Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, April 9, 2015
What a fantastic inquiry. Thanks for sending this!
When I coach job-seekers, I normally tell them that there are really only two ways to land a new position…either you find the opening and apply, or the Recruiter finds you.
Let’s talk about both scenarios:
1) Identifying opportunities and applying to them…
I would really cast a wide net, and do everything possible to locate open positions in your market (or desired market). This means connecting to friends, colleagues, peers, professors, other alumni, and anyone else you can think of on LinkedIn to maximize your reach and your access to openings. Really expand your network aggressively, and even connect to leaders in your industry or field. Ask for advice, as needed, and see if you can pin down a mentor or two. Keep an eye on industry sites, LinkedIn pages, associations’ job boards, company-specific job boards, and other potential avenues where roles might be posted publicly. Don’t limit yourself to the giant sites like Indeed, Careerbuilder, or Monster. Branch out and explore niche job boards, and even Craigslist. Many small or midsize organization may not have the budget to post their open roles on a complex site like Monster or CareerBuilder, and instead they utilize freebie sites (like Craigslist, in some areas). They might also capitalize on pre-existing industry affiliations and related organizations who will carry their postings for a much smaller fee. Register with staffing companies, like Manpower or Experis, too. It’s becoming increasingly common that companies partner with staffing or other talent providers to fill their seats, even for permanent positions. And be sure to explore the Career Services pages for the top colleges in the country, for your major. Find out which universities are best-known in your field, and extensively review their online resources for new grads. You might pick up some more tips, and additional ideas to try. Attend local job fairs or industry events, and get comfortable "telling your story" in person. Volunteer in your community, to build relationships with other working professionals. Expand your pool of contacts, both online, and in the market, in any way that you can.
2) Attracting the attention of a Recruiter, or prospective employer…
Make sure your online “brand” is professional, constant, and well-established. Your profiles on the job boards (e.g. Monster or CareerBuilder) ought to be clear and consistent, and share the same story. Spend time polishing and re-working your resume. Find examples of amazing resumes for others in your field, and examine how they articulate their experience and convey their expertise. Do the same thing with LinkedIn, and identify champions in your field, or just everyday people who have the kind of job you want to secure. Carefully go over their profiles, and pick out any helpful language or key words which may help you get noticed by a recruiter or Hiring Manager. Load as many key words, quantitative information, and power verbs as you possibly can into your resume and your online profiles. Be honest about your abilities, but try to highlight your transferable skills and any experiential learning which might be compelling to a reader. And don’t leave out your unpaid experience, because volunteering or extra-curricular activities can help a great deal!