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3 More Job Search Secrets for Tough Times

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According to Kevin Donlin, getting there means working and connecting with people -- especially in tough times.

Kevin Donlin
1 Day Resume

In my ongoing search for the latest and best job-hunting tips, I interviewed a Silicon Valley recruiter and cracked open my client files this week.

The employment methods we'll explore here are highly effective, largely unknown, and all boil down to one word: people.

Because it's not just what you know that will get you hired. It's who you know. And -- more importantly -- who knows you.

Without further ado, here are 3 job search secrets that can get you hired, even in tough times ...

1. Employee Referral Programs -- Get an Advocate
"In this economy, a number of companies refuse to interview candidates who aren't referred by employees," says Dave Lloyd, a Silicon Valley recruiter and author of "Graduation Secrets," a career guide for young people.

Large corporations use referral programs to encourage employees to submit names of people they know for open positions. This screening process makes sense, since like attracts like -- talented employees often have talented friends. And companies are willing to pay $500, $1,000 -- and more -- to employees who refer new hires.

So it pays to start making friends at big companies you want to work for.

"I knew one motivated employee at a high-tech firm who made $500 for every hire he referred. So he actively searched for great candidates. He helped get 3 people hired while I was recruiting for that company in 2001," says Lloyd.

Your Lesson: The best way to learn about employee referral programs is to strike up a relationship with someone at your target company -- and ask. A simple email will do. Then, keep in touch. Your contact may end up walking your resume into a hiring manager's office. You get hired and your "advocate" gets a cash award -- win-win!

2. Network from the Inside -- Create Your Own Job
From my client files this week comes the story of "Frank" from Toronto, a marketing manager for a multi-national high-tech firm.

At first, Frank did what most job seekers do. He posted his resume online, sent it to recruiters and answered help-wanted ads.

But it was networking -- within his own company -- that really paid off.

"I used an internal contact in New York City, one thing led to another, and I was over in the US doing 6 job interviews in the last 2 weeks," says Frank.

His Fortune 500 firm is now creating a new position for him with a generous salary and relocation package. This came after I encouraged him to leave no stone unturned with his current employer.

"I emailed a co-worker and asked if I could use him as a resource for an internal job search. He agreed to help, which led to my interviews. And I already had a good reputation internally, with several VPs to serve as references. That gave me an advantage I would not have had at another company," says Frank.

Your Lesson: The grass may be greener on your side of the fence. If you've done good work for your current employer, be sure to exhaust every in-house option before looking outside for a new job. (I know this firsthand -- back when I worked for other people, in the 1990s, my last employer created a new job for me. All I did was ask!)

3. Become a Power Broker in Your Field
It's an old maxim: Givers get. And it's especially true when job hunting.

Our Silicon Valley recruiter, Dave Lloyd, confirms this.

"Last year, I was trying to fill a supply chain management position for a computer firm, so I contacted an industry association to see who they would recommend.

"Everyone I talked to told me the same thing: call Joe Jones in Houston. It seems Joe had organized an online forum for job seekers and was helping a lot of other folks in the process. His name was well-known among industry leaders -- we offered Joe the job," says Lloyd.

Your Lesson: You can join or create a job search forum for your city, using a service like By sharing leads in a forum, you become the go-to person and your reputation can spread. As a result, you may be among the first to hear of new job openings.

Now, go out and make your own luck!

About the Author:
Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guarantee.d Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients on five continents.

Kevin has been interviewed by WCCO and WLTE radio, and KMSP TV, among others. His articles have appeared in the National Business Employment Weekly, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twin Cities Employment Weekly and others.

For more information, click here.

Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed
Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed by Kevin Donlin

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