This past Tuesday I had the good fortune to attend a networking event where the guest speaker was 5 time New York Times best selling author Harvey Mackay. His latest book, entitled “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door” centers around the little things one can do to overcome the challenges of the current depressed job market. In all of his books he has always been consistent in his belief that your next sale, job, or relationship stem from an all encompassing commitment to networking.

In an article published on About.com, CJ Hayden states that “surveys consistently show that 80-85% of job-seekers find work as the result of a referral from a friend or colleague, and only 2-4% land jobs from Internet job boards”.

I can’t agree more with her findings. But as a recruiter, I look at it from a slightly different perspective. In my case, her numbers hold true with the placements I’ve made over the past 3 years. On average 85% of my placements come from referrals and recommendations from personal friends, current and former colleagues and clients, and contacts from social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

This is why I find it frustrating when people tell me that they are frustrated by the lack of results they get from only using job boards.

The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If you are one of the millions that are out of work presently, try doing something different to jump start the next phase of your job search.

1) If you haven’t done so already, get a LinkedIn account to get in touch with and network with former colleagues and friends.
2) Check out the 1000′s of networking groups on LinkedIn. I guarantee you can find many that will be a great networking vehicle.
3) If you are on Facebook, seek out friends and family to see who they know that you might be able to network with.
4) Every city has many great networking groups to fit a variety of areas from social to professionally focused that can help you in your job search.
5) Go where the people are, (Harvey Mackay notes in his book that volunteering is a great way to meet people and it’s a great way to stand out from the crowd).
6) Reach out to your educational institutions for ways to network through their resources
7) Get involved at your place of worship, mine has in excess of 1500 families and has people from many industries and career categories. 8) Find content on line that you can relate to and sign up for their newsletter or follow their blog. For instance, Harvey Mackay, Landon Long, and The Jobs Guy.

I agree that we are in a tough job market, however their are many ways to crush your competition if you just invest the time and effort and step outside your comfort zone.

Good Luck and happy networking.