If you’re thinking the only way to land a well-paying, stable job is only through applying to job boards—think again. That’s only one piece of the job search pie! Sure, there are many great boards out there, but it won’t give you the best chance to show how amazing you are at what you do!

Why applying only to job boards isn’t your best strategy

  •  Competition city. Applicants from all over are inundating recruiters’ inboxes, and a lot of the time, you will get missed and lose out on the opportunity. This doesn’t speak to you as an employee or human but means there are THAT many resumes floating around that it becomes a number game.
  • Limited selection. Often, the jobs posted aren’t the only ones available with those particular companies or recruiters. Just because that’s what they’ve posted at that moment doesn’t mean there isn’t another opportunity right around the corner. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find more openings!
  • Stale ads. You’ll find that sometimes, certain job ads get forgotten about by a company and are left active when they’re not recruiting. In this case, some recruiters won’t get around to thoroughly screening each resume that comes in, and it gets lost in the ‘never gonna get to it’ pile.

There are better ways to stand out in today’s market. Here are some of the ways you can think outside of the box when looking for your next dream role:

Tip 1: Reach out on LinkedIn

You would benefit more from spending your time scoping out the job possibilities on LinkedIn rather than job boards. Why? It’s where recruiters are most active trying to find qualified candidates for their roles, and you have a better chance of reaching a real person instead of a bot. A few things that will help boost your chances on LinkedIn:

  • Make sure you optimise your profile and update your skillset with relevant experience. Doing this helps recruiters get a better idea about you and what you can bring to the table.
  • Use the right keywords for the jobs you’re looking for—it’ll be easier to find you!
  • Don’t be afraid to connect and send a quick message to potential recruiters of your dream company (if you have the skillset they’re looking for and you believe you’d be a great fit!)

BONUS TIP: How to craft convincing communication

  • Be clear. Firstly, figure out exactly what it is you want out of this interaction. Is it a job? Advice? A connection for future opportunities? Next, convey that to the person you’re contacting. Ask for one thing and mention why you have decided to reach out to them specifically. Did you like the sound of the advertisement? Is it your dream company? Did a mutual connection recommend you get in touch? Clarity is key!
  • You can’t beat short & sweet. Someone is more likely to reply if the message isn’t longwinded and sales-y (nothing worse than a pushy message!) Break up your paragraphs and get to the point without being aggressive.
  • Personalise your message. Make sure you do not just copy and paste from person to person. You’ll look unprofessional when you call Bruce ‘Jackie,’ and then you definitely WON’T get the response you wanted.

Directly reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers can be highly effective. Most companies are looking for the right person to jump into their inbox and save them the time of sifting through unqualified candidates.

Tip 2: Reach out to your existing network

Think family, friends, ex-colleagues and bosses (if you’re on good terms). This can be a great way to get a lead on potential opportunities coming up. A few tips so that you can get the most out of these interactions:

  • Approach the catch up with genuine intentions, and don’t go straight into asking for a job as it will seem insincere. Even if this is someone you get along with, it could deter them from cluing you in on any positions they know about. Make it a real conversation rather than only about what could benefit you.
  • Ask them to introduce you to those in their network that could be a good fit for you. The introduction can be by email or at a networking function.
  • Thank them for helping you out, and if there is any way you’re able to return the favour professionally, make sure you keep them in mind down the track.

Tip 3: Networking events

Although there are currently some restrictions, you will find virtual business meetups if there aren’t many happening in person. These are an excellent way to strengthen your business connections and put yourself out there (without having to hide behind a computer screen, hoping someone calls you).

Benefits of networking events:

  • Build your confidence. The more you practice your elevator pitch and interact with like-minded business people, the better you’ll get at showing why you’re the best person for the job.
  • Strengthen relationships. When you attend these events regularly, you’ll get to know some great people that you can learn from. You’ll also be able to share your industry secrets and knowledge and build your authority within your field. Remember, networking is all about sharing and not just take, take, take! Showing up at these events also helps you raise your profile and become front of mind when opportunities arise.
  • Access to a broader range of opportunities. Within these events, you’ll meet people from all walks of life and businesses. You’ll find out firsthand what’s available before they even think about advertising. It’s also an excellent way to sus out opportunities you wouldn’t have believed you wanted previously and find a job you love (Bonus!)

You’ve landed a meeting with the hiring manager; now what?

Well done, you’ve made connections and impressed the right people! Now, you’ve secured yourself a coffee catch up or meeting with the decision-makers, and you might be a little lost on what to do next. Here’s a few things that will help:

  • Breathe. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous but remember that this person wants to meet with you because you’re potentially someone that could be a perfect fit for what they have to offer. You got this!
  • Have your opening line ready. You can say something like… “I was so happy to hear this position has opened up! I feel that it aligns well with my qualifications and expertise.” (Next, let them explain why they decided to have a chat with you and what they’re looking for and proceed to explain why you’re the right fit for the role.)
  •  Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about company culture, salary, and when you should expect to find out if you’ve been successful or not.
  •  Be yourself. Above all else, it’s okay to let your personality shine through. The meeting doesn’t have to be so clinical and formal. This person will be looking to see if you’re someone that will fit the company culture. People want to work with people with like; it’s a fact. Be polite, show up with a great attitude, and you’ll be just fine!

There are several ways to get the job you’ve always wanted without having to rely on job boards. Sometimes, you may have to step out of your comfort zone and go out of your way to make things happen—but I promise it’s worth it!

Happy career hunting!

Pam Foster is a former hiring manager ready to help you land your dream career. She shares job search strategy insights with one simple goal – to help you stand out, captivate and impact hiring managers.