Many people say that the hardest part about getting a job is having to undergo the often stressful recruitment process, where the applicant has to undergo a battery of tests and interviews to evaluate their suitability for the job they are applying for.

In the real world, however, that is not the only hurdle that must be faced by jobseekers. In fact, the struggle starts earlier than that, when job seekers are looking for jobs.

7 Tips and Tricks for Finding Job Openings

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In this guide, we explore the difficulties involved in a job search and the 8 most important tips for finding more relevant jobs.

DIFFICULTIES INVOLVED IN A JOB SEARCH

If searching for a job is easy, then everyone would be gainfully employed, and everyone would be content and happy with their current jobs. Sadly, that is not the case and, every year, the unemployment and underemployment rates serve as proof of that reality.

Career development experts and advisors have identified several reasons why jobseekers are having an unsuccessful run when it comes to searching for job openings. Most of these reasons, it appears, have less to do with the actual existence of job openings and more to do with the approach of the jobseeker in finding them.

There is no tried and tested method on how you can be the first to know about the latest or most recent job openings. The primary rule, however, is to keep your eyes and ears peeled for any morsel – no matter how small – of information that may come your way. Here are some more tips and tricks that you can use in looking for, and finding, job openings.

THE MOST HELPFUL TIPS ON FINDING RELEVANT JOBS

Tip #1: You have to look in the right places.

You may have devoted a substantial chunk of your time looking for job openings, but are you sure that you are looking in the right places? You may not realize it, but you are probably wasting most, if not all, of your time looking in places where you will never have hope of finding even a single job opening.

Newspapers and publications

The first and most obvious place that jobseekers go to when looking for a job are the job ads published in the Classified Ads sections of newspapers and magazines. There are even magazines and publications that are solely devoted to job postings and other classifieds. Check the local paper, or even the newspapers of national circulation if you are willing to look for work that will require you to relocate clear across the country.

Did you know that newspapers, especially the large-circulation ones, also have their own websites? This means that any news item that may not make it in the published hard copies may be uploaded on their news site instead. You can also check out their websites for job classifieds that they may have skipped over in their published issues. And this brings us to the next place to look for job openings in….

Online job boards and career websites

Although newspaper ads for job postings are still used today, more and more people are using online job sites and job boards on the internet to look for openings. There are the traditional job boards, or those online job sites that have started the trend (like CareerBuilder and Monster.com), and there are also the specialty job boards, which are essentially niche job boards that are tailored to serve specific industries or groups.

There are several large and established career websites today that provide this service.

  • General job sites, which carry job postings across industries and fields. Examples are:
    • CareerBuilder – Find employers, or let them find you. That’s what CareerBuilder offers. Jobseekers can add their resume in the database, and the system will move things along by providing job recommendations.
    • Indeed – Indeed works just like Google, with a search engine that will be used by jobseekers to look for job openings. It aggregates information across company listings and job boards, so a single search can get more results. The filter feature allows jobseekers to narrow down their search, depending on preferred criteria.
    • SimplyHired – Another search engine-like job site, SimplyHired features integration with LinkedIn, allowing jobseekers to display their LinkedIn connections to each job. Jobseekers can search by job title, location, and even salary estimates.
  • Industry-specific job sites. These niche job sites focus on specific industries or areas of specialization. Some examples are:
    • FinancialJobBank, which specializes in accounting and finance jobs
    • Authentic Jobs, which specializes in jobs for design, tech and web professionals
    • HealthcareJobsite, which specializes in careers in the medical and healthcare field
    • Mediabistro, which specializes in postings for media professionals
  • Geographic-specific job sites, or sites that carry postings specific to a certain city, region or country.
  • Part-time and freelance job sites, such as:
    • Snagajob, which contains job postings for work or jobs performed and paid on an hourly basis
    • Freelancer, which contains postings for various freelance and remote jobs

What many jobseekers fail to realize is that advertised job openings are not the only job leads that they can find and take advantage of. In fact, there are just as many job openings that are not officially advertised.

 

Networking and referrals

Jobseekers avoid networking for their job search mainly because of the feeling that they are using other people. In this context, they are using other people in order to learn about job leads. What they fail to realize is that networking is a give-and-take relationship, where all members of the network benefit from each other.

