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Ways to Finding Employment

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Suppose, instead of looking for a job, you were looking for a spouse? Obviously, you will not find your life's companion by sitting at home watching television. You must get out there and meet people, and the more you meet, the greater the chance that you will meet Mister or Miss Perfection. What are a few things you might do?

  • Join a church group where you will likely meet people with backgrounds and values similar to yours.
  • Go to as many dances and other social functions as possible, where many of those you meet might also be looking for a mate.
  • Twist your friends' arms for introductions to other eligible singles.

  • Consider joining a computer dating service or Lonely Hearts club, singles group, Parents Without Partners.
  • Advertise. (A last resort. Not recommended, but it has worked for some people.)
The important thing is to recognize that there are many alternatives and you should not limit your search to only one or two of the many possible actions you can take.

The same is true when you are looking for a job. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Try many approaches. Some are long shots. Some ways offer the promise of a faster and better payoff. Take advantage of the avenues with higher odds in your favor, BUT don't neglect some of the less frequently traveled paths to employment. The odds may be longer, but you are only looking for one job and you may find your career opportunity where you would least expect.

One of your few advantages when unemployed is that you have lots of time available. So use your time wisely and make job hunting your full time job.

The most common paths to a new job are:

Internal Promotion

It has been estimated that somewhere between 35% and 40% of executive and managerial jobs are filled by internal promotions. When an opening appears, the first reaction of the boss is to look around among the existing staff to see if someone can be transferred or promoted into the open spot.

Most tactics recommended apply equally as well to finding a job within your own company. Identifying your accomplishments and improving your writing skills have universal applications. Networking skills can be used effectively both internally and externally.

Managers sometimes become unhappy in their work situations and become desirous of relocating. Often, after exploring outside possibilities and comparing them to inside potential, they will focus their energy on correcting the problems that are making them want to leave. Some are able to improve relations with their superiors, while others find another position within the same company, sometimes in a different division or department.

Remember, you are a known quantity to your present employer. If you have maintained a good reputation and your record is untarnished, you have the edge over any outside candidate in competing for a job opening within your company. Of course, if you are unemployed, the internal search is not a possibility.

Apart from an internal campaign, the following ways of finding a job apply to everyone.

Knocking on Doors

Generally, only very low level jobs can be found this way. If your objective is a job as a supermarket box boy, you ride your bike from store to store trying to find a store manager who will take you on. If you are interested in factory work, you can go from plant to plant, visiting the personnel department, or trying to see the plant foreman or one of the line supervisors to see if there are any openings.

It would be ridiculous to suggest that you, as a manger, follow this approach. It would be a waste of time and gasoline to drive all over the countryside trying to meet decision makers in this manner. You might get lucky, but the odds are prohibitively against success.

But wait! There is an exception. You have been to a job interview and you are all dressed up in your job interview finest. You have driven 30 miles from home to the interview. Now, your interview is over and as you get into your car to drive home you notice an attractive plant across the street where the talent you offer might fit in.

You are dressed for an interview. You have already spent your money on gas to get there. What do you have to lose? Take a shot! Walk up to the receptionist and ask to see the General Manager (or the Manufacturing Manager, or the Controller, or whoever would be the top executive in your field). Explain that you have come from a meeting at the Acme Company across the street. Make the point that this is a "spur-of-the-moment" appearance, but you are a person who is always alert for opportunities. What is the worst that can happen? Will someone hit you? Will they throw a bucket of cold water on you? Of course not! The worst that can happen is that you will walk away empty handed.

What are some good things that might happen as a result of your unplanned, opportunistic venture?

...You might be lucky and get through to a decision maker. That person will probably be impressed with your initiative and, if you smile and show the right attitude, who knows where the conversation might lead?

... Perhaps you won't meet a decision maker, but you might get a chance to speak to a lower level manager who might give you valuable tips on openings within the company.

... Or you might get referred to the Human Resources Manager who might be aware of a search for a person with your background.

.. .The very least you should come away with is the name of the right person you may wish to contact later with a Broadcast or Networking letter.

To sum up, take a chance and knock on an appealing door when you are all dressed up and have already spent time and fuel to get there. However, don't go out knocking on hundreds of doors. It would be too costly and time-consuming. Less than one percent of jobs are found this way, but, when you see an opportunity, seize it.

Go into Your Own Business

If you are imbued with entrepreneurial spirit, and currently employed, this is a path you might want to consider. Risks are great as most new businesses meet with a quick and ignominious demise.

If you are unemployed, this is definitely not a good time to plunge into the unknown. A new business venture should be approached with a lot of confidence and a highly positive attitude. When you are out of work you may start your new business as a defensive action against a threatening and hostile world. Your odds of failing are great and, at this point in your life, you certainly do not want to risk whatever remains of your self esteem and savings.

If you are determined to start a new business, do your research and do it well. You can start something new from scratch, or you can buy a franchise operation, or enter into an existing business as a new partner.

Your best strategy is to "keep looking for a job. After you have become re-employed and have your financial house back in order, then is the time to explore self-employment possibilities if you still have that strong desire.

Government as an Employer

In the United States about 10% of the work force is employed by federal, state, county or local government. The military, the postal system, the public schools account for millions of jobs. There are additional millions of people who deliver other government services such as health and welfare, medical services, forestry, parks and recreation, and many other areas.

Federal, state, county and city governments employ managers, professionals, and specialists of all kinds. Almost every civilian specialty has its counterpart in government.

