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Job Search: By the numbers

Job Search Tips for Over 50sAs soon as you are in transition, like it or not, you have to become a sales person.

For people already in sales, this isn’t much of a problem.  But, for people in other disciplines, it can be hard to adapt to this new role.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on the process of searching for a new position.  Our goal is to help job seekers focus their activities on high value activities instead of low-payoff activities and introduce you to the underlying process behind the JobSearch GPS™ tool we use in our outplacement programs.

This week, we’ll start out by describing the landscape of the job market – specifically how jobs are found and suggest how best to manage your time while in transition.

If you think a recruiter is the answer to all your job search problems, guess again.  Recruiters actually fill only about 10 – 15% of all jobs. 

Here’s how jobs are actually found, according to US Labor Department statistics:

  • 70% of all jobs are found through networking (personal/professional contacts and research)
  • 15% are through search firms (and these are primarily managerial and executive positions, not entry-level)
  • 10-12% through want ads/classified ads
  • 4% by people going into business for themselves/creating their own jobs
  • 2% by blindly sending out resumes

(It may be US data, but we couldn’t find reliable estimates from StatsCan that are comparable. You may hear other numbers being cited by other sources but, overall, they all agree networking is the most important technique and recruiters and job postings are secondary.)

So, what does this tell you?

First, while it may seem like you are generating a lot of activity by sending out resumes en mass, the reality is that it has a very poor payback on effort (as well as out-of-pocket costs.)  Think about it. Postage for lettermail in Canada is now $0.85.  Envelopes cost $0.06  . Four sheets of printer paper will cost $0.07. Ink/Toner is another $0.03, which means each mailing costs about a dollar.

Therefore, focus most of your time on networking and, if you don’t feel you network very well, try to find a course or a coach who can help you improve networking skills.

Recruiters and job postings/ads together represent about a quarter of the jobs found.  So it’s entirely appropriate for you to allocate 25% of your time to cultivating relationships with recruiters and scanning job boards. You can even make the time you set aside for job boards more productive by setting up alerts for the types of position you’re most interested in.

By prioritizing your job search activities as we’ve suggested above, you’ll be making most effective use of your time. And time is one resource you can’t make or create.

Next week, we’ll give you a short course in sales strategy that you can apply to your job search.