If you have ever sought a new job, you are familiar with the routine of putting together a résumé, coordinating one or more interview outfits and practicing answers to tough interview questions. You have probably also spent at least some time scouting out newspaper want ads or online job listings. While a résumé and proper attire are essential elements of an effective job search, limiting your job seeking efforts to advertised openings is largely a waste of time.
What’s worse? Many companies use applicant tracking systems, better known as black holes where résumés and applications go to die. The hard truth is that when you apply for advertised openings, it’s unlikely that your credentials will ever be considered by a human being – much less result in an interview.
So, then, how can you get a job? Try looking for the jobs that aren’t posted. Using the methods below to find unadvertised jobs can improve the odds of landing a job fast.
1. Through a Friend of a Friend
If you know someone who works for a company where you’d like to land a job, there is nothing wrong with making a casual inquiry about possible openings. Don’t strong arm anyone into making a recommendation, but if your friend or acquaintance offers to make an introduction, definitely take him or her up on it.
2. By Volunteering for the Company
Volunteering is an especially good way to get your foot in the door with nonprofit agencies, and not just stuffing envelopes. Many professionals volunteer their services to nonprofit agencies during their off hours. By making yourself a known quantity, it’s natural that you will probably be considered first for any paid openings that come up.
3. While Using Social Media
You don’t have to open up your Facebook or Instagram profiles to the world in order to take advantage of the career-boosting aspects of social media. Instead, establish a Facebook Page along with profiles on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms that are a natural fit for career and business purposes. Post career-related updates and “follow” prominent figures in your chosen industry to expand your network.
LinkedIn is a key player here; you can use the platform to learn about companies, make connections with other professionals, and get your profile (which, on LI acts as a resume) in front of many people. By joining groups in your industry you’re often one of the first to know about new job opportunities. But the best part about LinkedIn? You can connect directly to HR reps and headhunters, skipping the black hole system and getting solid info from important people.
4. By Getting Headhunted
If you are a highly skilled professional, you may be able to generate interest in one or more headhunters, who are always on the lookout for top-level talent. However, you should remember that headhunters work for the companies that contract their services, not for you. You must be a good fit for the types of positions that a headhunter is scouting for before you can expect him or her to express much interest in you. Even then, you still have to go through the interview, jump through the hoops, and so on. But if you’ve got the goods, they’ve got the gig.
5. Through Genius Google Searches
If you regularly use Google for searches, you may be aware of the power of its search terms. Glassdoor describes a method that allows you to use these search terms to turn the tables on applicant tracking systems to scout out unadvertised job openings. For instance, searching for site:Taleo.net will generate a list of sites using the popular Taleo ATS for résumé screening. Adding the search term intitle:careers limits the search to web pages that have “career” in the title (and are therefore more likely to include job listings).
6. Exploring Company Websites
You won’t necessarily be seeking out job openings, although you can certainly apply to any posted openings that interest you. Instead, you should scout out company blogs, annual reports or press releases for news about the company. Look for announcements of new products, expanded facilities or other signs that the company may be seeking additional staff in the near future. You will also be well prepared for any interviews that you may obtain, since you’ll have extensive knowledge about the company.
7. By Shaking Hands at Networking Events
Extroverts often thrive at networking events. Introverts – not so much. However, meeting people face-to-face is the best way to make contacts and generate job leads. One way of reducing the “schmooze” factor of networking events is to approach other individuals and small groups for a series of conversations rather than attempting to “work the room” by shaking hands with everyone there. If you’re really shy, try attending networking functions with a friend – just be sure that you each reach out to others during the event. Another option is checking out who’ll be there, and seeking out specific people to connect with.
8. Through Online Directories
Portals like Superpages.com, Hoovers, Indeed and Glassdoor represent treasure troves of information about individual companies and entire industries. You can conduct searches within a specific geographic radius or search by company name. Online directories are especially valuable for revealing names of managers, directors and others with the authority to make hiring decisions, allowing you to circumvent the black hole that many HR departments represent.
9. Reading Industry Publications
If you are looking for a job in your present line of work, you may already be familiar with the leading industry publications. If not, now is a good time to become acquainted with them. By reading industry publications you will learn who’s who and what the next big thing is likely to be. Some industry publications also include specialized job listings. Reading industry publications also provides an ideal crash course for career changers to become familiar with a new industry.
10. Try Your Hand at Parachuting
You won’t be doing any actual parachuting – unless you’re hoping to become a professional daredevil. Career-related parachuting follows the principles outlined in the popular What Color is Your Parachute? book by Richard Nelson Bolles, which is updated every year. The Parachute method is labor-intensive, requiring you to dig deep to determine your deepest career desires and reach out widely to generate viable prospects. But when properly applied, the Parachute method is a highly effective means of not only uncovering unadvertised jobs, but uncovering who you are and who you want to be.
11. Stop Job Hunting, Start Hustling
Ever wonder how all those people tapping away on their laptops in cafes pay their bills? They are the people that get hired on the side, and one of the main reasons why many companies don’t need to post jobs on traditional sites. Almost any job that you can do primarily on a computer or phone can be found online. Check freelance websites like oDesk and PeoplePerHour for jobs like these:
Online fitness coach.
Call center representative.
Tech support specialist.
Direct sales consultant.
Many companies have entire teams that work online, remotely, and across the world. You can often set your own schedule, set your own pay rate, and work (somewhat) at your own pace. The best part of all is that your employment, or lack there of, is entirely up to you and your motivation to take on new projects.
Conventional wisdom states that between 75 and 90 percent of all job openings are never listed in public job portals or newspaper ads. Tapping into this hidden job market requires effort and perseverance, but you will have much less competition for the openings that you discover. By utilizing the strategies listed above, you can increase your odds of being called in for interviews and – more importantly – receiving job offers.
This article was written by staff writer Audrey Henderson. Her mission is to help fight your evil debt blob and get your personal finances in tip top shape. Photos: Flickr, CUCareerServices
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