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It is a proven fact that most hiring happens through informal channels. Companies have employee referral programs paying bonuses as high as $5000 for one good referral hired. It is very costly for organizations to post an advertisement and scan through thousands of resumes and fly down a certain number of people for interviews. It is much cheaper, faster and efficient to trust employee referrals because the employee doing the referral has done most of the filtering before forwarding a resume.


So rather than mass emailing your resume based on job postings on the company websites or monster.com, focus on your network of close friends and associates to give you leads on good jobs available within their companies. There is an element of magic in staying connected. You never know when this support network will come to your help. Life becomes much easier when you have friends who can help.


There are many people who think that asking your friends or contacts for leads is actually using the friendship for personal gains. All I can say is that it is only with each otherís help we can move forward. If your network is thin, please start building it now.


Start with your close friends, class mates, neighbors, church groups, relatives, previous co-workers or anybody who is not a stranger to you. But networking is not only about people you know. It also involves people who know people you know and the chain goes on.


A big advantage of going to a big school/college is that you can tap into its alumni network when you need it. I really love hearing from people who went to Berkeley and I am sure it is the case with every other school. Stay connected and involved with your community, neighborhood organizations, church activities, volunteer organizations etc. Everybody can use some help.


Now there are some things you should be mindful of when you start lighting up your network:

        Be courteous and respectful to your contacts

        Respect their privacy and do not share specific information they share with you

        Gauge their availability and receptiveness. Donít push.

        Always offer any help you can from your side in return

        Donít take up too much of their time

        Make the most of their help by being professional and well prepared. They are putting their reputation at stake by referring you


Using your network is an art and you should take time to master it. Amateurs in this field risk losing more than their contacts.


Great resources for networking

Best books on professional networking



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