The numbers game

The job search is a numbers game:

More leads =

More opportunities to receive job offers =

No search method is a sure thing. It could generate many leads, but no interviews. Or, it could produce one lead, which gets you the “winning” interview and a job offer. You just never know. Luck can be a major factor in determining the outcome of your job search. But it doesn’t have to be the only factor. That’s because not all jobs leads are as productive as others. And, if your leads aren’t productive, having more of them does not translate into more employment opportunities. To illustrate this point, take a look at the following statistics:

Of the people who have gotten jobs in the last fifteen years or so,

35%   heard about an opening from someone
30%   contacted their present employer directly
14%   answered a want ad
6%   were referred by private employment agencies
5%   were referred by state employment agencies
2%   took civil service tests
8%   used other methods (e.g., placing ads in career journals, attending career fairs, and mass mailing résumés)

There’s no doubt job seekers can find a lot of leads by reading the want ads, using placement services and/or advertising their availability to employers. Such are the tried-and-true methods of the traditional job search. People have been doing it this way for a long time, and the reason is leads. These methods turn up leads, often in staggering quantities. Think about it: How many leads could you get right now from people you know that you couldn’t find in the want ads? Add that to the number of employers you’re on a first-name basis with and ...well, enough said. You’d probably find twice as many leads in the Sunday paper.

But would you find the lead-that-got-the-interview-that-got-you-the-job? Maybe. If you polled 100 recently employed people, on average, 35 would have found that lead through traditional search methods. That leaves 65 who wouldn’t have. They did better with fewer leads.

More people get jobs with less leads, and less people get jobs with more leads.