then maintain your connections because they are your career insurance forever. 

This process works. It is reliable and produces results. Remember the bonus: in addition to identifying your next position in the hidden job market, if you network purposefully you create lifetime career insurance, connections to stay on the inside track. Any future transition is easier because you have already developed and have kept in touch with targeted contacts.

Eighty percent of positions are never advertised; these are the hidden job market. With the right network, you will be aware of and can access unadvertised jobs even when you do not need a new job.


Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally recognized executive talent agent and job search expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, customized senior level executive campaigns that provide lifetime career insurance.. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ -- executed with high energy and savvy panache – banishes employment roadblocks, expands inside connections and leverages virtual relationships to accelerate targeted leads within the hidden job market. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that eliminate gatekeepers and put you back in control. Contact Debra now at to expedite your professional ascent!