The answer is: Both. You need a network to help you identify the right job, and you have to create it yourself, each day, with steady effort. You also need a top quality resume, and we suggests you work with a professional resume writer to get the best one possible.
Why a career network? Think of the successful people you know. Most likely they are well connected in their field. For example, take former President Clinton, certainly a man with a strong resume. Throughout his life Bill Clinton was always a superb networker. When he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, whenever he met someone new, Clinton took wrote down the names of people he met, always including details about person that he could refer to later.
Clinton said, “I'm going into politics and plan to run for governor of Arkansas, and I'm keeping track of everyone I meet."
This hasn't changed since the 1960s: Networking will work for you, too. As a professional resume writer, I always urge my clients that networking is key, just as crucial as the resume. On your professional resume you will probably emphasize strong communication skills. Put those skills to work as you get your job search going.
A professional resume helps you put your best foot forward. You'll also need to prepare for job interviews. But just as crucial is social networking. Spend your time searching for jobs on websites and in newspapers and you miss 70 percent of available opportunities.
Most jobs are available to networkers if you uncover them. Why? Studies show repeatedly that it is because people do the hiring and people are less comfortable with strangers. Get an introduction to a company and you will start out the job search process with a greater comfort level than you could by entering the process as a total stranger.
You will learn of jobs before thousands of others learn about them, if you are networking well. Networking, then, is simply the best way to find a job. Even a professional resume writer knows that. Logically, then, it's worth taking the time to learn how to network and how to take advantage of your networking.
From that first phone call to having a cup of coffee with friends to brainstorming about the direction of your career to emailing former colleagues you haven't kept in touch with, there are many networking approaches that can accelerate your job search.
"It's the old-boy network," used to be an excuse, sometimes a reasonable one, for not getting the job. Today, great job-hunting means joining the network.
How do you network effectively? Don't just tell yourself that you'll do a better job of keeping in touch with friends, former colleagues, school alumni, and former teammates or that you will be more disciplined about handing out your business card at gatherings. No. It won't work. To advance your job search, you need to actively cultivate and expand the circle of people you regularly keep in touch with. That means a plan.
Put it in writing. Write it down and follow it. The words on the page will give you better direction than the vague ideas in your head.
Organize your activities. You likely have acquaintances that can lead you to professional contacts and interviews, or just other people to help identify more contacts. Keep track of these individuals using a written routine and calendar. Include names, phone numbers, email addresses, and-critically-descriptions of how you plan to keep in touch.
Schedule meetings or calls. You may be comfortable calling some friends several times a week, while others you might contact weekly by phone or email or even less often. Be consistent.
Update. After each phone call, jot down any notions and prospects generated during the call.
As a professional resume writer I want you to use your resume well, but if you don't network the resume may collect dust.