It reminded me of a story that I told in the Summer 2009 issue of Resume Writers' Digest, in my "From the Editor" column. I wrote about a friend of mine who was seeking a transportation job. One of the first discussions I had with him was about his network -- and, in particular, their importance in helping lead him to a new job. He had already started networking with some folks in his church, but I reminded him to contact his past co-workers (some of whom had been let go in a previous round of layoffs).
After a few weeks of searching, he was stuck. So I put out a message to some of my connections about what he was looking for. Within a day, I received a call from a mutual friend of ours who worked in a shipping department of a large manufacturer in a town about an hour away. He had a lead for a transportation company that was possibly going to be hiring a new manager, in my client's town. So I called my client and put him in contact with our mutual friend.
This was were it got interesting: My client mentioned that he had a former co-worker that worked at the target company, but that he hadn't talked to him in a few years. I was stunned. Obviously, our discussion about contacting past co-workers had fallen on deaf ears ... because this was the kind of opportunity he should have found out about from his former co-worker.
This should be a reminder to us as resume writers: You can lead a client to his or her network, but you can't make him or her use it!