During a job search, it’s important to focus on networking, cultivating relationships and connecting with real people—and not rely solely on job postings and submitting your resume to as many opportunities as you possibly can. And, uploading your resume to every job board and waiting for someone to contact you isn’t an effective job search strategy either. While you may feel an initial sense of accomplishment, casting a random, wide net probably won’t give you the results you’re looking for in your job search.
Think about the industry and environments in which you’d like to work. What companies would you be interested in joining? Create your target list of employers and focus your efforts on making connections within these organizations. You don’t need to wait for a job posting to appear; you can proactively reach out to people inside the organization to introduce yourself and express your strong interest in being part of their team. The more connections you establish, the greater your chances of scoring an interview. Although they may not have an opening today that aligns with your experience, chances are they will at some point in the future, or they may know someone who’s looking for a candidate now with your skill set.
If one of the target companies included in your job search is currently looking for someone with your background, use LinkedIn to identify the hiring manager or internal recruiter and reach out to make an introduction. But, be sure you’ve laid the groundwork first. Ensure that your updated resume and a completed profile already exist in the company’s automated tracking system. This small effort shows genuine interest and saves time for the recruiter—and makes it more likely that your resume will be read. Recruiters don’t have the time to figure out how to obtain your resume; make the process easy for someone to learn more about you.
Expand your job search beyond your computer. Every professional or social event is an opportunity to network. Whether you’re working with a vendor, attending a trade show, meeting a former colleague for lunch, or waiting for your coffee at Starbucks, use every opportunity you can to network and spread the message that you’re exploring new opportunities. You never know who could help you land your next role. If people don’t know you’re looking, they can’t help you. The more people in your trusted network who know you’re an available, interested and qualified candidate, the better your chances for securing a new job.