Networking is, first and foremost, about establishing relationships and, through these relationships, network members may mutually benefit from shared ideas and advice. It is often referred to as “making connections”, and that would not be wrong although, admittedly, it has acquired a negative connotation of late. When done properly, however, networking is one of the best tools for one to advance their careers.

Companies that opt out of advertising job postings may prefer getting their current employees to actively join in the search for new employees. To encourage employee participation, they will offer incentives to those who are able to refer a candidate that matches the job. This is why it is a good idea to include in your network employees of the companies that you are eyeing to join. Once they are made aware of a vacancy or open position in their company, you are likely to be one of the first to know about it.

Many people have found their jobs through word-of-mouth or getting referrals, and these referrals are results of successful networking. If you play your cards right, and you devote just the right amount of time and effort into it, you may also find job openings through your network.

Never forget that networking requires personal interaction. You have to put yourself out there and let it be known that you are available, and are looking, for a job. If you remain in your comfort zone, never stepping out of your house, then do not expect to be able to find job opening any time soon.

Networking is a lot of work, and networks take time to become solid or stable. You also have to make sure that you nurture these relationships, even when you think you will not benefit from them in the near or immediate future. Touch base with them from time to time, and always remind them that, hey, you exist.

Job fairs

From time to time, job fairs are conducted by organizations and even government agencies. This is where companies and employers converge in one place to conduct screening and hiring activities for open positions in their organizations. Jobseekers go to these job fairs, armed with their resumes, to look for job openings that match their skills and qualifications.

If you are going to attend a job fair to look for job openings, make sure that you are already prepared. You should have identified the employers that will attend the job fair, so you won’t have a hard time going around the venue, looking for which company to check out and submit your resume to.

This will cut down a lot on time, and won’t tire you out needlessly. That way, you will be in your best form when you sit down for an interview with the representative sent by the hiring company.

Professional or trade organizations

Events that are organized by professional and trade organizations are ideal places to network. Here, you can meet people that can give you advice and information on possible job openings. However, networking is not the only thing you can do.

Check the professional or trade organization that your career field belongs to. With this, you will find out if they have job posting programs, or even resume exchange programs. Companies also often prefer to publish their job openings in collaboration with these professional or trade organizations, especially if they belong in the same industry or field.

There are also several professional organizations that maintain their own job boards and job sites, but they limit membership and access to members. Make sure that you enroll for membership in these organizations so you can get the benefits of being one, including access to their job board.

Company websites

It is also a great idea to go directly to the website of each company or corporations and check out its career, jobs, or human resources pages. Companies that have their own websites often bypass the traditional method of posting job ads in publications and job boards because they already have their own space to put their job postings in.

The great thing about finding job postings in company websites is that jobseekers will be given a lot of information on the job and the company, which will then aid them when they are preparing their resume to tailor it to the company. Alternatively, you can look up thousands of companies here on Cleverism.

Colleges, universities and alumni offices

Companies that want to recruit talented people often provide job postings in colleges, universities and alumni offices, which make them good places to look for job openings. These are also good places to network, since the people at alumni offices may know about certain job openings that you will be qualified for.

Some college students, even before graduating, start looking for job opportunities in the employment or alumni offices of their universities. After graduating, they still turn to this source for job possibilities, knowing that they will have better chances of connecting with employers and companies looking for specialized people to occupy positions in their organization. Luckily, many colleges and universities now offer career service assistance to their alumni, and this often includes providing listings of job vacancies.

Alumni associations are also excellent networks. People who went to the same school have a natural inclination to favor or think about other people from the same institution, so when they catch wind of job openings, they know who to contact first. By becoming active in your alumni organization, you will definitely be able to strengthen this connection.

Head hunters and recruitment agencies

Recruiters and headhunters are service providers that jobseekers go to when they are having difficulty finding job openings. Many companies and firms go to recruiters and headhunters to do the recruitment process for them.

They are paid to look for people who match the job description of the open positions in their company. By getting yourself noticed by these headhunters or recruiters, you have a greater chance of being the first on their list when trying to match candidates to open positions.

When picking a recruiter or head hunter, you have to do your research. Choose someone who is connected or, or affiliated with reputable companies, especially those companies that you are eyeing as your future employer.

