Still on the Fence about Networking’s Critical Importance for Your Job Search?


If there were still any doubts about networking being a critical element in executive job search, statistics gathered recently by ExecuNet (an outstanding private executive networking organization) should quell them.

ExecuNet conducted a survey of 697 search firms and HR professionals that revealed only 22% of $200K+ positions are now posted on job boards or corporate websites. (The figures were 30% in 2008 and 24% in 2009.) Ninety-two percent of 168 recruiters who were surveyed separately believe there is a robust hidden job market for executive level opportunities, and ExecuNet corroborates this by stating that almost 80% of opportunities at this level are not publicized via methods such as job sites.

Identifying and leveraging the most effective job search approaches becomes particularly critical with the official unemployment rate stubbornly remaining near double digits. (The “real” unemployment rate is believed by many credible sources to be 17% or more when the long-term unemployed, those who have given up, and those who are underemployed are taken into account.)

The top three methods that recruiters and hiring executives use to source candidates are networking (44%), internal databases (21%), and research (14%). When you consider these three, they are all directly or indirectly related to networking.

Does this mean that it is worthless to post your resume on executive job sites or to peruse listings? Certainly not. After all, 22% of high level positions ARE posted and recruiters do still source candidates in this manner. However, with nearly 80% of opportunities to be found elsewhere, clearly the best strategy to shorten your job search is to focus your efforts on these versus the one in five positions to be found through job sites.