No single method can guarantee a successful job search, but some job search methods are more likely to be successful than others. Networking is still the most effective job search method, followed by the use of Internet job boards, job search agencies and directly approaching employers whether they are running a help wanted ad or not.
Successful job seekers reach out to their friends and family, social media contacts and any professional or alumni associations they may be members of to request leads about potential jobs. According to a job search guide by the University of Houston's Career Services center, networking is the most effective job search method. In a 2011 article in "Forbes," a study of 59,133 successful job seekers by a company called Right Management found that networking was far more successful than other job search methods. Forty-one percent of jobs in this study were filled through networking in 2010, 45 percent in 2009 and 41 percent in 2008.
The second most successful job search method according to the Right Management study was to respond to ads on Internet job boards. In 2008 and 2009, Internet job boards accounted for 19 percent of successful job searches, rising to 25 percent in 2010. While only about half as successful as networking, this method is still an important tool in a successful job search strategy. To increase your chances of success, research which job boards are used most often by employers in the industry you want to work in.
Job Search Agencies
The third most successful job search method according to the Right Management study is to go through a job search agency. Job search agencies match the skills, interests and educational backgrounds of job seekers with potential employers to improve the odds of finding a good match. According to Right Management, this method accounted for 11 percent of successful searches in 2008, 9 percent in 2009 and 11 percent again in 2010. Although not as effective as networking or responding to job board listings, an agency can increase your chances of finding the right job.
Career counselor Thomas J. Denham, in his "Ten Tips for an Effective Job Search," advises job seekers to approach companies directly whether they are known to be hiring or not. According to Right Management's study of job search methods, this approach accounted for 8 percent of successful job searches in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The University of Houston's Career Services center recommends approaching a person at the company who supervises people with similar skill sets as your own. If this person tells you the company isn't hiring, request an informational interview. If you impress the supervisor in this interview, you could get a call later when a position opens up.