Even though the current job market is said to favor job seekers, there is still a lot of competition for the best jobs. Job seekers know that the prize often goes to those who reach out first and fastest. But, with so many people using the same sources (e.g. LinkedIn) to learn about jobs, it can be tough to get to the door first. The most successful job seekers are finding some creative ways to find job opportunities. Here career experts share some ideas on some not-so-well-known sources of information about jobs available.
Creative Ways to Find Job Opportunities
Kane Carpenter is director of career services for Employment BOOST. Social networking sites, like Facebook, are now popular places to learn about job opportunities and are heavily trafficked by both those looking for jobs and those looking for people who are looking for jobs! Carpenter says, “we frequently get great applications through Facebook for open positions, so it’s definitely growing in popularity and utility.” He also points to some other creative ways to find job opportunities:
- Another avenue, outside of LinkedIn, for younger professionals, is to use job portals such as Handshake or their college career services departments. Oftentimes schools will have a database of jobs that they have access to, specifically designated by organizations as positions for graduating students, so utilizing those services is a good idea.
- A creative place to find job opportunities is the message boards in community centers, such as your local library or coffee house. These are great places to find jobs that are a little bit off the beaten track, and for creatives, many opportunities will come about more organically too.
- Finally, career fairs and professional organizations are always great places to hunt for open job opportunities. Networking at these kinds of events is a way to open up dialogue with key individuals and hiring managers and get your foot in the door at a company that maybe wouldn’t have a presence online.
Career activator Madelyn Mackie suggests Craigslist as a great source of information about available jobs. “The best part about Craigslist is that many companies simply have you apply by sending in a resume and cover letter via email,” she says. “Candidates do not have to complete those long, online applications.” Some additional creative ways of finding jobs, that she recommends: “posting a notice in your church bulletin, having your resume taped to the back of your driver’s seat while you make some extra cash as an Uber/Lyft driver, or, go truly old school, and check out the newspaper.”
Sometimes a combination of old and new can be the best recipe for finding out about job opportunities that others may have overlooked.
Aman Brar, CEO of Canvas, also points to Facebook as a good resource, but he recommends that job seekers narrow their search through Facebook groups. “Facebook groups are a great way to learn about job opportunities, jobs in your area or positions in your field of expertise,” says Brar. He also suggests another social media site that many job seekers may not have considered—Twitter. Most specifically, Twitter chats.
“While it might sound odd to chat to a future employer over Twitter, professional Twitter chats are becoming increasingly more popular with the younger generation,” Brar says. “Twitter chats are a great way to network and connect with other users, without having to do the dreaded cold outreach to employers.” He recommends trying a hashtag, such as #jobhuntchat to join the conversation chain.
Brett Ellis, a career coach, works with his clients to help them access what he calls the “hidden job market.” One of his recommendations: “Try setting up Google Alerts for your most desired companies and follow them on LinkedIn. This is a great way to find out company news and expansions before jobs are posted. If you get an alert that a company is expanding n your area, you can utilize LinkedIn to connect with current staff to get a jump on the competition.”
Thinking Outside the Box
Job seekers who think strategically about how they might learn of opportunities—even before those opportunities are officially announced—can stand out by being the first to raise their hands to say: “hire me!”
Tech founder and investor, Susan Danziger, offers some unique advice to job seekers. “Find out which startups have been funded. Those companies that have recently been backed by venture capitalists (VCs) will usually go on hiring sprees.” Trade news publications like TechCrunch, she says, will announce recent funding—or monitor the trade journals in your area of interest for similar announcements. “You can also follow VC blogs that announce which companies they’ve funded,” she says. “Just follow the money.”
Some Real-World Examples
Matt Dodgson is the director of Market Recruitment, and shares some examples of creative job search activities he’s observed. In one case, a young woman working part-time as a barista, but interested in landing a marketing job, convinced the owner of the café to let her put table tents out with her picture, resume highlights, contact information, “and some clever marketing headlines such as ‘I dish out great ideas in addition to great coffee.” Dodgson says: “I was intrigued and brought her in to talk about some potential opportunities.”
Another time, he says: “A resourceful job seeker once approached me during the holiday season, offering his time to volunteer with my clients for their charity events or drives. I reached out to my clients and was pleasantly surprised to receive great interest.” He shared the opportunities with the job seeker who was able to find time to volunteer with several clients. “He did anything from dress up as Santa and pose for pictures with employees’ children to delivering food kits to low-income families. He left such a great impression that multiple clients requested I bring him in for an interview when they posted jobs with me.” Dodgson adds that this type of outreach doesn’t have to take place only during the holidays. “Volunteer opportunities may not be as plentiful in the off-season, but they are available.”
Finally, recommends Ellis, take the time to build up our own “personal brand” online. “If job seekers are proactive in their careers, they can start to get their names out to relevant decision-makers in their industries. By creating engaging content in their career fields consistently, employers may reach out to professionals, eliminating the need to job search.”
While job seekers shouldn’t overlook the most popular means of finding out about jobs, taking the time to explore some creative avenues can pay dividends.