found this to be helpful during my recruiting days.
While reaching out to associates/analysts/vps cant hurt, the most effective use of time (and response rate) is to directly reach out to the MD's/Directors of the position/department you are applying to.
If you putting in the time and effort to network, might as well go big.
For example, you really need to knock it out of the park for an analyst/associate to got to bat for you, and even if they do, their input is just a data point at the end of the day.
On the other hand, even if an MD doesn't know who the fck you are, they might fwd your resume to their underlings, in which case, you are almost guaranteed at least a phone screen.
not sure if I am being obvious here, but wanted to share regardless