Important Job Search Secrets

In my ongoing search for the latest and best job-hunting tips, I interviewed a Silicon Valley recruiter and cracked open my client files this week.

The employment methods we’ll explore here are highly effective, largely unknown, and all boil down to one word: people.

Because it’s not just what you know that will get you hired. It’s who you know. And – more importantly — who knows you.

Without further ado, here are 3 job search secrets that can get you hired, even in tough times …


  1. Employee Referral Programs – Get an Advocate

“In this economy, a number of companies refuse to interview candidates who aren’t referred by employees,” says Dave Lloyd, a Silicon Valley recruiter and author of “Graduation Secrets,” a career guide for young people (

Large corporations use referral programs to encourage employees to submit names of people they know for open positions. This screening process makes sense, since like attracts like — talented employees often have talented friends. And companies are willing to pay $500, $1,000 – and more – to employees who refer new hires.

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So it pays to start making friends at big companies you want to work for.

“I knew one motivated employee at a high-tech firm who made $500 for every hire he referred. So he actively searched for great candidates. He helped get three people hired while I was recruiting for that company in 2001,” says Lloyd.

Takeaway Lesson: The best way to learn about employee referral programs is to strike up a relationship with someone at your target company — and ask. A simple email will do. Then, keep in touch. Your contact may end up walking your resume into a hiring manager’s office. You get hired and your “advocate” gets a cash award – win-win!


  1. Network from the Inside – Create Your Own Job

From my client files this week comes the story of “Frank” from Toronto, a marketing manager for a multi-national high-tech firm.

At first, Frank did what most job seekers do. He posted his resume online, sent it to recruiters and answered help-wanted ads.

But it was networking — within his own company — that really paid off.

“I used an internal contact in New York City, one thing led to another, and I was over in the US doing 6 job interviews in the last 2 weeks,” says Frank.

His Fortune 500 firm is now creating a new position for him with a generous salary and relocation package. This came after I encouraged him to leave no stone unturned with his current employer.

“I emailed a co-worker and asked if I could use him as a resource for an internal job search. He agreed to help, which led to my interviews. And I already had a good reputation internally, with several VPs to serve as references. That gave me an advantage I would not have had at another company,” says Frank.

Takeaway Lesson: The grass may be greener on your side of the fence. If you’ve done good work for your current employer, be sure to exhaust every in-house option before looking outside for a new job. (I know this firsthand – back when I worked for other people, in the 1990s, my last employer created a new job for me. All I did was ask!


  1. Become a Power Broker in Your Field

It’s an old maxim: Givers get. And it’s especially true when job hunting.

Our Silicon Valley recruiter, Dave Lloyd, confirms this.

“Last year, I was trying to fill a supply chain management position for a computer firm, so I contacted an industry association to see who they would recommend.

“Everyone I talked to told me the same thing: call Joe Jones in Houston. It seems Joe had organized an online forum for job seekers and was helping a lot of other folks in the process. His name was well-known among industry leaders – we offered Joe the job,” says Lloyd.


Now, go out and create your own luck!

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

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