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Is finding a job about who you know or what ads you answer?

When it comes to finding the next position, I believe there are several avenues to take and several stones to turn over to ultimately get what you want in your career. There is more than just one way of solving a problem as it relates to getting the job of your dreams and many of us tend to focus on limited means of achieving a goal instead of thinking outside of the box.

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When I was in college, the internships at my institution of higher learning were pretty much handed to us. Our Dean had great relationships with many companies, and the pool of talented African-American business students was vast and thriving. However, once I got to law school, the opportunities for getting a job and/or internship weren’t as readily available. I had to network, cold call and blindly send resumes to companies and attorneys I wanted to work with. Surprisingly, the impromptu introductions, follow ups and blind resume forwarding got me two jobs that I so desperately wanted.

After law school, I answered job postings for the positions I eventually took and that seemed to work as well with procuring a gig. It appeared, from my experiences, that networking and also simply responding to job ads both worked, though some faster than others. According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, popularity of multiple job search methods are ranked as such:


Contacted Employer Directly Other Active Placed/Answered Ads Contacted Public Agency Contacted Friends/Relatives Passive Contacted Private Agency
65.7% 27.6% 25.8% 22.5% 17.5% 14.9% 6.7%

From 1976 to 2011, 65.7% of unemployed job-seekers said they contacted employers directly, while 25.8% placed or answered ads, 22.5% contacted public employment agencies, 17.5% contacted friends and relatives and 6.7% used private employment agencies, wrote James Eubanks, a research analyst at the St. Louis Fed, and David Wiczer, an economist at the bank.

The most popular method, directly contacting the employer, was generally the most effective. But for the long-term unemployed, they concluded, there are few good options.

“The data reflect a long-observed feature of the labor market: The longer an individual is unemployed, the less likely he or she is to find a job,” wrote Mr. Eubanks and Mr. Wiczer. “We also found that the longer a person is unemployed, the less it matters which method is used to search for a job: All the finding rates fall and converge with one another.” This data and a subsequent article from The Wall Street Journal suggest that networking is not all that necessary. Simply contacting the employer directly is all that is needed to get the job you want.

When my husband was transitioning back to New York from Texas, his means of getting a job was to physically go to the job site, ask to speak with the hiring manager, introduce himself, give them a resume and follow-up. In this day and age of internet, that method seems a bit antiquated, but it worked for him. He always said he wanted them to connect his name with his face so if at any time his resume came across their desk, they immediately knew who he was and knew his personality and disposition.

I can honestly say that my tolerance for networking, in the traditional sense, has decreased as I got older. The clients I work with are now gained from word of mouth referrals and/or from relationships that organically develop from having similar work ethic and personalities. Despite my utter disgust with the thought of attending a reception or conference in total pursuit of new work, others tend to thrive at it and prefer that method of face to face introductions for the sake of getting work and meeting new people.

Whether you decide to actively network in the traditional sense, or simply reach out to employers via email or by answering ads, each method can yield a desired result. Though some may be more effective than others, it is evident that factors such as personality, resources and employment status also play a part in the success rate for getting hired.

So what’s your preferred method for seeking a new job, Beauties? Share your tips in the comments!

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates ( . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.


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