The 5 Best (And 5 Worst) Ways to Find a Job

booksI spend a lot of time reading job search and career-related books. I even re-read the good ones (the picture is my current reading pile from my local library).

And in all this reading one piece of information has proven constant: The job search strategy most likely to yield results… is networking. I know this to be true from research and based on the results of my clients.

The worst job search strategy, on the other hand, is to avoid all human contact and only apply for jobs virtually.

Listed below is a summary of job search strategies and their general effectiveness from the classic career book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, that has been paraphrased by Daniel Pink in an article for Fast Company. The most up-to-date version of the book has slightly different statistics, but the general ideas are the same.

The Five Best Ways to Find a Job

5. Ask for job leads from family members, friends, people in the community, and staff at career centers. Ask them this one simple question: Do you know of any jobs in my field?

Success rate: 33%

4. Knock on the doors of any employers, factories, or offices that interest you, whether or not they have vacancies.

Success rate: 47%

3. Identify areas that interest you in, or near, the town or city where you live and then call the employers in that field to find out whether they are hiring for the position that you can do — and do well.

Success rate: 69%

2. In a group with other job hunters, implement method #3 (above).

Success rate: 84%

1. Do thorough homework on yourself. Know your best skills, in order of priority. Know the fields in which you want to use those skills. Talk to people who have those kinds of jobs. Find out whether they’re happy, and how they found their jobs. Then choose the places where you want to work, rather than just those places that have advertised job openings. Thoroughly research these organizations before approaching them. Seek out the person who actually has the power to hire you for the job that you want. Demonstrate to that person how you can help the company with its problems. Cut no corners; take no shortcuts.

Success rate: 86%

The Five Worst Ways to Find a Job

5. Go to private employment agencies for help.

Success rate: Up to 24% (depending on salary demands)

4. Answer ads in local newspapers. (The higher the salary, the smaller the chance of finding a job using that method.)

Success rate: Up to 24% (again, depending on salary)

3. Answer ads in newspapers in other parts of the state or country.

Success rate: 10%

2. Answer ads in professional or trade journals appropriate to your field.

Success rate: 7%

1. Randomly mail out résumés to employers. One study revealed that there is one job offer for every 1,470 résumés floating around out there. Another study puts the figure even higher — one job offer for every 1,700 résumés.

Success rate: 7%

What has been your experience? Leave a comment below to share what job search strategies have worked for you.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Alison Elissa Coaching!



Alison ElissaAbout the Author: Alison Elissa Cardy is a career coach who specializes in helping men and women around the world figure out their career direction. She trained with Martha Beck, Havard PhD and columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine. Alison’s career advice has been featured on Brazen Life, Forbes, Learnvest, and Monster. Visit to learn more and to receive your complimentary copy of “The Career Unstuckinator”. Follow Alison on Twitter!



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