Six Old-School Job Hunting Techniques That Still Work
Nostalgia for better days is nothing new. The world as a whole was a better place back in your day, wasn't it? The music, your family, manners, society -- they really knew how to do things right. At least, that's what you hear. Depending on what you're talking about, the past might have been better. In other regards, it might have been worse.
When you talk about finding a job, the biggest changes have come from technology. Once upon a time, you couldn't look at listings online; you needed a newspaper. You couldn't save 20 different résumés on your computer; you had to type each one out on a typewriter.
Technology has certainly made some tasks easier, but are job seekers relying too much on it? We asked some experts if they thought job seekers were doing themselves a disservice by ignoring some old-school techniques. While no one thinks you need to toss your online tools aside, they suggest you go back to the basics to boost your chances of getting the job.
Here are the tried-and-true job search techniques you shouldn't forget about:
1. A good follow-up
"The tactic that I see falling into disuse is the personal follow-up on a résumé submission ... One of the best jobs I ever had came about because I persisted. Years after the president of the company and I became good friends, I asked him why he hired me, initially. He said, 'You kept coming back. I could really tell you wanted the job.'
"In today's world, the line of distinction between persistence and stalking or being annoying is tough to define, but a candidate who is able to demonstrate or indicate that he or she wants the job more than other, equally qualified candidates gets a real edge." - Bruce Campbell, vice president of marketing for Clare Computer Solutions
2. A personal touch
"Twitter, Facebook, etc. are about expanding your reach. The old reliance on networking and accessing the hidden job market remains the same. The advantage of being referred by an employee remains the same. The interview process, which is still live and focused on specific examples and bottom-line results, is still the same. The need to negotiate by understanding your prospective employer's concerns and constraints remains the same. The new stuff is in addition, not instead of the basics." - Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart
3. Solid application materials
"Job seekers who network and stay top-of-mind with employers still have the best chances. People who present clear résumés focusing on relevant skills and accomplishments get noticed first. Social networking is great for lead generation, but without a solid résumé as your calling card, you won't go very far." - Tony Deblauwe, founder of HR4Change.com
"Write a stellar cover letter tailored to a specific job or company. This is your time to shine; don't recycle old cover letters. Send something that is unique to this job and this company." Frank Dadah, general manager for Winter, Wyman and Co.
4. Informational interview
"One job search tactic that will never be a bad idea is the informational interview. In a nutshell, this is when candidates ferret out key decision-makers at the companies they want to work for and set up brief meetings with them. It can be intimidating to do this, but on the other hand the worst that could happen is that they say no. If they agree to the meeting -- which can be at their office, a coffee shop, anywhere that's convenient for them -- you have a golden opportunity to meet a decision-maker and make yourself stand out from the applicant field." - Mandy Minor, executive-level résumé writer for J Allan Studios
"Sadly, recruiters are often forgotten and people forget to cultivate relations with them until they need a job. I maintain relations with recruiters by e-mailing them, sending them friends." - Steven Savage, writer, blogger and author of "Fan to Pro: Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies"
6. Thank-you notes
"Old-fashioned etiquette and the writing of a thank-you note to each person involved in the interview process will help distinguish you from the other applicants. There may not be statistics to quantify this fact, but for each person considered for a position, the final decision often reaches beyond the best set of skills, to person-to-person considerations. Exemplifying that you, as the candidate, are a person who is considerate and knows the rules of etiquette (appreciation and respect for others) can put you into the 'hired' category. Write this and mail it the day of the interview." - Sandra E. Lamb, career, lifestyle and etiquette expert and author of "How to Write It"
"Definitely a thank-you letter. Notice I said 'letter' and not 'e-mail.' Big difference. A handwritten letter will not only set you apart from most other applicants, but employers will also be pleasantly surprised that you took the extra effort to write a personalized note rather than sending an e-mail template." - Kris Alban, director of strategic partnerships for iGrad
Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.