Short version: Based on my experience, large majority of good jobs in Canada and America are fulfilled based on merit – your qualifications, experience and soft-skills. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you won’t get a job until you get to know someone inside a big company. Focus on your merit instead; do certifications, improve your communications skills, achieve more, work hard and work smart!
Being blessed with the opportunity to mentor hundreds of individuals over the last decade or so, I am always learning about real and perceived obstacles to employment or advancement faced by many individuals.
One of the most consistent perceived obstacle is the false belief that a reference from an inside a large organization is required to get a good job. One of the key sources of this false belief are cultures from which many of my mentees are from, particularly India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. I am a Pakistani-Canadian, and I have seen this in practice myself. It’s certainly true that many people in these countries get jobs based on nepotism, reference, favoritism and bribery. It’s an unfortunate fact.