I've been job hunting for a while now. Popular advice tells me to "leverage my network" because insiders can help me gain access to the "hidden job market" (the jobs that aren't posted). Popular advice tells me that I should also try to build a job based on my unique skills and experience.
Popular advice isn't in touch with reality.
When I contact my network, the default response I get is a cheerful "Take a look at our web site! If you see something that looks like a fit, let me know you applied for it!" or, occasionally "If you see something that looks like a fit, send me your resume and I'll submit it."
I admit that's a help; at least, it bypasses the standard "toss your resume into a big black box", but it's not getting me access to the "hidden job market".
Occasionally, someone will be more forthcoming. They'll say "Oh... I don't have anything to do with hiring." Or, "I don't know anyone who is hiring." Or "I don't think we have anyone who does that."
On rare occasions, they'll give me an email address I can contact, but it's almost always jobs@company (and when I contact that address, the reply is usually "we don't have anything posted right now that meets your skill set." (or "Take a look at our web site...")
Many years ago, when I was a low-on-the-totem-pole individual contributor in a small group in a very large company, I received a resume out of the blue from someone who knew me only by name from a technical email list. I could have written back to say "I don't have anything to do with hiring." or "Check our posted job listings."
Instead, I forwarded her resume to my manager and to people I knew in several groups around the company. I added a note to say "I don't know this woman personally, but her resume looks good and she's shown initiative."
She got an interview in a tech support team. She got an offer. She stayed with the company for more than 5 years.
I took took a chance and thought outside my own box. Instead of saying "There's nothing I can do", I asked myself "What can I do?".
What have you done for a job hunter lately? The next person who asks if there's something available in your company could be a great candidate , a potential co-worker, and the next 5-year employee.