To Get a Great Job, Try This Pre-Internet Strategy

Pre-Internet Job Search


The number one (by far) frustration for job seekers during a job search is that after applying to jobs, they don’t get a response from employers. Is this your experience? If so, I can tell you why this happens 90% of the time:

  • Your resume/application doesn’t clearly show your matching skills to the job you are applying for consideration. (You really need a good resume).
  • You are not qualified for the job in the first place.
  • The position you applied to is already filled.
  • You are qualified, have a great resume, complete an error-free application. The only reason you don’t hear back is because the employer has plenty of candidates already.  

If you are qualified for a position (based on your interpretation of the job description), it might be time to change not only the way you apply for jobs, but also how you can get the company’s attention.

It is time to go back to pre-internet days when the source of most jobs was the Sunday classified section?  Imagine 2,500 job postings in the Sunday paper broke down by categories.  Most of the job ads were only four sentences since the papers charged employers by the word!  When applying to these jobs, you either mailed a cover letter and resume or you physically went to the location to fill out an application. 

Humans actually looked at your resume and so many of the mistakes you are making today (misspellings, grammar, poor cover letter, etc.) were also made back then.  However, since there was no social media, Google or anyway to locate additional information on you, employers would make a decision was based on two things:

  • Your resume.  HR looked at your experience, skill sets, and companies you worked for in the past.  Unlike today, if you had a lot of jobs in a short period of time, you most likely would not be considered.  (Too many jobs are still a negative today no matter what others are saying; especially for the really good jobs!) 
  • Internal Referral.  If you knew someone internally where you applied, this was the fasted way to get to the top of the resume pile.

Job seekers could not research the companies without going to the local library and doing hours of research in directories.  You couldn’t Google for interview advice.  How did anyone get a job back then? 

What can you learn from the pre-internet days to help you in your job search today? 

  1. Your resume has to be great and clearly define what you do.  Believe it or not, spell check and grammar check is only 25 years old.  Great people were turned down for jobs in the pre-internet days because they had bad grammar.  In 2017, the same thing is still happening.
  1. Reading job listings in the newspapers took hours, but it was the only source for job seekers.  Since it was a lot of work to type out envelops, cover letters and resumes for each job, a lot of time was spent finding really good jobs.  If you want to do better in your job search today, don’t just apply because it is easy to do via “quick apply” links and email.  Take time to find jobs that fit from many resources including job boards, corporate websites, chat rooms, social media and many others.
  1. Internal referrals were big before the internet.  They are even bigger now.  A great strategy is to look up your friends on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, SNAP, Twitter, etc.) and see where they work.  Go to that company’s corporate website, see what jobs they have. If you find a match, apply and then reach out to your friend.  You HAVE TO do it this way if you want to be successful. Don’t call your friend and ask them what jobs are open at their company.  Most likely they will not know anyway.

Before the internet, resumes and referrals were extremely important in getting great jobs; not just a job.  Spend time finding those jobs starting with companies where your friends work.



Back to listing