Online job boards are the first stop for almost every job seeker; and in most cases, the final stop. The strategy of placing all of your résumés in one basket means missing out on all of the other exciting opportunities out there – you just have to make a commitment to finding them. Job seeking can sometimes mirror dating in the sense that you may never find the right ‘one’ by looking in all the same places.
Wondering why companies don’t post all of their job openings? Perhaps the hiring manager doesn’t want to be bombarded with a slew of résumés, or someone may still be in the position, but they are soon to be let go. Also, most hidden opportunities are typically filled based on internal promotions, referrals and recommendations. Those are just a few reasons, but either way, those jobs are out there and you can be that referral or recommendation!
Your willingness to put yourself out there will yield more results, boost your confidence, and open your mind to opportunities and companies that you generally wouldn’t have even considered. Branch out beyond the job boards and seek job openings that aren’t being advertised using these tips:
1. Ask. It never hurts to ask. Create a list of companies that you would like to target, whether or not they are hiring, and reach out the hiring manager. Create an industry-specific résumé that highlights the role you are seeking and complement it with a detailed cover letter that is addressed to a specific person. Inquire about opportunities that may align with your experience and note that you are open to an informational meeting to discuss current or future opportunities. Can’t get to the hiring manager? Proceed to the following steps.
2. Network. Get the word out that you’re in the job market by reaching out to your network and starting a conversation around your area of expertise. The information you receive will depend on your approach and on whether or not they can picture you as a colleague or as someone they would recommend. If you’re sincere and you’re not coming off as desperate, you’ll find it’s fairly easy to open doors to influential decision makers. Current employees are privy to inside information such as upcoming projects, new departments, and expansions with the company. Staying in contact on a regular basis will keep your name fresh in their minds when an opportunity comes around.
3. Research. Take some time to find out what the innovative companies in your industry are up to. Is there a department that you can see yourself contributing to or improving? Without stepping on any toes, call out an area of opportunity and suggest how you would be able to improve the current methods or help to take things to the next level. Be ready to back it up with real ideas and examples of how you can make an impact.
Furthermore, using social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great ways to connect with the people who can get you one step closer to the hiring manager.
With all of these methods comes one requirement – patience. Applying via job boards may feel as though you’re quickly moving along in the right direction, but the automatic response stating that your application was received can be misleading. Asking for an informational meeting, reaching out to your network, and researching companies takes perseverance and commitment. It’s an ongoing process and patience will yield the results that will set you on the right path to your dream job.
By Malicia Basdeo, New York City, @maliciaism
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