 

Cold calling

If you can’t find any information on the job listings, why not directly ask for them? Cold calling, or directly contacting companies, recruiters and employers to inquire about any upcoming or anticipated job openings or vacancies is still seen as a good way to find job possibilities.

This method is actually not a bad idea at all, since you may also ask further questions and clarifications about the job, getting details that may help you when you will prepare your resume to apply for that position.

If you use this method, do not expect everything to be all rosy and positive. Some companies may not take too kindly on anyone asking them directly, so reception may not be as warm as you’d want or expect.

Temping or internships

Have you ever wondered why many people opt to work for a company as a temp or an intern, getting very little to no pay? That is most likely because they want to be in the loop once a position opens. Similarly, by doing volunteer work in organizations, you are also opening yourself up to possibilities of working in that field in the future.

For example, an applicant with a nursing background may choose to provide volunteer work in several healthcare facilities. At the same time, he will be keeping an eye and ear out for any job opening in these facilities.

Walking around

And I mean this in the most literal sense. Be prepared to hit the pavement. Spend time walking around the city, visiting business and commercial areas, personally dropping by the offices of the companies you want to work for. You may find job postings in their bulletin boards that they do not bother posting online, or advertising in the dailies.

An advantage of this method is that you are able to gather firsthand information about the job opening once you spot it. You are already in the area, you might as well ask about it. Once you go home, you can focus on writing a resume that will target that job opening that you just saw.

Tip #2: Devote a lot of time on your job-hunt.

If possible, we suggest you make it a full-time endeavor. Jobseekers often complain about being unable to find jobs, even if they have been at it for months already. Then, when they look back to reassess how much time and effort they devoted to their job-hunting activities, it turns out that they are performed intermittently, or only when they have “free time”.

This may not be too much of an issue with unemployed individuals, or those who are in between jobs. They have a lot of time on their hands, and they can search for jobs on a full-time basis, as if it is already their job to do so.

Quintessential Careers founder Dr. Randall S. Hansen suggested that you should put as much time as you can into the job hunt. If you are a student, or are already working but still want to look for a better job, it is a given that your time for job-searching will be limited.

That’s all right. You may not be able to do a job-hunt full-time, but you have to make sure that you devote a lot of your free time to it. In fact, if you can, any time that you are not preoccupied by school work or your current job should be allotted for your job-hunting activities.

Tip #3: Avoid the blanket or scattershot approach in searching for a job.

Are you one of those people who apply to as many jobs and as many employers as they can, sending their resumes to multiple recipients and crossing your fingers that any one of them will call you back for an interview? Do you prefer sending a “blanket mail shot” to multiple companies?

This scattershot or blanket approach may work for some, but if you look at it closely, you may end up wasting your time, energy and resources. Say, for example, that you applied for multiple open positions in a single company, when you are not even qualified for any one of them. This approach of blindly applying anywhere will only tire you out and frustrate you even more, especially when none of them gets back at you.

You have to have a specific strategy in place, and the best strategy in a job search is to find one that is a close match with your skills and qualifications. At least, in this instance, you will have an actual chance of being considered for an interview down the line, as opposed to applying to any random position as long as it is open.

Tip #4: Use online and other tools to find hidden postings.

Some job postings are not laid out in black and white for all and sundry to see. In many instances, the jobseeker has to dig deeper and look beneath the surface for these hidden postings. Fortunately, there are some tools and methods that may be employed in order to find such postings.

An example is the use of advanced search operators. These search operators provide results that are more targeted than a simple keyword search on Google will give you.

Using Google Alerts is also one way of getting notified about job opportunities. Tweak your settings so that you will receive regular email notifications about events and other significant news about employment opportunities in your area or industry.

Of late, apps have become very helpful in practically anything and everything and, yes, they have also become very useful in aiding job searches. Here are some of the best job search apps out there:

  • SWITCH – One good thing about this app is how it connects employers and jobseekers in minutes, seconds even! Jobseekers will only have to go through the list of jobs, swiping on the ones they like, and wait for the app to match them. Once they are matched, they can connect with the hiring managers instantly, thanks to the online chat feature of the app.
  • JobR – This mobile job search app gives jobseekers access to mobile listings of job openings. They choose the openings they are interested in, and send in their Resume, and the app will connect them with the hiring manager or employer.

