And sometimes, poring over job listings -- premium or free -- isn't enough to get your foot in the door in a bad economy.
Abel Travis founded JobPrize.com in 2010 when his wife was trying to find work a few years ago. "I put a posting on Facebook that said, 'If you can give me the contact of a person in (my wife's industry), I'll give you $1,000 if it results in my wife getting a job,'" he says. Travis' wife did eventually find a job through an acquaintance of a contact, and that acquaintance was paid the $1,000.
On JobPrize, people can post ads that tell a little about their background, the type of work they are looking for and how much they are willing to pay for the job. "Prize hunters," or those who know of openings in their company, can collect this money by meeting or speaking with the job seeker by phone and, if he or she passes muster, referring him or her to a supervisor or human resources official at the company. The money is routed through JobPrize, which helps to make the site safer to use. The company has, to date, seen about $65,000 worth of successful transactions. Travis says the average "prize" is $600.