Research consistently identifies networking as an important job search tool — anywhere from 40-80% of job placements are attributed to networking. Networking can also be a way to identify unadvertised job opportunities — accessing the “hidden job market.” The “hidden” job market refers to positions that are filled through employee referrals, recruiters, or direct contact with hiring managers through their network of industry or professional contacts.
Some hiring teams do rely on cover letters, often called job search letters, to help them differentiate job candidates, although estimates on the percentage of managers that read letters vary. A recruiter that did a survey and posted the results online stated that 69% of her respondents read letters. Other estimates are lower.