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I have been in the employment industry for several years, and over the years I have come to realize that there is a vast difference between what most people believe works in a job search and reality.

When looking for a job, one should always use a combination of “What Works.” Obviously positions are found on the Internet and in newspapers as well as publications whose focus is on employment (I call these “published openings”). Further, employment agencies and head hunters are extremely viable in the job search process and should be utilized as fully as practical for the individual. And to ignore the “hidden job market” would indeed be a foolish thing to do.

Using a combination of these ideas and others one can, at least statistically, ensure their effectiveness in the job search process, a process that is made even more complicated in today’s economy.

Let’s look at the most common Job Search Myths.

MYTH #1 - Employers will hire an agency (employment agency, head hunter) when they need employees.

Looking at the employment industry, one needs to understand where each of these categories focuses their efforts. Employment agencies usually focus on staff level (and sometimes entry level) positions, such as word processors, receptionists, secretarial, administrative assistants, etc. Some employment agencies charge fees to employers, and some charge the applicant.

Head hunters (Also called “executive search firms”) focus their efforts on the upper echelons of employment, or difficult-to-fill positions. Their fees are paid by the employer (usually 20% to 30% of the first year’s salary). Their challenge is finding an employer willing to pay that kind of money for someone.

Head hunters typically work with people making $75,000 or higher; some Head Hunters work at much higher salary levels. They are usually interested in highly experienced, educated professionals. Their interest is frequently in people already working in a company – that they recruit for another company – thus the name “head hunter.”

MYTH #2 -- I can find a new job quickly.

The rule of thumb here is that for every $10,000 you make in salary allow one month in your job search... in good times, and these are not good times. For example, if you are in the $40,000 salary range, you should allow four months for your job search, at least.

MYTH #3 - I can get a job by sending a letter and a copy of my résumé to the company’s personnel or human resources department.

Recent studies have shown that about five percent of the available positions are found through this method. It is likely that the more experienced and educated you are, the less – LESS – likely you are to find a position in this manner.

MYTH #4 -- There is no such thing as the hidden job market.

Quite the contrary, statistics and studies have shown that fully 60% of the positions available are found in this manner. Also, it is very likely that the more experienced and educated you are, the more likely you are to find your position through the hidden job market.

The hidden job market is simply an employer wanting to promote from within (always your greatest competition), hire someone he/she already knows, hire someone that is referred to him and is personally known by someone else in the company. The better paying jobs, the ones offering the greatest satisfaction, are more likely to be found through the hidden job market.

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