Want to have some fun with networking? Contact the state senator, state representative, or U.S. representative for your chosen geographical area. Now here are people who are truly well connected! If they know that a potential voter is going to be in their area, they will usually "oblige you ever so kindly" by giving you several business leads to tap into. If you happen to be active in a Young Republicans or Young Democrats group, that is an additional plus in your favor (assuming you are in the "right" camp). If you actually did volunteer campaign work for a politician, now is the time to cash in your chips. Yet no matter what your political affiliation, you will always be a valuable political connection to the politician.
Politicians are not likely to be continuous contacts, but if you use the following line with them, it is almost guaranteed to generate strong, one-time results:
"As I was making calls to others and asking for referrals to hiring companies, it suddenly dawned on me—you, Mr./Ms. Politician, are probably the most knowledgeable person in our entire district on the subject of jobs. I would certainly appreciate any recommendations regarding employers that might have work in the _____ area."
Guaranteed results! What politician would admit they are not the most knowledgeable person in their district when it comes to jobs? In addition, you may end up with referrals at some of the highest levels within the company (often CEO/President/VP level), which always works well when making your initial contact (see "The Law of Network Gravity" mentioned earlier).
Also, be sure to mention the name of the politician who referred you when you make the contact. Many of these businesspeople owe "political favors" to the politicians and are more willing to help you when the politician's name is dropped.
Even if you do not get through to the actual politicians directly, you will likely find someone on their staff who can assist you. Many politicians have assumed the role of the ultimate consumer advocate and have staffs ready to assist you in every facet of life. Don't be intimidated by the fact that most politicians will be caught off guard by this approach—it is rather unique and you may be the very first person to make such a request of them. Remember, their life is totally devoted to serving their loyal constituents, right? Your tax dollars at work!