The Seven Search Techniques


The Seven Search Techniques

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Everyone looking for a job uses one or more of these seven techniques. The good news is that there are only seven of them, and they’re not complicated. The bad news is that they’re often misunderstood. Even some job hunting books contain misinformation on them.

There’s a chapter on the Seven Search Techniques in The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search, explaining their pros and cons and how to use them. And of course, Highly Effective Networking is all about how to use #7, the one that virtually all experts agree is the most important.

You’re doing well if you get one interview for every 50 resumes you send out in response to specific postings.

Here are all seven, in order of their importance:

These four work for only a small percentage of job hunters:

1. Walking In is when you go to the employer’s location and ask to be hired. It works best for hands-on jobs that pay by the hour, like dishwasher or non-union carpenter. It’s generally not used for other jobs. 

2. Cold Calling is when you phone complete strangers — people who have never heard of you and to whom you have no introduction — to set up an appointment to see them. It requires a good script and considerable persistence. Along with direct mail, it might be worth 5 to 10 % of your job hunting time. 

3. Direct Mail is sending letters or e-mails to complete strangers, people who have never heard of you and to whom you have no introduction. It is possible to find a job this way, but it requires very large numbers of letters or e-mails. Along with cold calling, it might be worth 5 to 10 % of your time.

4. Completing Applications is most important in government hiring and for some entry-level jobs. For other salaried jobs, it’s not a strong technique. Many people fill out the application after they get hired, not before. Employers sometimes use applications as a polite way to get rid of unwanted applicants: ”Fill out the application, and we’ll let you know.”

Networking, or just plain talking to people, is how the majority of people find jobs. But, wow, are there a lot of crazy ideas out there about networking!”

These two work for about 25% of job hunters:

5. Responding to Job Postings on the Internet If you can find postings for your kind of work and your resume is suitable for them, you should definitely respond. You’re doing well if you get one interview for every 50 resumes you send out in response to specific postings. If you can find ads for your kind of work and your resume is suitable for them, you should definitely try it.

6. Using Staffing Firms (including executive recruiters, employment agencies, and temp firms) works best for people with resumes showing solid work experience in standard job titles like administrative assistant, accountant, brand manager or controller, though it can work for anyone. Senior managers and C-suite executives should always use this one. Managers and executives can sometimes quickly get interviews by getting a strong resume to 50 -100 executive recruiters.

When you post your resume on Internet sites like LinkedIn and job boards, you’re in this category. The site’s owners are including your resume in a huge resume database, then selling employers and recruiters the privilege of searching the database. Like staffing firms, these sites are charging employers a fee to provide candidates who are “matched” with their job openings. 

This one works for everyone, if you know how:

7. Networking, or just plain talking to people, is how the majority of people find jobs. But, wow, are there a lot of crazy ideas out there about networking! It’s often confused with information interviewing or mixed up with stuff that’s not networking at all, like networking parties or network marketing or aggressive sales techniques. Some books actually tell you that networking is the same as cold calling, or even suggest that it includes tricking people or stretching the truth.

If you understand what job networking really is (and use it honestly, with a Project Plan and Target List) you can find a good job without having to do anything unusual or unpleasant.

There’s a chapter on the Seven Search Techniques in Orville’s book, The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search, explaining their pros and cons and how to use them. And Highly Effective Networking is all about how to best use the one technique that experts agree is a central piece of job hunting.

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