“The conventional approach is not always the best way, especially when the deck is stacked against you and failure is not an option. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands and create a new way.”
Searching for a job can be a slow, discouraging process, especially if you’re limited to traditional strategies such as newspaper job ads, Monster.com, and Craigslist.
However, if you are looking to land your dream job (and land it quickly!), there are a variety of proactive strategies and online tools that you could be using to help boost your chances. Here we have compiled 16 job-landing strategies, shared with us by recent hires in a series of interviews.
1) Use industry-specific job sites
Peri Berger, who was recently hired as a lawyer in New York City, found that he got more interviews via lawyer-specific job sites than from a headhunter or conventional job boards. Use Google or Bing to search for job sites in your industry.
2) Register directly with companies
Peri also shared the following tip: “A lot of large companies (Pepsi comes to mind, for example) allow you to register on their sites and receive updates when jobs you are interested in become available.” Find out if prominent companies in your industry or companies that you’re interested in working for allow you to signup for email alerts for new job listings.
3) Get more recommendations on LinkedIn
LinkedIn recommendations matter – both when it comes to getting an interview, and for the actual hiring decision. Christina Duren, a Marketing Manager at JDi Data Corporation, noticed that several hiring managers specifically mentioned her LinkedIn recommendations during an interview. LinkedIn makes it easy to invite your connections to write a recommendation for you, so take a few minutes today to ask for recommendations!
4) Make more connections on LinkedIn
Connecting with more people that you know on LinkedIn means you’re more likely to have a common connection when a hiring manager views your profile. Nishadha Silva, an Internet Marketing Specialist at Cinergix, reports that he was hired, in part, because he and the CEO of Cinergix had several contacts in common on LinkedIn. (Adding people you don’t know on LinkedIn isn’t recommended, though – this might backfire on you if the hiring manager contacts your connections.)
5) Use Rapportive to help you cold-email and/or connect socially
Rapportive is a handy Gmail add-on that shows you the social media profiles of the person you’re emailing. Smit Patel discovered another way it can help job seekers, too. If you’re trying to connect with the executives or hiring managers at a company, you can try guessing their email and typing it into Gmail. If you guess correctly, Rapportive will confirm your guess by displaying the name and social profiles of the person you’re trying to reach.
6) Use a job aggregator
Steve Guidry, a freelance Video Engineer from Texas, recommends that job searchers use job posting aggregators such as www.jobrapido.com. Steve says that he uses Job Rapido (and similar sites) regularly to find freelance jobs, but it’s also great for finding full-time employment.
7) Create a list of industry contacts on Facebook
Sue Kauffman was looking for a job as an in-house PR specialist, a position she says employers often fill by promoting from within or hiring friends. Without the necessary connections, she found that job sites, recruiters, LinkedIn, want ads, and Craigslist were fruitless endeavors. So she started pursuing contacts by creating a custom list on Facebook of all the PR people that she could find and network. The result? Sue found a job via her Facebook list in about 2.5 weeks. You don’t have to limit yourself to Facebook, either – try creating a spreadsheet of relevant contacts along with whatever contact information you have for them – Facebook, email, phone, etc.
8) Setup an online portfolio
John Lee found an online portfolio was a critical key to obtaining his current job as Chief of Operations with netcamshop.com. While Online portfolios are used most often by marketers and designers, they are effective for everyone from programmers to carpenters.
9) Get creative
Sometimes you need something more creative than just a resume to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate what you can do. Chris Carroll found a competitive advantage by creating a website with a complete online portfolio and a funny intro video. Chris says that his website and video were very helpful in getting his current job.
10) Setup and post to a blog
A blog is a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise to employers. (Be sure to include your contact information, and note that you are available for hire.) You never know who might see your blog post. Nishadha Silva made a post on his blog about social media in Sri Lanka, which led to an interview and a job offer from a company in Australia!
11) Use basic SEO techniques
Utilize basic search engine optimization strategies, such as placing relevant keyword phrases (such as your desired job title and location) in the title tag of your online resume. If nobody finds your blog or resume online, you’re unlikely to get interviews or job offers. Check out SEOmoz’s On Page Factors for tips and pointers on optimizing a webpage.
12) Use social media to facilitate in-person meetings
Sometimes the web is just a starting point, and you need to network face-to-face to find a job. Laura Gardner, a Marketing & PR Manager, shared how this strategy worked for her: “I followed industry leaders in my city using Twitter and figured out who I wanted to meet. A friend/mentor (who I also met through Twitter) suggested I comb through his LinkedIn connections, which led to me having coffee with my future boss (who I had followed on Twitter as well).”
13) Add a QR code to your resume
Caitlin Heck, who recently landed a job at a PR, Advertising and Marketing agency in Phoenix, says that she was hired specifically because she used a QR code on her resume. Adding a QR code to your resume is both functional (you can link it to your online portfolio) and strategic (it helps you stand out from the crowd).
14) Be an online networking sleuth
If you want to work at a specific company, use your detective and networking skills to learn more about the company and make connections with people who work there. Oly Rillera shared some of the tactics she used to land a job at Slickdeals, after sending in her resume and cover letter didn’t elicit a response:
- Connect with company executives on LinkedIn
- Use Whois lookup if the company’s phone number isn’t listed on their site
- Call the HR department and ask for an interview
- Read about and connect with the company in every way you can: Twitter, Facebook, traditional and online media presence
15) Sign up for a LinkedIn PRO account
Christina Duren, a Marketing Manager at JDi Data Corporation, said that a LinkedIn PRO account offers several features that helped her get hired:
- Job applications from PRO accounts are automatically highlighted.
- See who has viewed your profile – this helps you learn more about hiring managers that are viewing your profile.
- InMails to proactively contact hiring managers that aren’t in your network.
16) Use Twitter to learn about job opportunities in real time
Follow lots of leaders in your industry and use Twitter search to find out about job opportunities before others. You can also use TweetDeck to create custom columns to display the most relevant tweets.
What online tools and tactics have you used to help you land a job? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add the best suggestions here.