Debra Feldman

Supercharge Your Job Search Results

Seven easy steps show you how.

August 18, 2011
by Debra Feldman

Whether you are actively or casually looking for a new career opportunity now, it should be apparent that it’s an employer’s market and very competitive. The number of candidates with the essential qualifications far outnumber employer’s hiring needs. Companies are hesitant to add new permanent staff. External headhunters have become a rare luxury for many companies with limited recruiting budgets. In-house corporate recruiters working on talent acquisition have been reduced. Advertised postings are flooded with applications. Almost no one at any level of seniority feels immune from a layoff, lengthy time in transition, doubt about the future and uncertainty about a future career path.

Friends’ personal recommendations fill most jobs today. They tell colleagues when a job is available and through these connections, the word goes out to the network and names are submitted well before the news hits the corporate website or online job boards. This makes competition extremely stiff, if not near impossible, for listed openings.

There is a silver lining in using networking to find a new job in this economy – it allows you to  seize this chance as well as create a lifetime career insurance. What does this mean? While there is no sure protection against involuntary changes, your network, i.e., your connections, continue to be your “best insurance” in providing you with new job leads. Your network knows you, appreciates you, remembers your performance, supports your reputation and enjoys recommending you. Your connections are your career insurance. Not only your mentors, but also the source of new job leads.

With so few openings and across-the-board recruiting budget cuts, current employees’ personal contacts are a continuous, cost effective and efficient way to source new team members. A personal recommendation always goes far towards establishing credibiity and engendering trust. Oftentimes word-of-mouth travels in advance of an official announcement, which means that potential candidates with connections get in the door first.

A personal referral often propels inside candidates onto the short list. Then, they can meet with the hiring decision-maker, present their interest and have their qualifications seriously evaluated. A position might be redesigned for one particular individual’s backgound to make it more attractive for him or her to say yes to the job offer. Once on the inside track, prospective employees may not only land an immediate offer, but are also positioned for early knowledge about any future opportunities provided they stay in touch and continue to add value to their networking relationships.

Seven Easy Steps Guaranteed to Supercharge Job Search Results

But what if you don’t have a network to help you crack the hidden job market? There is only one option; create targeted contacts. Here are seven steps to launch an executive job search based on a very focused, targeted network-based strategy:

  1. Identify a short list of target employers where you want to work and where your potential contribution will be appreciated: good matches for you and for the companies you like.
  2. Renew your relationships with people affiliated with your target companies, including current and former employees, relatives of employees, vendors, consultants, clients, etc.
  3. Develop verbal and written presentations documenting how you can provide solutions to each target company’s challenges.
  4. Deliver this value proposition to the hiring decision-maker at each employer or to a connection who can pass along your ideas and arrange a meeting with the right inside contact.
  5. Follow up on a regular basis. Stay in touch by continuing the dialogue not by asking about any new openings. Introduce your new contacts to individuals you know who they might like meeting.
  6. Monitor company news and news about your contacts so that you have a reason to have a conversation, ask a question, send congratulations, volunteer your help, etc.
  7. Keep adding companies to your list based on research and referrals. Repeat all steps above.


Continue to network and cultivate relationships and add new connections forever. Yes, even after you settle into a new job, don’t decommission your network and don’t deactivate your relationships. Contacts, those who recommend you and those who share leads, are your career insurance, a future guarantee that will protect you from unwanted, long suffering periods between jobs. Your connections provide continuous easier access to new opportunites whether you are a declared candidate or content in your present role.

Rate this article 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor). Send your responses here.

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz(TM), a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully(TM) and expediting stalled job searches connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks leveraging online visibility and maximizing traditional techniques.

(C) Copyright, 2011, Debra Feldman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.