Hello everyone,

I've been told that the best way in any field to find a job is by
networking, or in other words, meeting IT decision makers by setting up
"informational interviews" and then have those people refer you to other
people.

However, from my experience in IT, instead of referrals to more decision
making people, I continually get referred to recruiters, which is what a
job candidate is trying to avoid in the process of career networking.

Some fanatical career networking advisers I know insist that it does'nt
matter what you know, but what you do need to show is passion for the
position that you are pursuing. However, the IT decision makers that
I've dealt with already assume that you are looking for a job, and that
the business of conducting "informational interviews" doesn't seem to
register with them. Is there some nuance or step that I'm missing in
the process? Or is my sneaking suspicion, that what you know in IT
really does count more than who you do know correct?

Do any of you have any luck penetrating small business using these kinds
of techniques?

I've had a few years of experience COBOL programming during Y2K and have
partially engineered a switch to Java. What I mean by partially is that
I've taken a class and have it working on a website I'm hosting at home
for a non-profit (www.ocachicago.org). However, I am looking for a
means to getting more meatier experience.