Job Search Information

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How Do People Get Jobs?

"There may be others out there who could do the job better than you. Who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do the best job, but the one who knows the most about how to get hired."
- Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute

"Informal" methods of job finding are those whereby job seekers exercise their own initiative in building on personal contacts and making themselves known to potential employers. They are differentiated from formal methods which rely on advertisements and/or employment agencies.

"Other" is a category which includes all other job finding methods such as trade union hiring, civil service, etc.

Which Job Search Method Should I Use?

Use all techniques in proportion to their effectiveness.
Only 18-20% of all job vacancies are ever listed. 80% of all openings are never listed anywhere. The only way to find out about this "hidden job market" is by using the informal methods of job hunting listed below.

Informal - 75% of your job search effort
Temporary Work
Career Fairs

People generally prefer hiring people they know to hiring those they do not know. It is important to make yourself known to those who have the power to hire, or those who know someone with that power.

Advertisements - 10% of your job search effort
Internet Job listings
Company websites
Association newsletters
Computer Listings
Personnel Office Listings

When answering an ad or applying to a vacancy listing, be sure that your resume, letter, and application are specific to the exact details of the listing or ad. If at all possible research the employer before you apply. Your resume and cover letter will be the only chance you have to stand out from the multiple applications, so tailor them to the employer's specific needs.

Agencies - 9% of your job search effort
Personnel Agencies
Temporary Agencies
Corporate Recruiters
Federal/State Employment Agency

Research agencies carefully. Determine who pays the agency's fees, you or the employer, and if their motivation is in your best career interest.

Other - 6% of your job search effort
Create Your Own Job
Start Your Own Business
Mass Mailings
Resume Banks
Civil Service Testing
Predict Future Employment

Don't overlook the many other traditional and creative methods of job hunting. Many people find jobs through unique and individual means.

How Do I Conduct My Job Search?

  • 1. Determine what type of work you want to do.
    Conduct self-assessment.
    Brainstorm possible options
    Research different careers
  • 2. Determine where you want to work
    Generate a list of prospective employers
    Research different employers
  • 3. Develop self-marketing techniques
    Write an effective resume and cover letter
    Learn and practice interviewing techniques
    Build a professional wardrobe
    Network every chance you get
  • 4. Take action! Start! Move! Develop and carry out a daily action plan.
    Contact job leads
    Follow up any contacts, interviews or meetings
    Constantly network
    Reward yourself for hard work -- job hunting requires determination and energy.

How Long Will It Take?

A job search can take a day, six months, or a year depending upon how hard you work at it. The average job search takes 400 hours. That is ten weeks, working eight hours per day. Studies indicate that two-thirds of all job hunters spend five hours or less a week on their job hunt. At this rate it could easily take one and a half years to find a job!

It is very important that you get started as soon as possible and steadily pursue your search. Plan to do something every day. Get into a routine. Set achievable goals for yourself. For example, "Today I will make three appointments and send out four resumes."

What Do I Do If I Get Stuck?

Do not be discouraged if things do not happen overnight. Structure other activities that make you feel successful and satisfied so that you can pursue your job hunt within a context of overall happiness and self-esteem.

Maintain a positive attitude. Expect some disappointment and rejection. Do not become defeated. If you start feeling discouraged, talk with a career counselor. You may have overlooked some possibility that could be a turning point in your job search.

If you find yourself thinking that you can't find a job because you don't have enough education, experience, contacts, or some other reasons, remember that everyone has a handicap of some type. Finally, ask yourself, "Am I following Bolles' rules for job-hunting survival?", which are included here:

  • Use as many different methods as you can. Invest the most time in those methods that work the best.
  • As much as you can, go face-to-face with people -- rather than inserting a piece of paper (i.e. your resume) or an instrument (i.e. the telephone) between you and them.
  • If your problem is getting an interview for a job, you will have to work hard on alternative methods of your job hunt, which ignore the question of whether or not an employer has a vacancy. In other words, you will need access to the hidden job market.
  • If you have no trouble getting interviews, but nothing ever comes out of them, work on your interview techniques. If you are truly at the desperate/survival level, be willing to take any job temporarily, so long as the job is something you can handle.
  • If nothing is turning up, and you are really down to rock bottom, run, -- not walk, to career centers which are experienced in the job search and ask for their help.
  • Volunteer! It's a great way to get experience and develop contacts. Volunteer positions sometimes become paid jobs too.