You already know how to search the job boards, but what else are you doing to land a job? The most productive and effective job search happens when you cover all the bases.
Companies track how and where new hires come from, often referred to as sources of hire. Based on studies that assess the most effective sources of hire, there are at least seven other activities you can and should be doing that will get you in the right pipeline. Actively participating in these activities can give your job search the extra boost it needs.
1. In-Person Networking
Referrals are the number one source of external hiring. The only way to get referred for a job is through networking. The problem is that most of us don’t like doing it. What if I told you that you don’t have to go to large group meetings where you don’t know anyone or reach out cold to people you don’t know. All you have to do is talk to people you know (a lot or a little), in a one-on-one meeting. Start doing this every single day.
Make a list of everyone you know – everyone. Then reach out systematically to each of them to arrange an in-person meeting. As you meet with people always ask “who else would you recommend I speak with to learn more about X?” You’ll acquire new names to reach out to which keeps your networking going.
2. Online Networking
Companies are starting to place more emphasis on online communities. As a relatively new format, this provides a less congested form of networking with company insiders. Meeting new people can be challenging, but here’s what you need to know. People who are online want to network and expand their connections–that’s why they are there.
Find communities online where you have something in common with the members. It could be your college, geographic location, previous employers, or recreational interests.
Direct sourcing is on the rise. This happens when internal and external recruiters begin searching for people based on desired skills and backgrounds. External or third-party recruiters don’t work directly for the company. They work independently and with many different companies. Often, they specialize in certain industries, types of jobs, or geographic locations. The company pays recruiters when a candidate is hired. Therefore, recruiters are really matchmakers for the company. Search for recruiters on LinkedIn or ask colleagues if they can recommend any recruiters.
It is in your best interest to foster relationships with third-party recruiters who specialize in filling the types of roles you are interested in.
4. Targeting Potential Employers
Instead of chasing job postings, identify companies you would like to work for. You want to learn all you can about the company and its culture to find a good match with your values. It sounds difficult, but when you start pursuing a company you are already interested in, it is much easier for you to stay motivated to meet people who work there. This strategy will help you identify hidden jobs, the ones that aren’t posted. If you don’t have an inside connection, you will probably never see or hear about the opening. Keep in mind: good hiring managers are always looking for their next great hire.
Start building your list by looking at “best company” lists or top employers in your city. You can also ask your network to recommend employers that are likely to hire for the roles you are interested in.
If you are unemployed and hanging out on your couch, a job isn’t going to land on your doorstep. By getting out of the house and doing something with other people, you are more likely to hear about opportunities. Volunteering makes you feel useful and valued, which goes a long way when you are unemployed or underappreciated at work.
Volunteer to do something that matters to you. Ideally, you will volunteer using work-related skills, but if not, don’t worry. You will meet new people and begin to increase the number of people who know about you and what you are looking for.
6. Online Visibility
Human resource professionals and hiring managers are searching for talent online, sometimes proactively and other times due to your submitting a resume. You control what they find. Consider the search results where recruiters and hiring managers find your online resume.
Search for your name using a search engine like Google or Bing. You want everything on the first page to be about you and positive. If you are having difficulty, consider a tool like Brandyourself.com, which helps improve how your name ranks in search results.
7. Speaking, Consulting, Writing
Proactive job seekers aren’t afraid of the limelight. One of the best ways for people to learn about you is to see you in action! Speaking, consulting, or writing provide great exposure and highlight your marketable skills. The more people who know about your talent, the better. Often, companies hire speakers to become consultants and sometimes snatch up consultants as employees. Remember, seeing is believing. Give future potential employers the chance to discover you!
Check out professional associations or your university for speaking opportunities. If you have a skill that’s in demand, look for opportunities to consult on the side. Last but not least, if writing is a strength, create your own blog, either on the LinkedIn platform or using a blogging tool like WordPress. Newsletters, trade magazines, even your local newspaper are always looking for guest contributors.
I’m compensated by the University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.