Looking for Career Networks in All the Right Places

Last Updated Apr 20, 2010 1:48 PM EDT

Any professional with a few years under her belt knows that networking is a cornerstone of career management. But what do you do when your ambitions are pointing you in directions your network doesn't reach?

Job seekers have told TheLadders about a variety of networking gambits they've employed to span geographies, industries and functions.

With dual citizenship from Mexico and the Netherlands and a job in Houston, Paul Witschey already had an international pedigree when he set his sights on new opportunities abroad. He'd worked for oil and gas companies, and most headhunters pointed him toward Saudi Arabia. "That was one place I wasn't interested in going," he told TheLadders.

Then he extended his search to an Australian consulting firm and tapped the local contacts of a friend from the United Kingdom who now lives in Sydney. "He didn't work for this company, but I asked him if he knew anyone who did," Witschey said. "He actually knew someone who worked in the IT Advisory side in Melbourne. I was introduced to him, and that is how I began the interview process."

After rounds of interviews via video conference and phone, he was offered a position in November as manager for the Performance Improvement Business Unit of the company's Advisory Division.

Craig Bodkin found a networking opportunity much closer to home when he was laid off from his position as director of communications technology a trucking company in Green Bay, Wis.

While he started his job search immediately, it took him a while to realize that his best connection was his wife.

"She had been working as a part-time online instructor for ITT Educational Services for several years," he said. "But I didn't know anyone from ITT, and never paid much attention to what she did there," he said. "We didn't do the same job, so I didn't consider her a networking resource."

That changed when he got a nibble from the ITT Educational Services branch in Carmel, Ind., outside Indianapolis. That's when Bodkin's wife realized she could use her ITT contacts to get his resume in front of the hiring manager.

"Things happened incredibly fast," he said. ITT had created a new position for a director of IT operations, and "they were excited about this role and the opportunities it presented to the IT organization. They just seemed to have it together; they knew what they wanted and were going after it."

Within a month, Bodkin was coordinating support-management and project management teams in the IT organization.

  • Matthew TheLadders

    Matthew Rothenberg is editor-in-chief for TheLadders, the world's leading online service catering exclusively to the $100K+ job market. In addition to traditional job search services, TheLadders.com also provides a host of specialized career development resources. Previously he worked at Ziff Davis Media, ZDNet, CNET, and Hachette Filipacchi.