Spending most of your job-search time on job boards is an addictive, time suck spiral. And this is how it starts: The enticing idea of sending your credentials online to instantly receive an interview appeals to your sense of wanting immediate gratification, and comes with a low risk of direct rejection. But what ends up happening for most people is a slow, draining process of rejection-less rejection. Instead of being told "no,” you're told nothing. Or you receive "thanks but no thanks” emails that come seconds after you submit your applications and that a human didn't write. Typically, anything that's “Insta-Easy” to apply to is going to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people applying, and these days you may not even get human eyeballs on your application.
That’s why it’s important to look for open jobs outside job boards. And jobs outside job boards they do exist ... in abundance. So if you're willing to do the work that almost no one else wants to do to find these openings, here is what you need to do.
1. Check with your college alumni network.
Often, this can lead to connections that bring forth new opportunities that lead to your next job. You already have something in common (your alma mater), so it can be easier to connect.
2. Search for corporate alumni where you used to work and connect with those new individuals.
Again, since you have something in common (previous place of employment), this can work to your benefit. Make this a regular task of your job searching and you’ll be amazed at the new connections you can achieve.
3. Reach out to the majority of your LinkedIn contacts.
You most likely have over 500 connections. Use them. Just remember to keep it professional yet personal. See if you can relate to something they’ve written or the job they do to increase your chances of building a solid relationship. You want to be professional in how you respond but personal so it doesn’t feel so much of an inconvenience or sales pitch to them.
4. Explore business news stories.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. If a company launches a new business, there's often hiring happening to support it. If a company downsizes, believe it or not, that creates opportunities. Position yourself as a solution and reach out.
5. Research industry conferences and conventions.
Whether you attend or not, conferences and conventions are nuggets of opportunities to capitalize on here. Get familiar with the major ones in your industry and do your due diligence to make connections.
6. Look up educational and career/professional development events.
People who grow and stick together help each other. Do your research to find these but also reach out to others in your industry to get ideas. Simply ask them which events they plan on attending in the near future.
7. Find professional association members.
Members normally take care of each other. So join these groups, but do more than just joining them; get active. That’s the best way to get noticed and build solid connections.
There are many other ways to find unpublished jobs and stay off job boards, but these are the most important. And all will require you to get your resume updated and in order. You can look for interview-generating resume templates to prepare yourself in the best way possible.
A version of this post previously appeared on Chameleon Resumes.
Lisa Rangel is the Founder and Managing director of Chamelon Resumes LLC (a Forbes Top 100 Career Website). She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Job Landing Consultant, and Recruiter. Lisa is also a paid moderator for LinkedIn’s Premium Career Group, which has 1,300,000+ members. Chameleon Resumes reviews the goals of each client to ensure career documents serve their goals while meeting the needs of the prospective employers. Rangel has authored 16 career resources, and has an active YouTube Channel with regular tips and advice.