The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in a recent survey of 14 million applications found that employee referrals remain the top source of hires. Why? SHRM reports that they have higher interview-to-employment conversion rates and hires have longer tenures at firms. In my mind, referral hires are more likely to succeed, given that they are vetted by an existing employee (i.e. their reputation is at least marginally on the line), and, since they are connected to an existing employee, they are more likely to be similar minded and fit into the firm's culture.
In spite of this, people still opt for Indeed (non-referral source) as the first step of their job search. Why go against the proverbial Tradewinds?! Scan your professional and personal network, seek out a connection at a firm you want to work at, reconnect, and ask if they could connect you with Mr. or Ms. Decision Maker (do your research).
Well Jay, what if I don't have a connection to a firm I want to work at? Use LinkedIn, connect with folks at the firm you want to work with that have a connection with you (e.g. friend in common; alma mater; volunteer work). Then, ask them about their experience at the firm, and to connect you!
Well Jay, what if I don't have a LinkedIn? Create one the instant you have an opportunity! And, if you need or would like help, feel free to reach out to me and I'll guide you.