The way candidates find work has changed drastically from the way they have historically. No longer can you walk into a business off the street and have your application or resume reviewed on the spot. With the flooded pool of applicants in the market, learning to access “the hidden job market” is key to decreasing your competition. Monster and CareerBuilder jobs are viewable by anyone with Internet access and the number of job seekers is in the millions. That is unreasonable competition.
The following steps can boost your success in finding a job:
- Network. The most common single way people become employed is through networking. Build a network of people with whom you can keep in contact regarding possible job openings they hear about. This includes former and current co-workers, former supervisors, business owners, industry association members, contacts from job fairs and job clubs, industry collaborators on LinkedIn, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, and family. Maintain regular contact with these people and ensure they know exactly what type of work you are seeking. Local Job Clubs, often held at churches or other community resource locations, are another source of network contacts.
- Direct contact with target companies. Make a list of companies in your geographic area for which you would like to work. Do research about the company via the Internet so you know the business. Also research to find out who the hiring decision-maker is, and how you can reach that person, preferable by phone. Cold contact can be highly effective. Have a three-minute sales pitch about yourself prepared, including what value you offer and how you would be an asset to the company. If you are told no positions are currently available, ask if you may still send your resume and say that you would like to follow-up next month to inquire about openings.
- Join associations that are specific to your industry and become active in the organization. Whether it is in person at meetings or conferences or via online group forum discussions, getting your name out there may draw recruiters and employers. Write articles for the quarterly association magazine, comment intelligently in online group forums, volunteer at association events, and network with others in the association. Concentrating your efforts on the same specific line of work in which you have been will be more effective than grasping at any Jobbörse you can find, because right now employers are wanting experienced only applicants, and right now they can get plenty of them.
- Check local websites with job listings. For example, some Chamber of Commerce websites list jobs. Also check city and county websites, industry-specific websites, school system websites, hospital websites, and other local company websites.
Decreasing the volume of competition against you dramatically increases your odds of landing work. Knock-out résumés and targeted cover letters are key also. Be methodical, be organized, and follow-up after applications and interviews.