Most people think job seeking starts and ends with searching through job boards, like Monster, HotJobs, Craigslist and so on.
These boards absolutely have their place, and even boutique boards like Idealist.org, Higheredjobs.com, USAJobs.gov, etc., are essential for the job search. But are these the best places to spend your time while job seeking?
I’ve found that the best jobs with the best companies are often not advertised beyond the company website, and for good reason. Organizations in the most competitive and attractive industries don’t need any extra resumes. In fact, they are inundated with resumes on a constant basis. Jobs that are harder to fill, such as technical specialist jobs, positions is less-desirable geographic locations, positions with some challenges to them like physical risk or constant travel, need more recruiting effort, and are thus more likely to be posted on job boards. Positions that pay a lot, are in desirable locations, or are in prestigious fields tend to get too many applicants.
Many organizations only will post their positions on their own website. After that, they might mention them to friends and connections, but they may specifically ask that they not be forwarded in any mass-communications way (i.e. don’t post on Facebook or Linkedin), and that they only want candidates by referral.
So, one of the keys of job search is to identify your target organizations and make a date once a week to visit their websites. If you are lucky, their website might have an applicant tracking system that allows you to sign up for automatic notifications when jobs are posted. However, many don’t offer this, leaving you to make the constant effort to check their sites.
Ideally you will also reach out and network with people in each of your target organizations to ask for referrals and/or job leads. If and when a job comes up, you will then have a reference name to use in your cover letter. This, by itself, is often enough to land you an interview, presuming you are well-qualified for the job.
If a job has already been posted on a big job board, remember this: “If it’s posted, it’s toasted.”