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Find a Job in Half the Time

By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM

CBN.comDo you want to find a job right away? At one time or another, most of us find ourselves needing to find work quickly. Yet many people aren’t sure how to conduct an effective job search. Did you know that 95 percent of job hunters make mistakes that significantly delay their employment? The tips in this article will help make sure you are not one of them!

Job-hunting mistakes fall into two categories: (1) unproductive methods of finding job openings, and (2) ineffective interviewing skills. Statistically, a person changes jobs eight to ten times in his or her lifetime. It makes sense, therefore, to learn how to use the very best job search strategies to substantially reduce the time it takes you to find your next job.

Finding Job Openings

There are two different job markets: the advertised (or organized) job market and the hidden (or disorganized) job market. Understanding and utilizing both of these job markets will allow you to find job openings much more expediently and efficiently.

The advertised job market is the most familiar one. It includes jobs that are found on the Internet, in classified ads, and through employment agencies. The jobs are organized and readily accessible. It is the most popular job market because it is the easiest to access.

While approximately 95 percent of job hunters rely on the advertised job market to find employment, it is estimated that only 15-25 percent of the available jobs are represented. As you can imagine, using only the advertised job market makes the job search process slower and more frustrating. Not only is there only a small percentage of actual job openings listed, but applicants will find more intense competition because of the large number of job hunters who use the classified ads on the Internet and other sources. Some job hunters even give up their search for a particular job because they either see no openings in the classified ads for that type of work, or they get no response to the resumes they have sent.

The majority of jobs that are available at any given time are found in the so-called “hidden job market.” The jobs are hidden because they are filled without employers advertising them on the Internet or in newspapers. Finding these jobs involves a more proactive and strategic approach. Job seekers find out about job openings through developing personal contacts and contacting employers directly. This job market is more difficult to access, but tends to yield much more fulfilling and rewarding work.

Does this mean you should avoid using the advertised job market? Of course not! The advertised job market does contain about 15-25 percent of available job openings, and they are organized so that it is easier to find positions for which you qualify. What it does mean, however, is that you should organize your job search work so that you are investing no more than 25-30 percent of your job search time in pursuing possibilities in the advertised job market, and 70-75 percent of your time using strategies to tap into the hidden job market. By dividing your job search time in this way, you will greatly increase your chances of finding employment quickly.

Interviewing Like a Pro

An interview is any situation in which you have a face-to-face meeting with a person who has the power to hire you—even if he or she does not currently have a job opening. As one Harvard study found, of the people who found jobs through personal contacts, 43.8 percent had new positions created for them. Jobs are created each day for people who can prove they can meet an employer's needs.

When you think of any conversation with a prospective employer as an interview, you will be better prepared to take advantage of opportunities that arise as you follow up on leads from your personal contacts, and as you contact employers directly. You will be hired when you can prove to the employer that you can meet their needs (i.e., save them money, make a job more efficient, etc.) better than the other candidates. The key is being able to communicate effectively what you can do for the employer.

One study showed that 80 percent of job hunters couldn’t “prove” their top ten skills for the jobs for which they are interviewing. "Proving" your skills means that you can give specific examples that illustrate that you do have the needed skills for the position in question. For example, a secretary might prove she has the skill of organizing systems by saying, "Mr. Employer, recently I organized the company’s filing system, which allowed our staff to find files in half the time it used to take." In order to prove that you are the applicant who should be selected, you need to first know what relevant skills you possess and then be able to cite compelling examples of how you have used those skills.

Communicating well also means being able to answer frequently asked interview questions (such as “Why should I hire you?”) effectively. Practice answering interview questions with a friend, family member, or career coach until you feel you could confidently answer most questions in your sleep! Remember that it is not necessarily the most qualified person who gets the job, but rather, the person who can most convincingly communicate in the interview that he or she can do the job.

Getting the Support You Need

Using the techniques to find job openings and interview effectively can maximize your efforts in finding a job in less time. But remember: knowing this information is not enough; you also need to be persistent in implementing what you have learned. Finding a new job is not easy; most people need support, encouragement, and accountability as they search. Create your own support network of friends and family. Consider working with a professional career coach. For many people, a career coach has given them the winning edge in finding work that isn’t just a job, but a calling.  

Kevin and Kay Marie BrennfleckKevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design, you can schedule a free consultation session at


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