Hired! With help from your friends

The job market has been tough on Juan Velasquez, but he was able to to rebound and find employment after reaching out to his buddies.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney.com staff writer

job_couple.03.jpg
Juan Velasquez, here with his wife and daughter, was laid off twice in the last year and bounced back.
Photos
Life on unemployment
6 readers tell their stories of making ends meet on $300 a week.
What do you think of Geithner's plan to enlist private firms in the bank bailout?
  • It's good - we need their money
  • It's bad - it won't work

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Finding a job in this economy is tough, finding two jobs is nearly impossible, unless you know someone who knows someone who can help.

Juan Velasquez, 31, worked at Enterprise Rent a Car since graduating from James Madison University. He had worked his way up from management trainee to branch manager and was then promoted to area sales manager making close to $90,000 a year. But by the spring of 2007, things "got bad in a hurry," he said.

"Gas prices went up and inventories swelled," Velasquez said. And because his income was largely commission based, his take home fell to about $65,000, he said.

As the sole provider for his family, Velasquez says he was in no position to ride out the downturn in the rental car market and had to start looking for another job. He posted his resume online, built a LinkedIn profile, signed up for Facebook, set up a twitter account and reached out to friends and family.

One college buddy recommended that he apply for a job as a business development manager at recruiting firm Beeline. His background in sales gave him an edge, Velasquez said. He started working last August as a project-based recruiter, helping companies find workers for temporary projects. He made $80,000. But soon that industry slowed too, and just a few months later Velasquez was looking for work, again.

Velasquez updated his Facebook status to "looking for a new opportunity, professional sales person or recruiter at your service," hoping to spread the word once more. And his friends and family responded with more leads, including one from the owner of the daycare that his daughter, Ellie, attended.

That's how he heard about a position at Cintas, selling supplies such as uniforms, soap dispensers and floor mats to other businesses. He was hired last week and he starts immediately.

The job pays $45,000 but there is the potential to another $40,000 with commissions and best of all, he says, it's in an industry that's growing rather than contracting.

"It's not glamorous but neither is selling cars," he said.

Relying on those around you

Our career experts say that friends and family are often key when it comes to finding a job.

Many job seekers are often reluctant to lean on their friends and family for help, for fear of coming off badly, said Kathy Robinson, the founder of TurningPoint, a career consulting firm in greater Boston. But, they're often the ones that will eagerly pass along leads and be the most willing to help.

"These are the people that are going to be the most motivated to help you," said Cheryl Palmer, an executive career coach at Call To Career in Silver Spring, Md. Palmer suggests always starting a search with friends and branching out from there.

"The best networking is a second degree connection, which is a friend of a friend," Robinson said. Many openings are filled before the job is even listed online, Robinson explained, and that's where having a referral or knowing someone in the company becomes essential.

Don't overlook the people right around you, Palmer warns. Velasquez made a connection through someone at his daughter's daycare, which goes to show that "you never know who may be in a position to help you."

Very often job seekers "overlook people who can help them thinking this person isn't necessarily in my field or level," she said, and that's a mistake.

"Be willing to talk about your job search and be clear about what you're looking for," Robinson said. "Don't be embarrassed about talking about it because there are a lot of people on the same boat."

Have you found a job recently? We want to hear from you. Send us an email and attach a photo. Tell us where you got hired and how you landed the job and you could be profiled in an upcoming story on CNNMoney.com.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More
Mercedes SL65 AMG: 621 horses of topless power Turn heads as you blow by traffic in this roadster convertible from Mercedes. More
Where the middle class is most unequal CNNMoney looks at the five states with the biggest differences in middle class incomes. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.