Hate applying for jobs? Try networking instead

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(MoneyWatch) If you're frustrated with tossing resume after resume into the online black hole of job search databases, you might enjoy career advisor Darrell Gurney's book "Never Apply for a Job Again!: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest." Here's his best advice on schmoozing your way to a new gig:

MoneyWatch: Why is networking so crucial to job searching?

DG: Effective networking trumps applying for jobs for one simple reason: People like to work with folks they know and like. Therefore, being known and liked already, or being referred to others by those they know and like, opens doors and hearts.

MW: And why does applying simply not work all that well?

DG: Applying for jobs online is a heartless, faceless, and emotionless process...and relies upon your particular piece of paper (resume) to somehow stand out from the stacks of other textual lives. You become 1 of 10,000.

MW: What's the most important thing to know about "effective" networking?

DG: "Effective" networking for career transition is not based on need. Neediness stinks, and people run away from you. Principle #2 (in my book) states "An Ounce of Research is Worth a Pound of Job Search," meaning to find out what you're really passionate about and reach out to people for information and relationships around those passions.

MW: Any other great advice for newbies to networking?

DG: Start talking to people in line at Starbucks or the grocery store, because you never know if that person behind you is the brother-in-law of your next employer! I help people break through the basic fear of rejection that keeps most people operating in their little silo...and they start tapping into the very immediate world around them.

MW: Can social media and email replace face-to-face networking?

DG: If used as the end-all/be-all of networking, [technology] falls short because people really want to connect with people...not the cyber version of people. Using technology to sort out the people to pursue for actual face-to-face meetings is a smart thing, and yet it's those bodies coming together where the natural, human chemistry can take place.

MW: So you advise people to network both on and offline?

DG: Yes, online efforts in effective networking should be geared specifically toward [setting up in-person] meetings. Offline and face-to-face will always net more human chemical reactions, both in a strategically designed career "campaign" as well as by simply saying hello to those beside you in Starbucks. Basically, online should lead to offline.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Tobias Wolter

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