By Joyce Lain Kennedy


Networking isn't paying off yet, plus I've already sent out 300 resumes that seem to vanish into the ether.

Can you ask one of your expert sources for a crash course on how to identify and connect with elusive hiring decision makers? -- C.B.

That expert source would be Debra Feldman, a world-class executive talent agent ( based in Greenwich, Conn.

Feldman is one of the rare breed of professionals who, working for candidates, design and personally implement search campaigns for senior-level executives.

When you're aiming to land in the same room with a wizard behind the curtain, pay attention to these five tips, a small sample culled from Feldman's big bag of research tricks to find the right people who can say yes.

Go public for access to subscription-based directories.

Start with the help and advice of reference librarians at large public and university libraries. Digital directories are available for specific industries and companies that provide only limited access to the general population by Web search. Examples: (Relationship Manager) and Dun & Bradstreet's The Million Dollar Database (Corporate Family Tree, U.S. Premier).

Try a twist on using subscription-based directories.

Rather than searching a directory of corporate titles, use media databases to find citations of employees associated with a company, product or service. Examples: ABI/Inform Global and ABI/Inform Trade and Industry. Both databases are published by ProQuest.

Network for entry to member-based directories.

Alumni, professional and special-interest groups often restrict their directories to members. By establishing a personal contact with a member of a group you would like to sift, you can get the data you need.

Tap into social media for referrals and information.

Another way to gain entry to inaccessible data with a personal contact is to work through social media such as LinkedIn, which at 60 million-plus members is the star business social networking site at this time. LinkedIn's free membership offers first-degree connections with your known network of friends, second-degree connections (friends of your friends) and third-degree connections (friends of your friends of friends).

Among other online people-finders: Spoke, ZoomInfo, Ziggs, JigSaw, Twitter and Facebook.

Remember obvious Web searches.

Company Web sites often display bios and main telephone numbers; figure out e-mail addresses by looking at the company's press releases.

For public companies, the EDGAR database ( can be a helpful resource for pinpointing key executives.

A Google search will reveal online mentions of your query. Google Alerts (which you set up) are e-mails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms.


DEAR JOYCE: What should I say when asked why I'm changing jobs? -- D.D.

Tony Lee, publisher of Adacio's and a leading light in the career industry, offers a winning answer:

"The economy has pushed many talented professionals into the job market, so don't be ashamed to simply explain that you were a part of a downsizing. If you were fired for performance issues, it's best to merely say you 'parted ways' and refocus the discussion on how your skill set matches the current position.

"If you're currently employed, focus on why you're seeking greater opportunity, challenges or responsibility. If you're transitioning to a new industry, discuss why you're making the transition and tie it into the new job responsibilities.

"Make sure that you have very strong references regardless of why you left or plan to leave a position."

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