If you have been in the job search for a while, it is not uncommon to get to what feels like one dead end after another. It can get to the point that you feel you have exhausted all of the opportunities in your area.
This article will explore three ways you can effectively expand your job search to find otherwise unknown opportunities. Don’t give up! Use these techniques to expand your employment search into new terrain:
1) Widen Your Job Title Search
Most of us use online tools such as job search websites to identify potential employment opportunities. Of course, these sites use search algorithms that are only as good as the keywords you use to search their database.
You may have been overly narrow by sticking to one or two job titles that you have held in the past. However, you may find that a similar job title turns up new results you would not have known about otherwise.
Try going broader first. For example, if your current job is “Regional Manager” but you want to find out about similar opportunities for your next job, you can try simply searching for “Manager.” Sure, you will have to sort through more jobs that are not a good fit at all, but you are also very likely to come across job listings that your narrower search terms missed out on.
Another search tool hack is to try out similar job titles to the one you think is an ideal fit. For example, similar search terms for Regional Manager might be: District Manager, Manager of Operations, Branch Manager, Regional Supervisor, District Supervisor, and so on.
Since different companies often use slightly different language for their titles, this can help you find opportunities that you might otherwise miss with a single search term.
2) Explore Other Sectors
If you feel that you have exhausted the potential jobs in your area of industry expertise, it may be worth looking to other sectors to identify opportunities. It is likely that you have strong professional skills that are transferable from one industry to another.
Being open to new sectors allows you to take advantage of industries that may be experiencing more growth and, as a result, have a higher demand for people with your skillset.
For example, perhaps you have 10 years of experience in automobile sales. You have tried to find a position at a car dealership in your area, but no one seems to be hiring. It’s summertime. Why not apply to jobs in boats, vacation rentals, or timeshares?
Sure, you may require some on the job training before you are up and running, but if demand for new employees is high, employers in that sector are likely to be ready to invest in training seasoned salespeople from other sectors.
Another way to approach expanding your sector is to first do some research on which types of industry are experiencing a period of growth in your region. Then, highlight your transferable skills into a new job in that expanding sector.
For example, perhaps your area is opening a new hospital. Although your advertising background is in retail, you may find that your extensive experience promoting brand awareness fits in well with the new hospital’s public relations campaign.
3) Seek Unadvertised Positions
Many people in the job search do not realize that as many as half or more of job positions never even get advertised. If you are only applying for jobs once they have been posted you are missing out on a ton of opportunities to find your dream job. Thus, always keep in mind the importance of networking.
How do you apply to a job that hasn’t been officially announced? Here are some tips:
Rather than searching for positions, turn your research to the employers in your area, large and small, who are likely to have people doing just the kind of work you are best qualified to do. It is fine to start with a large list. The rest of these tips will help you narrow them down and prioritize which companies to approach first.
Find the Right Person
You want to make sure that your inquiry gets into the hands of the person most likely to be directly involved in hiring decisions for the type of position you are most suited for. Generally speaking, this is going to be the person that holds the role leading the department where your ideal job would be. In other cases, employers may have a recruiter or hiring manager who works in Human Resources to identify top talent.
In most cases, you can find information about who to approach using the company website. Another place to check are professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Search the company and terms such as “hiring manager” or “recruiter” to find just the right person.
Identify Common Connections
Check your social networks to look for possible contacts that you may have at any of the companies you have identified. Sometimes you can get a referral to the hiring manager or supervisor through someone you already know. Or, you can mention your common connection in your application materials (talk to them first). This can make a big difference in how your resume and letter of inquiry are received.
If you have contacts at one of the companies on your list, that is a great reason to start with them first. When you start off with an introduction, your efforts are more likely to pay off.
Prepare a Resume and Cover Letter
Even if you can’t tailor your resume and cover letter the same way as you would had you been responding to a job posting, you can still have something ready that you can customize at a moment’s notice should the need arise. It still makes sense to do some research on the corporate culture, overall structure, news worthy events, and press releases.
Your resume should include a summary statement and a skills section at the top to highlight your key qualifications. As for your cover letter, it should end with a call to action initiating further contact in the form of a phone call or in person meeting such as an informational interview to further discuss your qualifications and potential fit for the company.
4) Get Unstuck by Expanding Your Job Search
Expanding your search using new titles, exploring hot sectors, and applying before a position has been announced will help you find new opportunities for work in your area. Remember to stay persistent and keep a positive attitude. Good luck!