Wow. Simple question – hard answer. There are so many places to look for jobs these days, and so many people looking in them – what is the “best” place to look? The answer (that you probably didn’t want to hear) is all of them.
The most popular “place” to look for a job these days is the Internet. While not really a place, it is a method you need. You need to look (often) on all the major job boards – Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, CraigsList, etc. (Look here for one list of the top 15 job boards.) You may be one of thousands that is viewing that posting or applying for that job, but better 1 in 1,000 than 0 in 1,000. Better yet, you need to find job boards that are specific to your industry or job type – the numbers are better there. Regularly look at the website of every company on your target list (see my post from November 16th if you don’t have a target list). Unfortunately, while lots of people look for jobs on the Internet, not many find them there.
You need to look in the newspaper. Yeah, I know, the old fashioned want ads seem just so, old fashioned, but you gotta go there. And don’t stop with your city’s main newspaper, look in the local papers and the “jobs” papers. Look at all of them every week. But again, while you need to look, most job seekers don’t find jobs there either.
Don’t forget the local unemployment office. They have listings of jobs and they are paid to help people fill those jobs. Plus, talk to recruiters, head hunters, temporary agencies, whatever you call them. Let them know you are “available to industry.”
I’ve been looking for a good source of job-search statistics and I can’t find any that are both current and easy to cite, but everywhere I look I get the same general feel that if you do everything I’ve mentioned so far you’ve got at best a 50/50 chance of finding a job. Was 50/50 not what you were hoping for? What’s the real secret you ask? Well, it’s not really a secret, but the answer is networking.
Networking is the key. Somewhere between half and 95% of jobs that are filled (depending on who you ask) are never advertised. They are filled when the hiring manager has an opening and knows a qualified candidate. Those might be internal promotions or transfers, but more often than not the personal knowledge came from networking.
You need to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Take your resume with you everywhere you go. Ask everyone you talk to for a referral to someone else. They may not know of any jobs but their name will open another door. When you can call or email a stranger and say “Bob Smith told me that you might be able to help me,” they will usually be willing to stop what they are doing and listen to your story. Just keep repeating that process.
The message today is get out from behind that computer screen and go talk to people – face-to-face. Tell them your story and ask them to refer you to someone they know. That chain of people, while possibly long, will have the link to your next job.