Job experience counts more than whom you know, according to a nationwide survey of job hunters by

Networking with contacts was cited as most-important by fewer than 20 percent of the respondents.

The firm interviewed 1600 people in order to ascertain the insights of professionals in its April, 2011 study.

The survey results:

— Experience – 45 percent

— Education – 21 percent

— Contacts – 20 percent

— Communication skills – 14 percent

The emphasis on experience is part of an emerging trend.

“At one time it was all about who you knew and who in your Rolodex you could connect with in order to secure an interview,” says Rich Milgram, CEO of the company.

“While networking is and will continue to be an important component of the job search, it can only get you so far in the process,” he adds. “Employers are looking past just ‘who you know’ and making sure candidates have the right qualifications and experience before hiring.”

My sense is the results of the study are universal. Most employers are being more careful to hire the right experience in this economy. That’s what I advise in any economy.

It’s up to the job seekers to brand and market themselves correctly.

If you don’t have a lot of work experience

Here are ideas to create some career luck:

Research and target the companies you respect. It can be an endless cycle of career defeats – if you go to work for companies that aren’t good at what they do.

You’ll repeatedly find yourself in the unemployment lines. It’s hard to network if you’re constantly standing in lines, and it’s hard on morale.

That implies the need to focus more on quality. Responding to dozens of ads on Web sites will not yield the desired results. Try to focus on the jobs you’d actually want.

For a 20-something person, another technique: Identify the industry and company for which you’d like to work. Call the boss and explain you’d like a few minutes to get advice on your career. A gracious employer will grant you the time. As a college student, I did this and actually got job offers.

Another successful strategy includes literally doing the footwork. Show up in-person at prospective employers like a cold-calling salesperson, and explain you’re looking to make an appointment.

In this way, you’ll be able to size up the companies. They’ll get a firsthand look at you. And you’ll be more comfortable if you get an interview.

Be tenacious and organized. Don’t give up and keep good records for follow up.

If you really want to stand out, create a blog about your expertise. Employers will become more acquainted with your approach to your work. If you’re a good writer, they’ll appreciate your writing-communication skills.

By the way – in hiring – many employers have complained they can’t get enough talented employees with adequate soft skills in communication, teamwork and customer service.

As for timing, I’d suggest midweek mornings for prospecting and scheduling interviews.

And have fun. Treat it like an adventure. Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more tips:

Discouraged in Job Hunting? Powerful Tips for the Best Job — Whether unemployed or under-employed, a person needs two things: A sense of hope and the right tools to negotiate a job. Here are both.

15 Tips to Improve Your Odds for a Job — If you are unemployed, you are probably feeling desperate. But take heart. Here are 15 proven strategies.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — If you are unemployed, you are probably feeling desperate. But take heart. Here are 15 proven strategies.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Lessons in the Disparity between Expectations and Reality   Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem.

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.