An examination of studies and practices in vocational rehabilitation failed to reveal any proven job-finding techniques for the handicapped or even the non-handicapped.
Together with Robert Jones, also a psychologist, the senior author conducted a survey* asking employed people how they had gotten their jobs. The results were a surprise: 66% of the job leads had come from friends, relatives and acquaintances; in 63% of the cases, the contacts provided information on specific job openings. Few of the job leads came through conventional channels: only 2% came from private employment agencies, 8% from state employment agencies, and 5% from Help Wanted ads. Studies done by others confirmed this as we discussed in Chapter One.
This all suggested a whole new approach to job hunting. Building on the results from this and other psychological studies, especially in behavioral psychology, a new method of job hunting was devised. The job-seekers were shown how to make maximum use of their friends, how to schedule their time, ask for an interview, prepare a resume, discover unpublicized job openings — in short, how to make die job search a step-by-step program, from deciding on what kind of job to look for, right on through making a good showing at the job interview. The approach was then tested in different situations.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
That first test** involved 120 people in a mid-westem town of 30,000, set in a rural area with little industry and above-average unemployment. Half those people looked for work in the usual way—on their own,
without benefit of an organization or special training in job hunting. The other sixty were divided into Job Clubs of eight persons each that would meet for a few hours each day. An instructor taught them what to do and then helped them do it. They used an office with phones, phone books, stationery, stamps, typewriters, a copying machine, etc. The Job Club
members were a cross-section of the population—half were women, 15% were black, and they ranged in age from under 20 to over 55.
After riiree months, two out of five of the first group were still unemployed. At the same time, 93% of the Job Clubbers had found work; the few who hadn't, had dropped out of the Job Club. On average, the Job Clubbers got jobs in one quarter the time it took the first group, and more than six times as many got professional or management jobs. The Job Clubbers' average salary was a third higher than the non-members'.
This study included average people. A second test* was conducted with people who had severe problems: retarded people, the long-term employed, the very young or old, ex-mental patients, ex-convicts, former alcoholics and drug addicts, physically handicapped people and Vietnam veterans. There were 154 people, and about half were made Job Clubbers. Ninety-five percent of the Job Clubbers got jobs inside of six months, most within ten days. Almost three out of four of the non-clubbers failed to find work, and, again, the Job Clubbers' average salary was well above the non-clubbers'.
A third test, with a thousand welfare recipients in five cities, from Harlem to Washington state**, had about the same result. At follow-up, about twice as many of the Job Clubbers had obtained a job compared with those not using the Job Club.
The conclusion was encouraging: almost anyone who uses Job Club principles to organize his/her time and resources, and sticks with it, can get a job.
The next step was to write up a manual for professional counselors, showing how to teach job-seekers in groups.f
But few people will be able to reach an organized group or an agency. So how do you give these same advantages to a job-seeker who is going to be working at home?
This book answers that question.
Finding A Job has three purposes:
- To teach you how to use Job Club principles to get a good job;
- To prepare you to enroll in a Job Club program run by an agency, if one is available;
- To help you start a group program to help other job-seekers, if you are sufficiently interested.
Like the people in the three study groups, your success with job hunting with the Job Club approach will depend on your commitment and your carefully following the instructions that you will start reading in the next few pages.