By David Still - Often, a candidate will tell me of an employer they have interest and one of their friends work for the same employer. The candidate continues by stating they contacted their friend and asked them to research if the employer has any openings matching the candidate's qualifications.
I then ask, "Have you heard back from your friend regarding job opportunities at their employer?" The candidate replies, "No. I have not heard back from my friend so there must not be any positions that I match."
I recommend the approach I used at AFLAC Insurance.
Having just completing my college degree and my Co-op position at IBM, I targeted AFLAC as an excellent employer from which to utilize my IT experience. Contacting a friend's daughter, Louise, an employee within AFLAC's IT department, she offered to give me a tour of the IT department.
While touring the IT department, Louise introduced me to multiple IT managers. One of the IT managers began asking me about my past IT experience. I began stating I just graduated from college and finished a two-year Co-Op position at IBM. Prior to college, I served in the US Navy programming machine level code for a shipboard missile system.
The IT manager immediately asked if machine level code is the same as assembler coding. I said yes and described that is more complex than assembler programming.
To my surprise, the IT manager asked if I would consider joining AFLAC's IT department to maintain their legacy programs written in Assembler. I responded, "Yes, definitely." The IT manager then asked if I could start Monday.
So, when seeking new employment, use the facility tour approach with these advantages:
1) you are visiting company on a building tour, not as a job applicant; you encounter less pressure
2) the hiring manager is not in interview mode and is more social
3) no resume is being used to question your qualification; therefore meeting is conversational.
Ask your friend to give you a tour of their office. It may lead to an employment offer.