Responding to Newspaper Classified Advertising

Why even bother with newspaper classified ads? Does anyone even read a newspaper anymore? Isn't it just a waste of time? Yes, it can be. But it can also be an opportunity.

Newspapers have a unique local emphasis which most job sites do not. Think about it. Where can you find a listing of local companies that are actively hiring along with descriptions of the organization and what they think are their strongest benefits for potential employees? In the local newspaper classified ads.

But don't expect to find an abundance of entry level positions advertised. That is not your purpose in scanning the classifieds. Your purpose is to locate potential hiring companies, possibly Hiring Managers, then work toward finding a potential entry level position within that organization.

First, you need to locate the right resource. If you have a specific geographical area (or areas) targeted, you should be subscribing to the major Sunday paper(s) for that area as your resource. In addition, if there is a national newspaper targeting your job type or industry (such as technology, engineering, finance, etc.), make sure to include it on your subscription list as well. If you are not local to the area where the newspaper is published, make sure you tell them to include the classifieds since some papers will mail only the news sections if you are outside of their local area. In either case, ask for a student discount and a short subscription period (such as two to three months—you can always renew).

The want ads will have few entry level jobs, but a wealth of job information.

When scanning the ads, look first for entry level jobs in your field. It is unlikely you will find one, but you might as well look. And if you see it, be there in person bright and early Monday morning if you are close enough to do so (I don't care what the ad says about "mail your resume" and other such screens). Next, look for entry level jobs in other fields. Although they are hiring in a different field, they are hiring at the entry level. Next, look for experience-required jobs in your field, no matter how high the level is. These ads are often the most valuable to entry level candidates since they often list the responsibilities of the position and potential hiring contacts. It gives you plenty of ammunition for approaching the company. Last, use the ads for other positions as a research tool; they will give you further information about companies in the area. Always read the company description. Find something interesting? Find companies appropriate to your background? Include them in your list of companies to research and contact.