If you're looking only at top-of-your-mind companies for your next job, you may be disappointed. They're not hiring at nearly the rate of places you've never heard about.
Various reports are showing that 2014 job creation is in small and midsized organizations. The ADP payroll processing company reports that about three-fourths of new jobs so far this year were created by firms with fewer than 500 employees.
That's a fairly high-level definition of "small and midsized," but it does suggest that your next employment is less likely to come from a Fortune 1000 type. And you're probably not going to find the opening through a table at a big job fair or by going to the Web page of a company you've targeted.
The growing enterprises — the places that need you — may not attend career fairs or recruit on campus. They may not send representatives to chamber of commerce meetings or do other community outreach. They're too busy building their businesses.
When they need new workers, they often use the most expedient method available to them at little to no cost: They ask the people who already work there if they know someone who could fill the position.
That kind of built-in referral network is golden. It can help busy, growing employers bypass the time-consuming and expensive first step of advertising openings. It also narrows the candidate pool to a few. There's no applicant flood to wade through if the opening isn't posted on the Internet.
A job hunter's personal referral system can extend to clients, vendors and other business partners. It isn't confined solely to current employees.
And that's good if you're job hunting, because anyone — including someone with several degrees of separation — might turn out to be your personal headhunter for a job you didn't know existed.