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The 14 Ways to Look for a Job

By Richard Bolles | JobDig

Not many people realize it, but the job-hunt is one of the most studied phenomena of our time. It is amazing what we know about it.

Acquainting yourself with this research can pay rich dividends to any job-hunter, and especially if your job-hunt is running into trouble. Let me illustrate what I mean.

Most job-hunters think there are basically only three ways to go about their job-hunt: resumes, ads, and agencies. Actually, there are fourteen:

1. Using the Internet to look for job-postings or to post one’s own resume. (1%)

2. Mailing out resumes to employers at random. (7%)

3. Answering ads in professional or trade journals appropriate to your field. (7%)

4. Answering local newspaper ads. (5-24% depending on salary demands)

5. Going to private employment agencies or search firms. (5-24% depending on salary demands)

6. Going to places where employers come to pick out workers, such as union hiring halls. (8%)

7. Taking a Civil Service exam. (12%)

8. Asking a former teacher or professor for job-leads. (12%)

9. Going to the state/Federal employment service office. (14%)

10. Asking family members, friends, or professionals you know for job-leads. (33%)

11. Knocking on the door of any employer, factory, or office that interests you, whether they are known to have a vacancy or not. (47%)

12. By yourself, using the phone book’s Yellow Pages to identify fields that interest you, then calling employers in those fields to see if they’re hiring for the kind of work you can do. (69%)

13. In a group with other job-hunters, using the phone book’s Yellow Pages as above. (84%)

14. Doing what is called “the creative approach to job-hunting or career-change”: doing homework on yourself, to figure out what your favorite and best skills are; then doing face-to-face interviewing for information only, at organizations in your field; followed up by using your personal contacts to get in to see, at each organization that has interested you, the person-who-actually-has-the-power-to-hire-you (not necessarily the human resources department). (86%)

There are five interesting things about this list:

1. Researchers have discovered ‘the effectiveness rate’ of each of these methods.

By which I mean, we now know how often each method ‘pays off’ for the job-hunters who use that method to hunt for a job. Those figures in parentheses above are the effectiveness rate.

2. We know the failure rate of each of these methods.

That is, how often they don’t ‘pay off’ for the job-hunters using that method. This failure rate is found by simply subtracting each effectiveness rate, above, from 100. You can do the math.

3. I listed the fourteen methods above in inverse order to their effectiveness.

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