While job boards are hardly a waste of time, they’re not the only way to look for work, and evidence suggests they’re not the best. According to Quintessential Careers founder Randall S. Hansen, only about 5 percent of people find their jobs using online postings.
That stat comes courtesy of a U.S. News & World Report story titled “How to Find a Job Without Using Job Boards.” In it, writer and Jobhuntercoach head Arnie Fertig outlines a set of steps he says will increase your chances of landing a dream gig — not just throwing your resume into a giant virtual pile and hoping for the best.
First up: make a list of target companies. By using Google, industry associations, and the increasingly vital LinkedIn, you should be able to pinpoint a handful of companies in your area that you’d like to work for. This is perhaps the easiest and most obvious step, but it’s essential.
Next, Fertig says, you should do your homework and conduct research on those target companies. Have they been in the news lately? If you’re connected via LinkedIn to individuals who work for the companies, reach out and try to get a sense of what their needs are. And of course, visit their websites to see if they have job openings, but even if you see one that’s perfect for you, don’t apply. Not just yet.
According to Fertig, you should wait until you’ve tried to “network yourself into your target companies,” step No. 3. Data shows you have a much better chance of nabbing a job offer — and ultimately locking down a higher salary — if you come to a company via referral. To that end, reach out to people in your network and start discussing your interests. See if you can schedule coffee dates to find out what working for your target companies is like. Then, ask for referrals.
Before you get called in for interviews, you’ll likely be subject to some online vetting, and that’s why step No. 4, “make yourself findable,” is crucial. You should have a personal website that includes your resume and some writings on industry topics, and your LinkedIn profile should be compelling and informative. Make sure you have a good headshot, and that you’ve listed all of your skills and accomplishments at past jobs. Also, join alumni groups, as well as groups specific to your industry, position, and location.
Finally, Fertig suggests you “get out of the house.” Looking for work is all about establishing personal connections and putting yourself out there, and while all of the aforementioned computer-centric tips are helpful, it pays to attend conferences and networking events, go on informational interviews, and take classes to boost your skills. “Use the information you gain online to propel you into new and ever deepening professional relationships,” Fertig writes.