Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BOB LANKARD: Old ways to find job leads

by on June 30, 2013 2:50 AM

Many job seekers rely on Monster, Career Builder and Hot Jobs for their leads in job openings. In this dependence they may be missing out on opportunities, especially local ones. Mix national search engines with these sources:

• School or alumni placement services

Schools have an interest in their graduates and alumni finding training-related employment. Bragging about their placement record is good advertising to prospective students.

• Want ad in local papers

Some 20-somethings may consider it old school. They do not realize some companies seeking local applicants rely solely on newspaper classifieds.

• Civil service

Despite rumors to the contrary, turnover and new openings continue to create a good number of state and federal job openings.

“I tried that once and it didn’t work,” many job seekers told me. Using the civil service system is like learning to ride a bike. You skin your knees until you get the hang of it.

• Private employment agencies & temporary help agencies

Some job seekers reject these sources because they do not want to pay for a job or work sporadically. These attitudes are misguided. Why? Most private employment agencies make their money from fees paid by the employer, not the job seeker. Many jobs with “temp agencies” are long-term and lead to permanent employment. The term is “temp to hire.” A person who works one place Monday and another on Tuesday is mostly a stereotype of a temp worker.

• Government placement offices

These used to be called employment offices and now are known by different names in the various states. But they still accept job listings from employers and encourage qualified applicants to apply.

• Networking

Networking is the path to the hidden job market. The hidden job market is job openings businesses have but do not advertise. Networking is telling your friends, relatives, neighbors, former schoolteachers and everyone you know that you are looking for a job. You should ask them “Do you know any companies that hire people to do my type of work? Do you know anyone who may know about these companies?”

• Yellow Pages

This phone book product will list all the businesses in the area that do a certain type of work. For example, a person looking for construction in the construction industry in the Indiana area will find 51 businesses listed as contractors.

When a job seeker applies direct to an employer, they actually walk into the establishment without knowing if they are hiring or not and ask for an application. To some job seekers this seems so “old school.”

However, Richard Nelson Bolles in “What Color is Your Parachute?” calls applying directly the second most effective method. Bolles claims that job seekers using this method alone have up to a 47 percent success rate in finding a job.

He also says “by going face to face you have an almost seven times better chance of finding a job than if you just sent out your resume.”

I agree with Bolles on the value of personal contact. However I do not advise walking into businesses randomly. As a minimum you should know what each business does. Those who walk in blindly run the risk of damaging their chances.

Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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