NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Even as Americans appear to loathe the term "networking," connecting the dots between trusted contacts and future job opportunities is a big deal for job hunters.
Failing that could be a real deal-breaker for career professionals looking for a landing spot: A 2011 study from Right Management says 41% of all job applicants found new positions through networking, and only 2% through a job advertisement, either online or offline. A 2012 report from ABC News said 80% of all jobs are found through networking and networking events.
For job-seekers in the dark about how to leverage contacts to close a deal with a new employer, it's best to start with the basics -- with family, friends and current and former co-workers. College graduates can add academic advisers to the list of people to turn to for career advice and job leads.
Job-seekers should also always leverage social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and join as many appropriate online professional groups as you can. Work and perfect your online profile first, as that can smooth your way with new contacts online.
Job fairs and industry trade events are other great ways to add to a network. And job-seekers mustn't be reluctant to ask trusted professionals contacts out for lunch or coffee to catch up and discuss new opportunities.