Networking, In-House References Best Job Search Techniques

By Theresa Minton-Eversole Oct 24, 2008
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Networking has been and remains the most important job search strategy for individuals seeking salaried, professional employment, according to new survey results released from global career transitions consultancy Impact Group.

Forty-six percent of survey responses from 419 of the company’s clients who landed new jobs through August 2008 revealed that at salary levels above $100,000, networking is clearly the most successful strategy for finding a new employment opportunity. For the $60,000 to $100,000 income range, no one strategy dominates, although those relying on networking (38 percent) are slightly more successful than those who pursue published openings (28 percent). For those earning less than $60,000, published openings were cited as the most effective way of learning about an opportunity (42 percent).

“The report reveals how our recipients are learning about and landing job opportunities including the impact of gender, age and income on job search techniques and trends in job search strategies since 1999,” said Pam Grosicki, vice president of product development and strategic initiatives at Impact Group.

Historically, the company’s data reveal that men have been more likely to learn about opportunities through networking and women have been more successful in learning through published openings. This gap is narrowing, however, as gender differences have become indistinguishable in the past two years of data collection.

For job seekers over 40 years of age, networking is the most effective strategy (40 percent), while direct contact with recruiters (13 percent) continues to be a viable source for new opportunities for job seekers older than 50. Employer-published openings declined in effectiveness for those older than 50 (24 percent) and for those earning more than $60,000, while increasing slightly for those younger than 50 and for those making less than $60,000 per year.

The Internet accounted for a 41percent chance on average for learning about the next opportunity, including:

  • Online marketing (10 percent).
  • Online published openings (28 percent).
  • E-mail/online networking (3 percent).

Combine Job Search Strategies

Data suggest the importance of making a direct application (such as applying online), which appears to be the preferred approach by many employers today, while simultaneously networking into the target organization. Social networks (such as LinkedIn) can be important in identifying referral opportunities and reconnecting with former acquaintances. Although social networks are more anecdotal than quantifiable at this juncture, clients reported examples of success using social networks as a means to identify connections to hiring decision-makers within target organizations. Still, a referral from within the organization is the surest way for candidates to land that new job.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is editor/manager for SHRM Online’s Staffing Management Focus Area.

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