from The Jobs Letter No.140 / 22, February 2000
RICHARD NELSON BOLLES doesn't think the internet has fundamentally changed the job search process. Despite three decades of technological change, the best-selling author of What Color is YourParachute? says his advice for job seekers has remained remarkably consistent.
Bolles is adamant that sending out your CV to prospective employers doesn't work. Neither does answering ads in the newspaper, or registering with employment agencies. What he says does work is figuring out what you like to do and what you do well - and then finding a workplace that needs what you have to offer.
Bolles recommends contacting organizations that you're interested in, even if they're not advertising vacancies, for what he calls an "informational interview". Once you get in the door of where you want to work, show how you can improve their business.
The Five Best Ways to Find a Job
2. Knock on the doors of any employers, factories, or offices that interest you, whether or not they have vacancies. This method has a 47% success rate.
3. Use the Yellow Pages to identify areas that interest you in or near the town or city where you live and then call the employers in that field to find out whether they are hiring for the position that you can do - and do well. This method has a 69% success rate.
4. In a group with other job hunters, implement method #3 (above). This method has an 84% success rate.
5. Do thorough homework on yourself. Know your best skills, in order of priority. Know the fields in which you want to use those skills. Talk to people who have those kinds of jobs. Find out whether they're happy, and how they found their jobs. Then choose the places where you want to work, rather than just those places that have advertised job openings. Thoroughly research these organizations before approaching them. Seek out the person who actually has the power to hire you for the job that you want. Demonstrate to that person how you can help the company with its problems. Cut no corners; take no shortcuts. This method has an 86% success rate.
The Five Worst Ways to Find a Job
2. Answer ads in professional or trade journals appropriate to your field. This method also has only a 7% success rate.
3. Answer ads in newspapers in other parts of the state or country. This method has a 10% success rate.
4. Answer ads in local newspapers. This method has a 5% to 24% success rate. ( The higher the salary, the smaller the chance of finding a job using that method. )
5. Go to private employment agencies for help. This method also has a 5% to 24% success rate, again, depending on the salary you want. ( In a recent study, 27.8% of female job hunters found jobs within two months by going to private employment agencies. )
Source - "What Happened to Your Parachute?" by Daniel H. Pink from issue 27 (September 1999) http://www.fastcompany.com/online/27/bolles.html
1. What Color Is Your Parachute? 2001: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers. Available in most good bookshops or can be ordered online at
2. JobHuntersBible website. Designed by Bolles as a supplement to What Color Is
3. Fast Company article "What Happened to Your Parachute?" by Daniel H. Pink from issue
27 (September 1999)