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Six tactics to level-up your job search

Armed with an updated resume, you’re ready to look for a job. You may have heard that it’s a job seeker’s market right now. Even so, if you’re looking to make a move, you should always be doing more than simply responding to job postings. Did you know that some jobs never get advertised? How do you find out about those? Here are six tactics you can try to sniff them out:

Word of mouth

Tell people that you’re job searching! Crowdsource with your social networks. Ask others who they might be able to connect you with. Work this into your “elevator pitch” and practice it so you’re ready when the opportunity presents itself.

Be specific in your ask: Don’t say, do you know of anyone who’s hiring? I’ll do anything!  Instead, say something like this: I’m looking for new opportunities in product marketing [your area of expertise] and I’d love to get into telecom [specific industry(ies)], do you know anyone I should be talking to?

Professional associations

Many industries have professional associations that host member meetings, professional development opportunities, and sponsor social and networking events. For example, in the DC area there are local HR organizations in DC and in the surrounding counties. Go to a meeting and introduce yourself. I’ve been at meetings where they allow time for anyone present to share with the group that they’re hiring, or if they’re between jobs. 

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Use a headhunter or agency

Some companies *never* advertise jobs – they outsource the recruiting function to placement firms or temp agencies. Both options cost the employer money, but if they only hire once or twice a year, it can be a cost-effective solution for them. You pay nothing!

Some agencies offer a temp-to-perm option. Employers like this because it lets them “try before they buy” – but guess what, it allows the worker to try before they buy, too. It’s kind of like moving in together before you actually get married.

Tap into industry-specific agencies that might have hot leads on jobs in your field of expertise. And, look for agency job postings on LinkedIn.

Leverage the power of LinkedIn

Search LinkedIn for people who work at your dream company and ask for an informational interview. Informational interviews can enhance your network and job search efforts throughout your entire career. Read more about it on LinkedIn’s blog.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords, skills, recommendations, and a robust About section. Try creating your own content – write posts on LinkedIn and strategically hash tag them to attract the right eyes. Engage by commenting on the posts of leaders in your target industry, your target employers, etc.

Connect with hiring managers: Sometimes hiring managers post openings on their own profiles, in addition to – sometimes instead of – paying to post them on LinkedIn. Try searching #hiring and filter by industry and role to find posts, then reach out directly to the hiring manager with a personalized note expressing your interest.

LinkedIn Learning: An affordable way to take courses that can help you improve your job search. Here’s one on finding a job in the “hidden job market!” Check out LinkedIn learning for more courses on career topics.

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Access your alumni network

Many universities have career resources for alumni – certainly for recent grads, but also for more experienced professionals. Go to your alma mater’s alumni page to see what’s available. My alma mater offers networking, career mentoring (find one or be one), and other resources designed for alumni of all stages. They also sponsor alumni networking events in various cities – this can be a great way to network.

On LinkedIn, search for companies you want to work with, select people, and then filter by your alma mater to find fellow alumni to connect with.

Mine social media

Follow the accounts of your target companies and engage with their content – that’s why they post stuff. Comment and retweet, or comment on their Instagram posts or stories. Explore those companies’ presence on SnapChat and TikTok if you’re so inclined. Use the hash tag search function on LinkedIn and Instagram to learn about places that might be hiring.

They say that a job search should be treated as a full-time job; if you’re pursuing all of the above tactics, you’ll certainly be busy! Choose one or two tactics to start; focus on those that make the most sense in your situation. Keep track of connections you make and follow up with them periodically. It seems like a lot of effort, but I think it’s time well spent to invest in finding the best job for you.

Have you had success with finding an off-market job? Leave a comment and tell me what worked (or share what didn’t)!

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