I think we can all agree that responding to job postings is a pretty easy and safe way to find open positions and apply for them. But how many job postings have you applied to and had absolutely no response? Tens? Hundreds? Maybe even thousands, depending on how long you have been job hunting.
While responding to job postings definitely has a place in your alternative career search, it should just be one component, not the sole focus. The reality is that the majority of jobs (a rough statistic is 80% of jobs) are found through personal contacts!
Why do the vast majority of jobs come through personal contacts? Two main reasons are (1) ease and (2) known quality. While it is easy for an employer to post a listing for a position, it is time consuming (and therefore costs big $$$) to spend countless hours poring over STACKS of resumes. Further, a hiring manager tends to feel like a candidate recommended by a trusted employee – or better yet, who the hiring manager actually knows – is a known “quality” person. Therefore, given the choice between two people with similar backgrounds and experience, one of whom the hiring manager has met for thirty minutes in a formal interview and one of whom the hiring manager interacts with regularly on a volunteer committee (for example), the known person will almost always get the job.
While networking is not a quick-fix job search solution, it is effective and can often lead to higher quality job positions. Even if you are not searching for a job right now, one day in the future you probably will be. So start networking today!