The New Rules of Online Job Hunting

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Think about it. How would you rather conduct your next job hunt? By e-mailing 30 of your most trusted industry colleagues that you're in the market for a new gig, or scrambling to first assemble that cadre of 30 close colleagues?

Waiting for Hiring Managers to Contact You vs. Seeking Them Out

Old rule: Find a job listing on Craigslist, a corporate website or a traditional online job board. Carefully craft a cover note and tailor your resume to the job. Click "submit" and wait for the hiring manager to get back to you. And wait. And wait.

New rule: Why leave the ball entirely in the court of those doing the hiring if you don't have to? Rather than conducting a plain old passive job search, Schawbel recommends conducting "a people search." How?

1. Research which five to 10 companies you'd most like to work for.

2. Use Google and LinkedIn to figure out which positions at these firms best match your skills and experience, and to find employees on those teams or in those departments. (Get in-depth LinkedIn tips here.)

3. Use LinkedIn, Twitter and face-to-face professional events to get to know these employees. Avoid the temptation to ask if they can hook you up with a job.

4. Once you've established a rapport with someone at your target employer, ask them to help you set up an informational interview there and to forward your resume to those in the hiring seat. Even better if you've already done your contact a favor first.

"This way, you're connecting directly with people who can hire or refer you, which is the easiest path to getting a job," Schawbel explained. "This works much better than submitting your resume blindly into a recruiting database that won't even get looked at."

If you hit a dead end, don't give up. The more contacts you cultivate at your target companies, the better your odds of landing a position there. Happy new year, and good hunting to all!

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer and former cubicle dweller. Her books include "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube." Follow her at @anti9to5guide.

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