How to make a career transition without job boards

When you kick off that search for your next career opportunity, it’s natural to sift through the lists of open positions on job sites such as Indeed, LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. While this is one way to approach a search, there are several pitfalls for those who exclusively rely on this method:

  • Job postings might be outdated: Organizations often don’t remove postings or update job boards. You could be applying for a position that’s already been filled or canceled.
  • Listings may be misleading: When you search for a specific role on job boards, chances are you’ll come across listings which don’t match what you’re seeking. You end up spending more time struggling with search algorithms than finding opportunities.
  • You’re competing against a large talent pool: Hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of people are viewing and applying for these same opportunities, making it more difficult to set yourself apart.
  • Automation in the organization’s hiring process may work against you: When there’s a high volume of applicants for one position, especially within a larger organization, you’re up against automation processes which “read” applications, résumés and cover letters in search of specific keywords. If your application doesn’t make the cut, there’s a good chance a bot determined you weren’t right for the role.

If you’re not reaping rewards from looking at job boards and applying to listings there, it’s time to try different strategies to improve your career quest. Here are four practices you can implement to expand your opportunities:Find companies you’d be interested in working for within your area

Start with your community. Whether you’re moving or planning to stay in the same place, do some research on organizations in the area. Check out small businesses, nonprofit organizations, corporations, public and private universities … don’t overlook anything! When exploring these organizations’ websites and social media channels, can you see yourself working there? Dig deeper into individual departments and take note of the potential value you’d add.

If you identify an organization that clicks, find someone there to talk with about your interest; the goal is to find a professional who makes decisions about hiring. Finding this person can be tricky because organizations might not list that her as a hiring authority to avoid an influx of emails – or perhaps the titles there don’t point in a specific direction. If you can’t find a hiring authority, cold-call the organization.

Make cold calls to organizations

Cold-calling might seem scary, but this is a great strategy when searching for a job. It shows the organization of interest that you’re willing to take the initiative. You’ll likely get an answer right away about any prospective openings. When you call an organization, you might hear a panel of options and may not be sure which number to dial. In this case, listen for Human Resources or the department in which you’re interested. You might also reach a receptionist who likely is willing to transfer your call to the appropriate department.

Whether you reach a panel of options or a receptionist, know what you’re going to say. Introduce yourself; describe how you found out about the organization; and express your interest in potentially working for them. When introducing yourself, go beyond just dropping your first name; give them details. If you’re new to the job scene entirely, mention that you’d like an opportunity to gain some experience. If you’re a recent graduate looking for a part-time or full-time opportunity, put in a plug for your college, academic program and budding career interests. If you’re a seasoned professional, bring up your recent opportunities and describe how you can help that specific organization.

If the organization doesn’t have any roles available, ask if there’s a way to stay connected by subscribing to job notifications, asking for a hiring authority’s email or phone number, and following the organization through social media. The goal is to keep them on your radar in case relevant positions open.

Take note of the person you talked with and write down their name(s) and title(s). This information will make it easier to introduce yourself to a new person or reintroduce yourself when you check back in with the organization.

Contact hiring authorities directly

Whether you’ve found a leader through your research or received her contact info when cold-calling her organization, take the next step and reach out to them to talk about open roles there. Keep in mind: This message might need to be formatted differently, depending on the channel you’re using.

If you have a phone number for a hiring authority: Call and introduce yourself (in real time or in a voicemail); briefly describe your background; provide context; and express interest. Let the conversation play out and set up next steps or ask how to stay connected.caree

If you have an email address for a hiring authority: Provide the same info above and aim to keep it short. Include your résumé for review by attaching it to your email. If you can access her LinkedIn profile, invite her to connect and be sure to include a message as you do … just beware of the 200-character limitation for InMail messaging. Here’s a template you can follow:

Hi, [name of hiring authority]:

I hope you’re doing well. My name is [first name] and I’m actively seeking career opportunities in [your location / planned location]. [Brief background and reason for contacting]. If you have time in the coming days, I’d love to chat about how I can help you and your organization!

Best,

[your name]

Tap into the hidden job market by using your network

When you’re seeking a new career opportunity, tell your network! It can include colleagues from previous workplaces, friends, family and even family friends. Tap into your network for advice on applying and securing a job as well as help with your résumé and cover letter. Ask your network for leads: Are there openings where they work? Do they know of organizations that are hiring? Would they be willing to share your résumé or recommend you? Could they provide you with any updates or word of developments? Asking these questions can help you improve your chances of finding and ultimately landing a right-fit opportunity.

These four practices can help change the results of your job search and discover more opportunities than you thought existed. If you’re feeling discouraged about your job search or find that looking at job boards isn’t helpful, we hope that these strategies can prove useful. Best of luck!

by Charles Aris Inc.

Career, charles aris, Executive Search, InterSearch

How to make a career transition without job boards

5 min

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