For example, the largest employer in Los Angeles County is the County itself. With a population of about eight million people, Los Angeles County is larger than 43 of our states in population and budget. Los Angeles County hires engineers, doctors, dentists, psychologists, chemists, and people from almost every other discipline. About 1,500 lawyers work for the County of Los Angeles. Most of the tactics you learn are also applicable to seeking government employment. So, while you search for your job, don't overlook the possibilities existing at the hiring offices of different government agencies. Remember that to attract good people, government has to compete with salaries paid in the private sector.

Employment Agencies

Like marriage brokers, employment agencies try to bring employer and employee together and collect a fee, usually from the employer, but often from the job seeker. These are not places for the higher level executives, and even the middle manager should not waste too much time and effort pursuing this path to employment.

Some agencies specialize in certain fields. For example, some employment agencies work exclusively in the financial area and have jobs for accountants, controllers, etc. If you fall into one of these categories, it wouldn't hurt to contact them and get your name into their files. Other agencies concentrate their efforts in fields such as medical services or computer technology.

Agencies can provide valuable leads at lower levels, such as secretarial, clerical and similar office jobs, or some of the more routine functions in manufacturing, sales, and administration.

Temporary Work

Agencies that focus on temporary work are increasing in number and importance. A few years ago these agencies worked mostly in the areas of office personnel and accounting specialties where seasonal demand created needs for temporary help. Recently, temporary agencies have sprung up in many other fields such as law, medicine and computer programming.

Employers have been discovering that hiring temporaries gives them the opportunity to evaluate an employee without having to commit to full time benefits. If the temporary is capable and productive a permanent commitment can be made three or six months later. This "temp to perm" trend has gathered momentum in recent years and it is reported that an impressive percentage of managers are being offered full-time jobs at their temporary work sites.

If you are unemployed, you certainly should look into the possibilities of temporary work. Not only might a temporary position lead to a permanent position, but it will also benefit your financial situation. In addition, it also offers the psychological advantage of keeping you busy. Another important benefit of temporary work: while conducting your job search it allows you the opportunity of representing yourself as being employed.

Executive Recruiters

If you are currently employed, it might be wise to write to some of the leading executive recruiting firms. Legitimate recruiters have little interest in the unemployed job hunter. Their growth and financial success depends upon their ability to deliver successful executives - who are almost always presently employed - to their clients. Rightly or wrongly, the unemployed manager is not generally perceived to be a "successful executive."

Sometimes you may see an ad placed by an Executive Recruiter indicating a search is being conducted on behalf of a client. The placement of the ad suggests the Recruiter has exhausted other industry sources and is now interested in replies from other candidates. If you match the requirements listed in the ad, then by all means send in a reply and try to sound as if you are presently employed.

If you get called for an interview, don't forget the Recruiter is working for the employer and will try to deliver you to his client as inexpensively as possible.

Think carefully before wasting time and money in mass mailings to recruiting firms. Most of these firms receive hundreds of solicitations every week, most of which receive no attention. Only a very small percentage of currently employed job hunters find jobs this way. For unemployed job hunters, the numbers helped by Executive Recruiters is infinitesimal. There are far more productive ways to use your time than writing letters or mailing resumes to executive recruiters. However, if you know a recruiter personally or if you can arrange an appointment with one through a mutual friend, of course you should do so. You have little to lose, and if the recruiter is favorably impressed and regards you as a very saleable commodity, he might arrange some interviews for you.

Advertising Your Wares

You know you are a valuable person. You are intelligent, experienced, and efficient. You overflow with talent, skills, ability, and enthusiasm. You are a gem. The employer who hires you will be fortunate, indeed.

You, therefore, come to the inescapable conclusion - inescapable but incorrect - that you should advertise. Tell the world that you are available. Invite employers to call you. But they won't. Ads appear every week in The Wall Street Journal and other business publications in which managers and executives offer their services to the business community. These ads are costly but, sadly, they usually accomplish little or nothing. When an opening occurs at a company, about the last place the company will look is in the "job wanted" ads sections.

Therefore, it is strongly advised that you avoid this path. It is a dead end. Yet, as with almost every rule, there is the exception. If you are in a field served by a strong trade publication widely read throughout the industry, you might consider running an ad. For example, an executive in the toy business usually reads a couple of trade magazines covering industry news. He probably wouldn't look for a Controller of Purchasing Agent in those magazines, but if he was in need of a salesman or a manufacturing manager, he might be interested in the availability of someone with related experience.

Broadcast Letters

This is a valuable technique involving mass mailing of letters to executives of targeted companies. This requires development of a list of potential employers by industry or by geographical preference and then sending a powerful letter, hoping it will reach a decision maker's desk at a time when their company has a need for your skills.

Unfortunately, the Broadcast Letter procedure is often misused and often overused. Nevertheless, every job hunter should be familiar with the technique. The odds are slim, but when one of your Broadcast Letters finds an interested recipient, results can be very rewarding.

Answering Job Ads

Incredibly, many books on job hunting discourage job hunters from answering ads. The reason most authors play down answering ads is because they don't understand proper techniques. Done properly, many interviews can be generated by responding to ads. This is a rough path to follow because of the intensive competition which makes the odds of succeeding very long.


Networking is the most productive job hunting method. This is the best way to penetrate the "hidden (or unpublished) job market" where you have the greatest chance of finding a better position, finding it faster, and with the opportunity of negotiating a higher remuneration package.


This article has outlined the more serious paths to employment. You may be able to think of others, such as parading through an industrial area wearing a sandwich sign, or renting billboard space on a main thoroughfare. The main point is not to limit yourself to one or two paths. Try several routes. The pot of gold is out there and there are many ways to find it. Answer ads, network, and send out Broadcast Letters. Knock on a door here and there. Put your emphasis where the payoff odds are greatest, but don't neglect the long shots.
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