Person-to-person networking remains the most successful job-seeking tool in the Northeast, according to a new study by Right Management, which analyzed job data on the more than 6,000 regional individuals who used career transition services during the last three years. 

Forty-five percent of respondents used traditional networking to gain employment while only 19 percent of respondents relied on Internet job boards.

“The job search is changing, and some methods are losing ground to others, but classic, systematic networking continues to be most effective way to find suitable employment,” says Peter Russell, career management practice leader of Right Management. “Of course, technology is playing a growing role, but online social networking may not always be separate from traditional networking since one so often leads to the other. A job seeker may use the Internet to track down former associates or acquaintances and then reach out to them in person. Just like the cold call, the Internet is a way to make an initial contact with a prospective employer.”

The study also reveals that cold calling is an effective job-seeking method while newspaper or periodical classified ads are on the decline, though Internet job boards are becoming more popular. Agencies, recruiters and search firms are once again gaining a foothold, which may be a result of a improving job market.  

 2009    2010    2011

Networking                           45%    47%    45% 

Internet Job Board                 19%    18%    16% 

Agency/Search firm                13%    11%    15% 

Direct Approach                      6%      8%      7% 

Online Network                       6%      n/a      n/a 

Advertisement                        2%      6%      5% 

Other                        10%     11%    11%

Though the study may be revealing, job searches are typically a more complex and multi-layered process, said Russell.

“Job candidates are encouraged to use as many tools as possible, every kind of research, any former contacts, and every opportunity to reach out to people who may be able to help,” Russell says. “So in practical terms successful job candidates rely on a mix of approaches to find the most suitable new position for them. Nevertheless, from year to year, the data say that traditional networking is nearly twice as successful as any other job search method,” Russell says. “People tend to trust people they meet.”