I am sorry if this question has been raised (and I'm sure it has) but I'd like to ask it my way :)
Straight to the point: Is it ACTUALLY possible to network your way into a large company? Be it a bank, or a financial division of, say, GE or some Fortune500? Isn't all the networking just an illusion?
You hear "network-network" all the time. Say you get a few coffees, research the company, ask super-duper smart questions and even meet some SVP/MD for lunch. But can those people actually pull you in? Don't all the large companies have a streamlined recruitment process, where you still have to submit your CV, do the online tests, etc, so how can that guy help you to skip or to facilitate this process?
What I am saying is that it seems to me that all those coffees actually are pretty useless, since you still must go through the regular recruitment process no matter how much they like you. Since you will still submit your CV via the website, etc won't it just get lost among the thousands of other CVs? Doesn't it just become one more candidate? Seriously, it seems to me that if you are a strong candidate to begin with, you will get to the assessment stage, if you are not, no matter how much you network, you wont reach the A. centers since your CV won't have some special reccomendation on it.
Or am I wrong here? Can they tweak the process in your favor somehow? Or the networking results would be used in late-recruitment stages, should you get there?
Thank you for your feedback!