Looking for a job takes more than just poring through want ads. Remember -- it's not how much you know, but who you know.
Step 1: Get information Get key information about opportunities by setting up meetings with contacts from your last company. Be clear about your target industry or company and professional goals.
Step 2: Network for information Network with colleagues and former coworkers to find information about a company, its culture, upcoming openings, types of employees, work environment, and compensation. Build contacts within your industry so that people can legitimately vouch for you and recommend you to others.
TIP: Be aware that companies will sometimes check social networking sites to investigate the depth of knowledge a contact may have about you.
Step 3: Get known in groups Join specialized groups on social networking sites and offer tips in your area of expertise to interact with people who may have sources at the company you are seeking to engage.
Step 4: Find referral companies Locate companies that pay their employees referral rewards and find a way to get into the running for an open position that you're qualified for.
Step 5: Pay attention Pay attention to conversations around you. Interact at social and cultural events, neighborhood and family parties, and holiday occasions. Most people don't listen closely enough and fail to recognize potential referrals around them.
Step 6: Join organizations Join community service and professional organizations. Attend lectures, fundraisers, workshops, and business networking group meetings to build sources for job referrals.
TIP: Remember that everyone around you is a potential referral contact.
Step 7: Follow up Stay in touch. Car mechanics, receptionists, hairdressers, waiters, and dry cleaners can be prime resources because of the wide and diverse group of people they encounter.
FACT: American manufacturing employment grew by 126,000 jobs in the 5 months prior to May 2010.