One of the first pieces of advice any career professional gives is that the quickest way to land a job is through networking. The conventional idea of job-search networking is that the more friends you have in high places the more doors will be opened for you, but that is just part of the story. A big part of networking is who you haven’t actually met yet. In a sense, job searching is like dating, you go out to meet people who, in turn, may introduce you to other people until you eventually hook up with someone on your frequency.
Well, it isn’t difficult to see how this directly relates to job-search networking. Of course, it is always great to know someone who will hire you on the spot—boom, job search over. But that is only the simplest form of networking. The biggest part of the networking process is to get out into the work field and meet people you never would have otherwise met. Use your friends as a jumping off point to meet some of their connections, and go from there. The deeper you get into hardcore networking the more you may have to step out of your comfort zone, but you never know when you will hit pay dirt and how large the payout will be. Doing things you’ve never done before will open up communities of contacts that you may have never known to exist. Volunteer, get involved in the community, or join some active clubs. Whatever you choose, you will be getting yourself and your job search out into the world.
It is entirely up to you to explore the depth of connections at your disposal and chances are good that someone somewhat far removed from someone that you already know can help you land the job of your dreams. The best way to start your job search is through your immediate pool of friends and professional acquaintances, but that is the easy part. Follow as many chains of network connections as you can, get yourself way out there, and see just how many people there are that you haven’t met yet.