A Networking Success Story

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Networking your way to a job is hard, but it works. A CNNMoney story this week offers a road map.

The article traces the path to re-employment for Ebony Blue, a 24-year old Ithaca College graduate laid off from Citigroup's investment banking division in December, 2008. Although she made contacts through a diversity network, the essential tactics she used can also help job-seekers who lack such access.

Blue put in heavy-duty effort: she applied to 700 openings in six months, spending 10 hours each day. She pursued opportunities in London, Atlanta, Boston and Texas, but ultimately landed in New York as an investor relations analyst at a consulting firm named Ipreo.

In the end, it was networking that unlocked the door. While Blue called upon college contacts and work colleagues, the crucial connection that led to her job came through a diversity organization, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). Whenever she saw a job online she really liked, she would seek an introduction to the employer by reaching out to her MLT network or consulting the organization's data base.

That led her to a fellow member who worked at Ipreo. "I sent him my resume and that same day I got a call to interview," Blue told CNNMoney. "The next day I went in and had four interviews. The next day I got an offer." She began work in June as a senior analyst in Ipreo's global market intelligence group.

"This is a good model and it doesn't need to be restricted to MLT," Silver Spring, Md., career coach Cheryl Palmer told CNNMoney. Palmer advises seeking out connections in a wide range of places: friends of friends, second- and third- level contacts on social networking sites, college and university alumni associations, community associations, and houses of worship. Extending your connections above and beyond your immediate circle is "a win-win for the job seeker and very easy to do," she says.

We've long dispensed similar advice here on eFinancialCareers News. (But we don't say it's "easy.")

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