Use Help Wanted Ads in Your Job Search

Many so-called experts predicted that help wanted ads would become obsolete as the

Internet grew in popularity. In reality, help wanted ads are still going strong and remain

one of the most important job search steps for jobs at the mid-management level and


Case in point: Not only am I a hiring manager, but I was a job seeker myself a few years

ago. In fact, I lost my job twice in four months. Both times, I found a new job in a few

weeks and both times I found my new job through the newspaper classifieds. And we’re

talking here about mid-management jobs in the $75,000 – $90,000 range.

For the more rank-and-file positions, classified help wanted ads will be even more


Newspaper classified ads are used for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that for

mid-level positions and below,

. It’s not uncommon for me to receive

a couple of hundred applications when I advertise an opening in the major newspaper for

my area.

While you won’t see many Vice-President and above positions in the want ads, you will

see most mainstream positions advertised. There are several reasons for this:

* They have been used for decades and everyone knows how to look at them.

* They are relatively inexpensive for the employer.

* Almost all newspapers of any size now have their help wanted ads online as well

as on paper. It’s the best of both worlds.

* Help wanted ads are local. The employer knows that most job seekers will be

local. As a hiring manager, I’m more likely to interview local candidates because

there are no transportation expenses for the interview and no relocation expenses

if I hire. Also, local candidates are usually able to start quicker.

* It’s simply easier and more comfortable to pick up the newspaper and quickly

scan the employment ads. Ironically, it’s actually faster to scan a newspaper page

full of want ads than it it to page through many screens to get the same

information online.

For almost all newspapers, you can now find the want ads printed the traditional way on

paper, as well as posted electronically on the newspaper web site.

The instructions for searching the paper want ads are very simple: pick up the newspaper

and read it! However, read it productively. Here’s how:

1. Read

the employment ads, not just those in the category for which

you’re interested. The reason is that job openings will many times be in a

completely different section than where you’d expect. For example, if you’re

looking for a medical supplies sales job, you should look in the “Sales” section of

the want ads

the “Health Care” section. You may even want to look

in the “Retail” section. Go through all the want ad sections because you never

know where you next job may be listed.

2. Circle in red all jobs that look interesting. Don’t spend too much time thinking

about it, just go quickly through all the want ads and mark ones that look


3. Now go back and read carefully the ones you circled in red. Cross-off the ones

that now don’t seem appropriate or for which you aren’t qualified.

4. For the remaining ones not crossed off, cut them out and enter them into the

spreadsheet where you’re tracking jobs you’ve applied for. Keep the ads you cut

out in a manila folder labeled “Jobs Applied For” so that you’ll know how the job

was advertised if you get called for an interview.

The Sunday newspaper is where most job postings appear, so be sure to at least look

every Sunday. But also check the daily edition because you never know when a job

opening will first be published.

Today, almost all newspapers have a web site and post their classified ads online in

addition to publishing them on paper.

This is a real boon for the job seeker because the online help wanted ads will usually stay

online longer than in print. Plus, the larger newspapers help wanted ads will frequently

have good search capabilities and will often list when each job was posted.

So how do you find the web sites for all the newspapers in your area? There are several

online listings of newspapers and other media, but the best one in my opinion is

It is a very well organized and comprehensive list of

not only newspapers, but magazines and Radio/TV stations. It’s sorted both by state and

by category to make searching very easy. This should be your number one resource for

finding newspaper and other media web sites. It is also thankfully free of any advertising

or annoying pop-ups.

The largest newspapers will even have “search agents” for their help wanted ads. A

search agent allows you to define what types of jobs you’re looking for and then

whenever new jobs are posted that meet your criteria, they are emailed to you.

It just doesn’t get any easier than this!

You should set up search agents at all the newspapers that offer them in your

geographical area. However, this is not a substitute for searching the online help wanted

ads on a regular (by regular, I mean

) basis. New job postings may appear

in categories you don’t have specified in your search agent.

You should print a copy of online help wanted ads that interest you. You can then apply

for them one at a time. Be sure to enter them on your job tracking spreadsheet and keep a

copy in your “Jobs Applied For” folder.