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Job Search Secret – Actual Human Contact

Today I am going to share with you some proven job search tips directly from HR pros.  Let’s  talk a bit about networking and using recruiters to help you with your job search.

Before the days of online job board giants like Careerjet and Careerbuilder, job search almost always involved making face to face contact with the employer. These were the days when the help wanted sign hung in the store window, you either had to mail or drop off your resume at the personnel office. The job search experience was quite a bit more personal because you had to make actual human contact.  While online job search tools are fantastic, the truth is only 10% of all jobs filled are ever posted.  How can we tap into this hidden job market?

Networking and Hidden Job Markets

Networking is one of the best ways to find jobs. In fact, it is commonly known by hiring professionals that employers fill 80% of their vacancies without ever posting themSo how can you tap into this hidden job market?

Start by letting your family, friends, and colleagues know that you are looking for an opportunity. Most people automatically think about contacting those they know who are decision makers working in high powered jobs. The key here is not to rule anyone out and get the word out. You never know who your hairdresser, mechanic or local coffee shop attendant knows. There is no shame in looking for employment or being unemployed or even underemployed.

If you do land a job interview but are by passed, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to keep you in the loop about other opportunities.

Former Employers

Former employers can be a great source of job leads.  Contact your former employers and let them know if it’s ok to use them as a reference. It’s not only a good way to gauge the quality of the reference but a good excuse to make contact and let them know that you are in the market. Remember, hiring managers often know other hiring managers. So look for opportunities not only within your previous company but ask your former employer for leads in other companies as well.

Staffing Agencies, Headhunters, Recruiters

Many job seekers I speak to have not considered using recruiters because they prefer to communicate directly with an employer. However, headhunters can increase your chances of finding work. A good recruiter has strong relationships with employers and often has the inside track on job openings.

Again like online job boards, there are thousands of staffing agencies. Here are a few pointers when looking for a recruiter:

  • Find ones that specialize in your geographic region and job niche.
  • Research the staffing agencies website, look for testimonials, job openings posted. Do they have jobs that you are interested in?
  • When you meet them do they offer honest feedback (i.e. strengths and weaknesses) on your resume and job interview skills.
  • Are they clear and honest with expectations? Do they promise to call you but don’t? If they do not have a job opportunity for which you are qualified do they tell you this?
  • A reputable firm will never ask for fees as a term of service. In most countries it is illegal for recruiters to charge a fee to the job seeker for service. They should get their fee from the employers.
  • Should always ask you for your permission before sending resume out.

Remember, try not to take it personally if the recruiter is not showing as much interest as you would like.  Recruiters work mainly by commission and are paid by the employer when they make a placement.  They do not work for job seekers, they do not get paid for finding you work.  This is not to say that I do not value candidates.  Of course, as an HR pro and not an agency recruiter I think that a good recruiter should understand that without the candidate they do not make any money, but I digress.

So until next post, get there and shake some hands, kiss some babies and network.

Photo by RustyDarbonne http://www.flickr.com/photos/rustydarbonne/2895288877/

Photo by .Bala