Geeks like numbers, right? Here are two numbers for the job hunting geek to remember.

7.5% and 1:11

Read on for why these numbers are so crucial to your job search.

Every year, CareerXroads publishes a survey of where large companies find their employees. Below are the top four sources of hires from their Sources of Hires report.

Source of hires Jobs filled
Internal promotions + transfers 38.8%
Referrals 16.7%
Company website 12.3%
Job boards 7.5%

Only 7.5% of jobs are filled because from job boards. But what does the average geek do when he wants to find a job? He hits the job boards, doing simple keyword searching on CareerBuilder or Monster or one of the niche sites. But the hard truth is that almost four times as many jobs (29.0%) are filled from personal networking or hard research finding a company that’s a fit. It just doesn’t make sense to turn to the job boards as your primary source of finding a job.

Of course, it’s easy to see why we as geeks would turn to these behemoth databases. They give us such nice database filter screens to fill out!

"Why, yes, I'd like a job as a (JAVA PROGRAMMER) or (LINUX ADMINISTRATOR) making (OVER $80,000) within (15 MILES) of (60050). If only I could specify that I'd rather not wear a tie."

Then the machine soothingly pumps out screens of job openings for us to sift through. Too few? Too many? Tweak a few knobs, refine the search, and get better results. It’s a fantastically geek-friendly way to do it.

But then that 7.5% comes back to remind us that the easy path is not always the most effective.

One in eleven

Even more eye-opening for the job seeker who would just as soon surf his way to a better job is the ratio of 1:11. That’s the yield that CareerXroads found of hires per referral. They found that:

The efficiency of referrals is one of the single most important characteristics of US hiring practices.... More than 17,000 positions were filled from just fewer than 200,000 referrals or 1 hire for every 11.2 referrals!

No hiring manager can imagine hiring someone after reading only eleven résumés. It’s more like one in several hundred at the very least.

What this means for you is that a referral is far more likely to turn into an actual job than throwing a resume after an ad you found on the net.

If you’re serious about getting a job, leave the job boards behind, network with your personal connections, and do the hard research to find the companies that are a fit for you and your skills.