When it comes to searching for open positions online, big job boards can be a double-edged sword: You either find an overwhelming 200 pages of open positions (that you’ll never have the time or patience to go through), or you find a total of two potential jobs in your desired field and location, neither of which pique your interest.
Sound familiar? Take heart—online job boards aren’t your only option. Here are a few ways you can successfully seek out open positions without having to hit that search bar.
1. Enlist the Help of Your Social Network
Just like a thought-provoking status update can warrant a barrage of comments from your friends, family, and even long-lost classmates from second grade, a similar public inquiry can open your eyes to job suggestions you hadn’t considered before. So, consider putting a call out to your social network: “I’m looking for a new career in marketing. Does anyone know of great companies in the area?”
You might be surprised by who pipes up. When people get the chance to be an expert at anything, whether recommending a new band, a favorite book, or, in this instance, a company they’ve heard great things about—they’ll jump at the opportunity to share their knowledge. And you never know who in your network knows someone in the area where you’re looking: “Oh, I have a cousin who works at this great software company in Denver, and she loves it! I’ll message you the details.”
Searching via Twitter can be effective, as well, if you make use of a hashtag like #PRJobs, #MarketingJobs, or #NashvilleJobs. You can tweet out that you’re looking—or just browse those hashtags if you’re job searching in stealth mode. You’ll find companies in your industry or area that are looking to hire immediately (and if you’re searching publicly, it could be the perfect opportunity to try out your 140-character resume!).
2. Target Companies Directly
Targeting specific companies’ websites can be a one-stop shop for a new job. You’ll be able to research the company, gauge its brand and culture, and apply for a position all in one place.
But how do you find those companies in the first place? After all, a basic web search (e.g., “digital marketing company Tampa”) is likely to pull up a list of options even longer than those job board results. Instead, try looking for lists of “Best Places to Work 2012” in your industry or area. These lists may not be the end-all, be-all of your search, but they can help you hone in on companies that have a great culture and happy employees. (Or, explore great companies at The Muse!)
Once you find a few that spark your interest, head to their websites to do some further research and look for open positions.
3. Use Your School
When you’re in college, you have a great resource in your school’s career center, which can help you find potential jobs, perfect your resume, and nail your interview. But even if you’ve already graduated, your alumni network can still be a great resource for finding a new job (especially if you’re looking for jobs around the same area you went to school). They usually have great connections with a wide variety of companies and can help put in you in touch with the right people—after all, your alma matter wants to see its graduates succeed in careers they love.
As an alumnus (and of course, as a student), you may also still be eligible to attend your university’s career fair. I know—they can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming. But look at a career fair for the fantastic resource it is: tons of local companies housed under one roof with the objective to hire new employees.
4. Get Yourself Out There
One of your best options for finding jobs is, of course, going to be networking. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to attending formal, planned networking events. While that’s a great place to start, and can absolutely help you get to know other professionals in your field, you can also branch out into volunteering, happy hours with new friends (and friends of those friends), book clubs, meet-ups, you name it.
While your conversation here won’t center on businesses or careers, the subjects will certainly come up naturally in conversation. And the more people you get to know, the more you’ll start hearing about cool companies and open positions they’re looking to fill.
5. Make the Jobs Find You
And if you still can’t seem to find any good options, make the jobs come to you: Create a website or online resume with the objective of enticing an employer to contact you. (Sounds far-fetched, but it has been done!) OK—it’s a slightly riskier option, but if done right, it can warrant amazing results (read: You’ll never have to visit a job board again!).
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