You may have found out through experience by now that job boards are not the most effective job search method, but it is the most used method. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 13% of jobs are filled through job boards, but job boards are most job seekers’ primary job search method.
So how do you break out of the job boards box? If you want to diversify your job search methods, what else can you do? Here are some suggestions:
1) LinkedIn. Search for companies that you are interested in on LinkedIn and then look for people who are in your network who you can connect with. When you type in the name of a company that you want to work for in the search bar at the top of the page using the dropdown menu for Companies, LinkedIn will automatically tell you who you have in your network that works for that company. If it is a second or third level connection, LinkedIn will let you know who the first or second level connections are that link you to the person who works for that company. You can then forward an introduction through your first or second level connections to the person that you want to reach. This is a way of networking your way into the position that you want.
2) Twitter. Use hashtags to make it easier for employers to find you. Hashtags are terms used on Twitter that start with the # sign. Many Twitter users regularly search for tweets by hashtags so that they can stay up to date with what people are saying about a particular topic. Some hashtags that are useful to job seekers are #jobs, #jobsearch, #careers, and #employers. You can also search Twitter for hashtags that are specific to your field.
3) Facebook. Join groups on Facebook that are related to your field. You can find such groups by using the search bar at the top of the page. You can also like company pages. If you have a company or companies in mind that you want to work for, check Facebook to see if they have a company page and then check it periodically to see who manages the page (if this information is available) and if there is any new information about the company that can help you as you try to network your way into the company. It’s also a good idea to comment on new information that has been posted so that you can gain some visibility with the person who manages the page.
4) In-person networking. Start with people you know. If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, start with your comfort zone by contacting people who already know and like you. People who know and like you will be willing to help you. Let people who you know from your neighborhood, house of worship, community organizations, and previous jobs know that you are looking for new employment. And make sure that they know what type of work you are looking for. Then ask for referrals to people that you don’t know. Ask the people in your current network to pass your name along to people in their networks who may know of openings that would suit your skill set. Then set up phone or in-person meetings with these new contacts to talk about what you have to offer. Be sure to have your resume ready if you are asked for it.
5) Professional associations. I advise job seekers to attend monthly meetings at the local chapter of their professional associations. This is an often overlooked venue for networking. Going to professional association meetings is a very targeted form of networking that connects job seekers with professionals in their same fields who are likely to be employed and can be a source of referral. Professionals who are already employed often go to professional association meetings with knowledge of job openings at their companies. At many professional association meetings it is common to build networking time into the schedule. Job seekers can take advantage of this formal networking time to find out about possible openings.
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