HR Pros: Networking, Social Networking Best Job Search Tools

Networking still the best way to find employment

Forget job fairs and spamming potential employers with your résumé. If you're looking for a new job, networking should be your primary job search strategy, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The outplacement firm asked HR executives to rate on a scale of one to five which of nine job search methods were most effective:

  • 1. Networking
  • 2. Using social networking sites
  • 3. Targeting management recruiting firms
  • 4. Using online job boards
  • 5. Applying to jobs via an employer's website
  • 6. cold-calling employers
  • 7. Sending unsolicited résumés to employers
  • 8. responding to newspaper classified ads
  • 9. attending job fairs

Networking came out on top, with a 3.98 rating and nearly half of hiring managers (48 per cent) ranking it a five (with five being the best).

Hiring managers named online social networking as the second most effective job search tool. They gave websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter a 3.3 score, with 47 per cent of survey respondents rating it four or five.

Targeting management recruiting firms and using internet job boards tied for third place. Both methods earned average ratings of three from hiring managers. Applying directly to a position posted on an employer's website came in with just under a three rating.

The poll results also showed that hiring managers don't think much of cold calling. They rated it 2.2 on the five-point scale.

Responding to newspaper classified ads and sending unsolicited résumés to employers didn't fare much better, both of which received a 1.7 rating.

Job fairs were deemed the least effective method, garnering a rating of 1.6 on the five-point scale.

Challenger, Gray and Christmas CEO, John Challenger, said that attending a job fair "hardly qualifies as networking" even though job seekers have the chance to meet with company representatives because those company representatives are rarely decision makers. They're simply there to collect applications, he said. What's more, he added, many of the employers that do attend job fairs are there to find low-level workers.

Challenger also noted that while searching and applying for jobs over the Internet is the primary job search strategy for many job seekers, they'd be better served by spending the bulk of their time networking and making the Internet their secondary strategy.

"...the job search is a multifaceted process," Challenger stated in the release. "Those who rely on just one tool, even if it is networking, will take longer to find a position. ...Job seekers must learn how to use all of the tools at their disposal."

Challenger, Gray and Christmas conducted the survey in early August via email. More than 200 HR executives responded.

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