There is an often-recited popular mantra among the career counseling community that “over 80 percent of all jobs are not advertised,” a statement that never comes backed up by any evidence. But the fact is that many jobs are filled by means other than advertising online or in print. Moreover, even if a job opportunity is publicized, competing for it with the advice and assistance of an intermediary could give you a decided advantage.
The only way to find out about unadvertised positions is through intelligence gathered by you, the job seeker. You can learn a lot via the Internet. But a lot of valuable information is still the province of human beings and not shared online—HUMINT in spy agency parlance.
If you launch a job campaign with a network in place, it can enable you to hit the ground running much faster than your competition, and with far better prospects for success.
Maybe the best reason of all is that employers like to hire new employees via referrals from their existing staff or outsiders whose judgment they respect and trust. This is because such hires have been “third-party vetted.” No employee is going to go out on a limb and jeopardize his or her position with the company by referring someone who would not confirm the employee’s good judgment. Companies know this as well as employees. Similarly, no professional colleague or personal friend is going to jeopardize his or her relationship with an employer colleague or friend by referring someone “dicey.”