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Life events pose a unique challenge because each is a new or infrequent occurrence for which many people have little or no prior experience.

When finding a job, a little dose of commonsense advice can help
tremendously.

Here is our advice on these topics.
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Networking and Headhunters

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Looking for jobs in public want ads, whether printed in newspapers or posted on the Internet, exposes you to only the tip of the iceberg of opportunities out there. Many more positions are advertised only to existing employees of the same company, by word of mouth, or through "search" firms (commonly called "headhunters") that comb through their own databases and contacts to find suitable candidates.

The reason for this is that companies simply do not want to waste a lot of effort in finding bona fide candidates for a given job. If the position is advertised publicly, they are sure to be swamped with applications from clearly unqualified people or from people whose credentials they are in no position to evaluate or validate. Better, they believe, to narrow the search to pools of candidates whom they know or for whom a trusted employee or third party can vouch.

Accordingly, cultivating contacts with people in a position to apprise you of such unadvertised opportunities or to give you an endorsement that will be taken seriously is critical to your career development. This technique is commonly known as "networking." Often times the largest hurdle to networking is to admit to your friends and contacts that you are looking for a job. Remember, the best networkers don't lean on their friends by looking for "favors." Instead, they sell themselves to their friends and contacts on the advantages to their friends helping them.

It also is worth your while to maintain contacts with well-connected employment ("headhunting") firms to keep aware of job opportunities. Reputable employment search firms charge their fees to the companies doing the hiring, not to the persons whom they hire, so there is usually little or no cost to getting listed and screened.

Finally, many alumni groups and professional associations maintain information exchanges in which members pass along tips to each other about job openings. These are increasingly managed as e-mail groups on the Internet. Contact the alumni relations office at your school or the career placement section of your association for more information.
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