What Are Today’s Best Job Search Strategies?


  • Facebook

  • LinkedIn

  • Twitter

  • WhatsApp

  • Messenger


Have these and other forms of social media changed the way in which people successfully search for (and find) jobs? Should you be changing your strategies?

At the 2016 Conference of the National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, Bruce Guthrie, Graduate Careers Australia (GCA), https://www.linkedin.com/in/bruce-guthrie-400b2241 presented data revealing that while some job strategies have largely moved online, fundamentals of effective approaches have mostly stayed the same.

Practical tips, suggestions and helpful resources (grounded in this research) are available at:

The presentation abstract is available at:

The GCA researchers found that among graduates from across disciplines/industries who were employed full-time, the highest percentage of respondents (29%) got their job through submitting an application in response to an advertisement posted on the internet (e.g. SEEK).

The second highest strategy (for FT employed graduates) was networking through family or friends (16%).

Among graduates who were employed part-time (and were continuing to seek full-time work), these two strategies were reversed with family and friend networking at 33% and internet advertisements at 20%.

A third strategy that appeared effective for FT employed graduates was using the university or college careers service (10%).

Using an external employment agency did not appear to be nearly as effective at only 3% of FT employed graduates who responded to the survey.

Contemporary strategies such as advertising oneself online, by pasting a resume on a site such as LinkedIn, did not seem to be as effective, with less than 2% of FT employed graduates and 3% of PT employed graduates claiming success with this strategy.

In other words, the traditional approach of pulling job advertisements and then applying for these positions appeared to be more effective than more modern approaches of pushing oneself through posted public profiles.

Some disciplinary differences also emerged.

While responding to an internet advertisement appeared to be the most effective strategy for both FT-employed graduates from Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) at 37% and Health, Medicine and Dentistry at 23%, using university or college career services worked for only 5% of employed HASS graduates, but 23% of Health graduates.

Furthermore, networking with family and friends was effective for 18% of HASS graduates, but only 9% of Health graduates.

In explanation of this difference, there tend to be more formal graduate employment processes established in Health disciplines (i.e., application and transition procedures and protocols) whereas informal networks tend to be more acceptable in HASS industries.

Notably, waiting for an employer to approach the graduate did not work very well for either discipline cluster (6% HASS and 4% Health) and neither did directly approaching an employer who had not advertised a position (9% HASS and 9% Health).


Effective strategies for five additional professions were presented:

Mechanical Engineers

Responding to internet advertisements
Networking through family or friends


University or college careers service


University or college careers service

Primary Teachers

Responding to internet advertisements
Approached by an employer


Responding to internet advertisements
Networking through family or friends

Based on Graduate Careers Australia’s research, Bruce Guthrie’s word-for-word advice to graduates seeking employment is to:

“Prepare earlier and make more use of institutional assistance while still in study (careers services and faculty resources).

Leave, as a later strategy, employment agencies, ads in newspapers or other print media and resumes posted on the internet.”

About the Author

Shelley Kinash

Professor Shelley Kinash is University of Southern Queensland's Director, Advancement of Learning & Teaching. She is dedicated to research and action to nurture graduate employability and high quality student experience.

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