How People Find Jobs
How To Use The Job Search Pyramid To Stand Out

An Effective Job Search - What Works and What Doesn't

The first secret to finding job opportunities and eventually getting hired is to connect with the people who will help you find the job you want.

Here’s the second secret:  a successful job search is more like a marketing campaign than it is an actual search.  The traditional picture of job seeking is that you look for open positions that have been posted somewhere and follow a formal application procedure to be considered for them.. But if 74% to 85% of positions are never advertised, how effective can this be?  And with thousands of job-seekers applying for only those positions that are advertised, the competition can be overwhelming.

While a portion of your job search may be devoted to locating posted position, the only way to beat the odds and the competition is to market yourself actively and locate positions before they are advertised.

Marketing yourself as a job seeker means locating the people who can offer or lead you to opportunities and telling them of what you are capable, over and over.  You do have to seek them out - you can’t wait for them to find you.  There are many ways of telling them what you can do - in person, in writing, by phone, through social media platforms - but you must tell them.  And you have to tell them over and over.  No one will remember you if they hear from you only once.

Just as any company selling a product or service works from a strategic marketing plan with proper tactics to put the plan into action, so should you.  In this case, you are the product.  Finding job opportunities takes a disciplined approach using strategies that are proven to work.  “Effective Job Search Approaches” listed below are the six approaches from which you can choose to design your job search campaign.  All six approaches can work, but he approaches listed at the top are more effective than those at the bottom because of their increased payoff.

  1. Networking and Referral-Building

  2. Contacting Potential Employers

  3. Informational Interviewing

  4. Employing Recruiters and Agencies

  5. Searching Specialized Job Listings

  6. Internet Job Boards

Each of the top three approaches can produce:

  • Contacts.  An increased number of people in your network helping you seek out opportunities.

  • Referral.  Introductions to new people for your network or people with the power to hire you.

  • Leads.  Information about open positions or companies that might have opportunities for you.

Networking and referral-building will provide  you with the maximum number of all three payoffs, so that approach is ranked as the most effective.  Contacting prospective employers and informational interviewing are about equal in terms of their potential payoff, but contacting employers (once you are ready) is more likely to lead directly to a job.

Employing recruiters and agencies will give you more contacts looking our for you and more leads to pursue, but they are unlikely to refer you to others.  Using job listings, in whatever form, can provide you with leads, but no new contacts or referrals.

In any effective job search, you will most likely employ a combination of several approaches, used in varying degrees.


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