It’s been an awesome week, all things considered.  Not only has the weather around these parts been downright gorgeous, but even better, I’ve had another three folks report their success landing new positions, some after as long as 18+ months of unemployment!

In fact, one of these folks (who chose to remain anonymous) did give me permission to share a detailed breakdown of insights and tips she passed along to me relative to what worked in her particular job search — and what she learned along the way.

Here’s what she had to say:

Matt.  Just wanted to update you on my job search.  I accepted a FTE role at XYZ Company as a Sales Operations Manager.  In fact, after 9 months of negligible activity, I suddenly had several other contract roles and entrepreneurial opportunities to choose from, in addition to the FTE role.  Weird Karma!  A few things of note:

•  One of the contract roles was through a friend (Malcolm Gladwell would call her a connector) who knew someone who knew someone who knew the hiring manager.  Another was a referral from a recruiter who knew (name withheld), who reached out to you and your network, which you posted on your LinkedIn page, which I saw and responded to.  The recruiter never returned my email or call and blew off our initial call.  Even though it was a legitimate job and I was referred, I still had to chase him down.  Neither job was posted.

•  One of the entrepreneurial opportunities was with a woman I met at a networking function, and another through a gal in my hobby club who knew a partner that worked with Microsoft.

•  I started going down a path of building my own business and leaving Corporate America.  I may still pursue this on the side.   The interesting point being that as soon as I decided to let go of the coveted FTE role, opportunities started not only knocking, but banging, at my door.

•  The role I accepted was a perfect fit with my skill set.  This job was not posted.  The recruiter found my resume on one of the job sites and thought I was employed.  She was looking for a referral.

The bottom line?  Referrals work — and many jobs are not posted.

In the past 10 months, I’d estimate I’ve sent out about 500-1000 resumes with about 5 interviews, 3 of which were actually viable.  On the three interviews, I thought I did extremely well, only to learn that I did not advance.   My gut tells me that there were internal candidates or other candidates earmarked for the roles, or I wasn’t networked in enough to be referred or validated.   This experience validates many of the things that you have said in meetings, in person, and in your blogs.  Sitting at home in front of the computer sending out resumes does NOT work.

A few other key learnings:

•  Most jobs are not posted or are posted only to satisfy legal requirements – they may already have a chosen candidate
•  Working your network works and referrals carry enormous weight
•  Selecting a number of target companies and networking with and around them works
•  Building and optimizing your LinkedIn network works
•  Paying it forward and offering to help people is far more successful than being a job seeker
•  Making it easier for people to help you works (asking for them to highlight specific skills for a reference or referral)
•  People are busy.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.  Remember to help show value and answer the question they are thinking: WIFM – What’s in it for Me?
•  Being listed on all the job sites makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you
•  Attending networking events and going outside of your comfort zone to expand your network works
•  Volunteering and showing your skills to friends, colleagues and new contacts helps expand your network, enhance your credibility and get you out there
•  Be patient – sometimes it just takes time
•  Definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

Bottom line – it’s all about who you know, not what you know, and about how well you can work the system!