Watch this interesting talk by Laura.

 

Tip #5: Utilize “Advanced” search to its fullest.

You see a search bar, you type in a phrase describing the job you are looking for, and click “Search”. The page refreshes to let you know that there are no results or matches found.

Then you give up, and do another search.

Wait, you’re not looking hard enough. Maybe there is an “Advanced Search” facility in there somewhere. Do you see it? You do? Then use it.

Conducting advanced job searches may get you the results that a surface search cannot. In these advanced job searches, you may be asked for more job search criteria, including fields such as keywords, locations, job family or industry, nature of the job (part-time or full-time), and even the time of posting. By using these advanced search criteria, you might find job openings that you have missed the first time around.

Tip #6: Make social media work for you.

Social media platforms have grown in recent years. Primarily developed to connect people through the internet, they now serve many uses, and that includes being an avenue for locating job postings.

Many companies now include job postings and other recruitment-related activities in their social media account, and many jobseekers are doing the same, conducting their active job hunt through their own social media pages. Some of the most commonly used social media platforms for job hunts are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The social network LinkedIn is exclusively devoted to matters on career development, which is why this is a good place to find news about employment opportunities. Create a LinkedIn account today, and maintain it by updating your profile with your skills, qualifications and contact information. Think of this as an online resume, where you will also get to have potential employers find you.

In Twitter, for example, if you already have an account, you can get started by using the Follow button to follow people in your field or industry, and in the organizations that you would like to work for. These people are likely to tweet about job openings in their organizations once they come up, and following them ensures that you will be one of those people who will find out about it the moment they make the announcement.

It is the same thing in Facebook. Companies and their employees have their own pages that you can follow, so that any posts or updates they make will appear on your timeline. You will receive a notification about any announcement they make regarding job openings.

Hashtags are also becoming more useful in job searches. Some of the most popular hashtags that you can utilize in social media platforms (and in the worldwide web, in general) that can help you find job openings are #Hiring, #NowHiring, #Jobs, #JopOpening, and #JobPosting, among others. They may even be industry-specific, such as #ITJobs, #Marketing, and #Freelance.

But it doesn’t stop there. Just because you followed all the right people does not mean that the opportunities will immediately present themselves. You also have to be active. Share or retweet any advice, words of wisdom, quotes, news and other information that are relevant to the industry you are in, or the industry you want to be in.

Make some friends. Let them get to know you better. This way, when they have insider info on job openings, you will be one of the first that will come to their mind. They may even make personalized tweets or messages to you about the job openings.

Tip #7: Do not rely entirely on one method; mix them up.

Jobseekers think that they have done all they could once they have submitted or uploaded their resumes on the job boards or career website, and now all they have to do is wait for employers to find their resumes and call them up.

Just posting your resume on a number of job boards does not mean that the employers will be falling all over themselves to contact you. Besides, it is you, the jobseeker, who will go to them, and not the other way around. (It may be a different story if the candidate has such excellent and topnotch credentials companies will be racing to get to him first)

Mix up your job search methods. Post your resume on online job boards. Browse through company websites and email them your resume. Continue networking with other key people in the industry you want to belong to.

Consider how companies do not use only one method of announcing job openings in their ranks. Aside from making a job posting in the company website, it may also pay the local newspaper to run their job ad for five straight days or even weeks. It may also encourage its current employees to refer individuals they deem would be a great fit to the position. They are mixing things up in their employee search, so you should also do the same.

Tip #8: Learn the art of “follow-up”.

Many applicants fail to follow up with the employer after they have submitted their application letter and resume. They assume that, after a couple of weeks of silence, they did not make the cut, and they should simply move on and apply somewhere else.

Newsflash: this may be a test. Some companies may give you points for following up with them within a designated period from submission of your application. Failing to do so may signify that you are not really interested in the job opening.

One reason why many jobseekers do not follow up is because they are afraid it may make them appear too eager or, worse, aggressive. It is all in the delivery. Conducting the follow up in a professional manner will help in avoiding the employer from having that impression of you.

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