If you’re looking for a new job, does your search start and end with job postings? If so, you’re missing out on a whole host of job opportunities by not casting your net a bit wider. Just because a company isn’t actively recruiting through the traditional channels, it doesn’t mean that they’re not looking to hire at all. Not sure where to find these openings? Here are a four great ways to find these job opportunities:
1. Speculative applications
Why it can work: You probably think that it’s pointless to send your resume and a covering letter to companies that you’re interested in working for if it’s not in direct response to a job posting but you might be surprised. Sometimes, employers don’t even realize that they could benefit from hiring someone with your particular skills until you approach them and explain how invaluable your services would be. While this strategy won’t get a response the majority of the time, you will certainly find some diamond-in-the-rough opportunities. Apply in large quantities and your odds of getting a callback will increase. At the very worst, companies will put your application to the side, but you’ll be at the top of the pile when a vacancy opens up months down the line.
How to go about it: Address your application to a specific person wherever possible, rather than using the generic “To whom it may concern.” Get the name of the person who handles recruitment and address it to them personally. This won’t guarantee that an unsolicited application will be given attention, but it makes a hundred times more likely.
In the cover letter, you should:
- Explain why you’re writing.
- Make it obvious which type of job/position you’re interested in putting yourself forward for.
- Explain why you want to be part of the company.
- Discuss your relevant experience.
- Request a response or job interview if any vacancies arise.
2. Cold calling
Why it can work: As with speculative applications, the goal is to land an interview. Most people associate cold calling with speculative phone calls but you can also approach prospective employers in-person if they’re based locally or you attend a conference that they will be present at. Again, cold calling in numbers is the only way to make this strategy a success.
How to go about it: Make sure that it’s a convenient time for your contact to talk before you begin. Most career websites recommend that you request an interview or meeting during the conversation, rather than asking for a job outright. Have some set words ready explaining who you are and what your career interest are. Being articulate and passionate will impress them, and even if they aren’t interested, they may have contacts they can get you in touch with if you make a good impression.
Why it can work: Having an “in” with the “right” people can open the door to job opportunities that you wouldn’t normally come across. The more people you know, the better your chances of finding a good opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise be on your radar. Your contacts can also give you an all-important referral to people who may prove vital in your job search.
How to go about it: Almost any situation can be used as a networking opportunity – there are plenty of non-traditional places to network for employment as well. Briefly inform new contacts of the kind of jobs you’re looking for so that they can keep you posted if they come across any openings. It’s also great to get in touch with alumni from your university. Alumni are often willing to help out their younger counterparts.
Why it can work: A lot of companies use unpaid internships as a way to audition potential candidates for a full-time position. Moreover, not only are you getting experience, but you’re also gaining contacts. These contacts might not be in a position to offer you a job, but they may well know people who are. Essentially, it’s another form of networking, albeit one that gives you the chance to give something back and that looks good on a resume. Perhaps above all else, you need experience to get a job; experience is precisely what an unpaid internship offers you.
How to go about it: Many of your favorite companies are glad to take on “free work” from a passionate, qualified candidate. Also, depending on what you want to go into, there are charities or organizations that can provide some great experience. Try contacting them directly to see if they’re currently in need of help from volunteers.
Finding the “hidden” jobs that aren’t advertised requires more legwork than logging onto job sites and seeing what’s been posted but it can lead you to a job that you really want. Do you have any experience of tapping into the “hidden” job market? What tactics have worked (or not worked) for you?
(photo credit: AndyRob)