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How 17 Real People Got Their Jobs

Last fall, I read a post at Secrets of the Job Hunt, discussing best and worst ways to find a job. Citing original research conducted by Weddles, they provided a list of the most- and least-helpful sources for getting hired.

The six categories in the original study were, in order of helpfulness:

  1. Online job boards
  2. Headhunter or staffing firm
  3. Tip from a friend
  4. Networking at work or at a business event
  5. Career fairs
  6. Newspaper ads.

My So-Called Reality Poll 
My experience didn’t really fit with the results, so I decided to conduct a reality poll of friends and acquaintances to see if they agreed with the list. I got responses from 17 real people (one of whom was me).

I asked them how they got their jobs, and to choose one of the six categories above, or to indicate “Other” if they didn’t fit neatly into any of the six categories. Here, for what they’re worth, are the completely unscientific, statistically insignificant results of my study.

The winner by a landslide was Other, with 41% of the vote.

The runners-up were: Tip from Friend (29%); Online Job Board (18%); Networking at Work (12%); and Staffing Firm (<1%).

Much more interesting were the explanations that accompanied the Other responses:

  • “I bought the company I worked for.”
  • “I started a new company with my former coworkers.”
  • “I got my job through the birth canal; I work for my parents.”
  • “My parents bought the company.”
  • “It was my sister-in-law’s job and she opened a restaurant, so I took it over.”
  • “My old employer asked me back with an offer I couldn't refuse.”
  • “My grad school hired me after I graduated.”

I might argue that some of those fall into the “Tip from a Friend” category (if you broadly define friend as “a person I know in some capacity").

As for the people who did select one of the six categories from the Weddles research, here’s a sampling of their responses:

  • “My old boss's wife works for my current boss, so she put in a good word.” (Tip from a Friend)
  • “A guy I had a business relationship with recruited me over to my new company.” (Networking at Work)
  • “I answered an ad online.” (one used CraigsList.org, one used CareerBuilder.com, and one used Indeed.com (Online Job Board)
  • “A college recruiter recruited me.” (Headhunter)

Seems to me it all just goes back to the universal truth. It’s who you know.

How about you? What job-hunting methods have been successful in your experience?

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