Job Search Tips

If you’re looking for a job there are several ways to go about it:

  • Online job boards (Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, Craigslist)
  • Aggregator sites (Indeed, Simplyhired)
  • Newspaper Classifieds (Local newspapers, national newspapers like Wall Street Journal)
  • Local job boards (, etc.)
  • Networking/Referrals (Making friends and having them introduce you to people at a company you want to work for)
  • Trade and professional associations (Unions, Society of Human Resources Management)
  • Trade Publications (Magazines and newsletters about a certain industry–music, web design, for example)
  • Job Fairs
  • Local unemployment offices and employment development offices

The Truth About Job-Hunting

As an HR professional, I’ve been on the hiring side for the last 9 years. I’ve interviewed thousands of people for jobs, reviewed a thousands more resumes. The truth is that most of the people who are hired don’t come from online job boards. In fact, companies hire fewer than 10% of their employees from online job boards, and even fewer from resumes stored in job board resume databases. The reason is that companies see online job boards as advertising, not as a recruiting tool per se. Job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder are to recruiters and HR people what TV is to everybody else–a way to get the word out. Once the word is out, HR people usually go over the first 10-30 resumes really quickly looking for people who are a perfect match for the job specs. If your resume isn’t on top of the pile, and you’re not a near-perfect match, you won’t be called. Applying for jobs through the company website is one way of getting closer to the top of the pile. Applying directly to the company is kind of like saying “You’re the one for me”. It’s different than applying for every job you find on HotJobs.

Get to the Top of the Pile

Craigslist and the local paper are also good ways of climbing to the top of the pile. Usually companies who post in newspapers (print not online) and craigslist are looking for a certain type of candidate–local, mature (in the case of newspapers) and cool (or at least “in the know”, in the case of Craigslist). HR professionals/recruiters hate the fact that online job boards mostly deliver candidates who are from far away, people they’d have to pay to relocate (No one will pay to move an hourly supervisor or a cashier across the country or even across state lines). Most new hires are found through referrals–someone inside the company refers a friend or relative or someone they used to work with. Ask any HR professional and they’ll tell you that referrals are best because they are usually better qualified, someone can vouch for their work and they are usually a good fit for the company (because the employee who recommended the new hire knows what it’s like to work there and picked this friend/colleague because they think they would fit in there too). Referrals are also cheaper to find and tend to stay longer. That spells “good ROI”. And that, in business, is good news.


Focus on what you like to do, the things you might want to do even if you didn’t get paid. Think about what’s important to you. You’ll spend more time working than you’ll spend on most anything else. So, it can’t hurt to find career doing something that actually works for the artist, writer, mechanic, mogul, mother in you.

Here are a few questions to help you start your journey to careers that don’t suck:

1. What are you most happy doing?

2. What are you naturally best at?

3. In what environments are you most inspired or motivated?

4. Fill in the blank. My life would not be complete if I didn’t have ____.

5. Fill in the blank. Security means ____ to me.

Need more help? Try career testing. There are several types of tests–each based on different criteria. Some on personality, some on your interests, some on aptitude.

Your honest, soul-searching answers to these questions will help you figure out where to start searching for your new job or career.

Once you’ve narrowed the list,

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