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"Companies require that you apply online so you are in the system, but often no one sees those resumes," says Lynne Sarikas, the director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University. "You need to network to identify contacts at your target companies so a human can physically pass your resume to a hiring manager. Those are the resumes that get reviewed."
Dion Lim, president and chief operating officer of SimplyHired.com, confirms the point. "A connection within an organization can give a job seeker the crucial advantage, especially considering that about half of all hiring is done through referrals."
Assuming you don't already personally know someone who works at your dream company, how do you get your resume past the front door and into the hands of a live human being who actually cares?
Enter social networking. Yes, those sites on which you regularly describe your favorite potato chip brand and catch up with elementary school friends can also help you locate an insider at your dream company. One of your connections may even work there, unbeknownst to you....