Need a new job? Forget the ads – join a gym or Facebook

THE days when securing a job interview was down to the lottery of the "situations vacant" section of a newspaper are long gone, according to a new report.

It is now claimed that the key to securing a new career more quickly is as much to do with the people you meet in the gym or know through social networking websites.

For 80 per cent of jobs secured in the current job market are gained through networking and not through job adverts or by randomly sending out CVs to prospective employers, according to new research carried out by career guidance website

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Tor MacLeod, site co-founder, claims that anyone failing to adjust to the new employment landscape could damage their chances of landing a job.

"The good news is that today's rules empower you to take control of your career planning like never before," he said. "Yes, use the right recruitment agencies; yes, look at job ads, but understand the secrets of a job search and work them. Keep every avenue open."

He added the recession had emphasised what had already been a developing phenomenon. "The global economy, mass redundancies and the internet have converged to create a cultural shift," he said. "It is quite phenomenal to have watched and participated in job search over the last few years.

"The change means that anyone currently searching for a job can feel daunted. Career planning and networking are joint kings."

Diana Dawson, career counsellor and managing director of Working Career, agreed that traditional job-seeking methods had been superseded: "I think networking has always been important, but the difficulty for job seekers at the moment is that, because of the recession, recruitment consultants and companies are being inundated with CVs, so it is hard for them differentiate themselves from other people, so obviously using people you know is really important."

Ms Dawson said that those who found networking hardest were those who had been in long-term employment and found their initial jobs through newspaper adverts or were recruited.

He said: "Networking can feel people with horror; the prospect of walking into a room with 100 people and introducing themselves that way. It's about being more creative, just speaking to people you know."

Denise Taylor, career coach and author of How to Get a Job in a Recession, agreed: "I have clients who tell me that they've been looking for a job for three months, that they've sent off hundreds and hundreds of applications and got nowhere, and that obviously isn't working.

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"The internet has democratised the concept of networking. People have had the idea that it was old boy network, that it's something they don't have. But it's not at all. There are different ways of networking for different people."

However, both Ms Taylor and Ms Dawson said that social network groups on the likes of Facebook as well as business networking sites such as Linkedin were vital tools.

According to recruitment consultant Jonny Breeze of Yellow Cat Recruitment, employers were just as keen on recruitment through networking.

"Employers have already started to move away from traditional job adverts towards a network-orientated recruitment, particularly when it comes to working with online groups," he said. "Targeting them means they get both a better response rate and those who do apply tend have the skills the company's looking for."

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