At a local jobs networking event this morning, one of the long standing participants walked into the meeting with three things: a box of donuts, a smile and a job. This particular person has been out of work several times (not uncommon for his industry) but this job search was by far the longest. He estimated that he had applied to approximately 1,000 jobs and got 5 interviews in 15 months. He also reported that this stint of unemployment was unlike anything he had experienced in the past: the old stand bys of applying for jobs on line and landing jobs through recruiters just did not work. He learned the importance of networking as that was how he found his new position.
Although this is only one example, recent survey data found in the Wall Street Journal revealed that of all full time hires made in 2009, 51% came from internal employees-- transfers and promotions. The remaining 49% of people hired came from external sources with the largest number (27%) from personal referrals.
The moral of this story? Networking continue to be the most effective job search strategy.