Question: “Can you describe the process for finding job leads? In other words, where can I find job leads?”
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
This question — in one of several variations with the same meaning — is probably one of the most frequently asked of me. Where are the jobs? Who is hiring? How does one find employers with job openings?
And you know, if you are actively seeking a new job, the answer to this question is pretty darn important. So, where can job-seekers find job leads?
Here are some important sources of job leads for job-seekers:
Your network of contacts. One of the most important activities you can do as a job-seeker is to cultivate, build, and mine your network of family, friends, former co-workers and bosses, colleagues, former teachers, neighbors, and anyone else you know. Your network is simply the people with whom you have a personal or business relationship. Since most of these people work — and know others in their network that also work — they have the inside track to many job leads that never get posted or advertised publicly. Thus, the more people you know, the higher the potential for job leads. Remember to cultivate your network both online (your “social network”) and offline (your traditional network).
Your industry or professional organization. Most industries have at least one trade or professional organization, and some have multiple ones. Many of these organizations now have some form of job-posting board — but don’t stop there. Many also have company news sections — and a company planning a major expansion will also go on a hiring binge. And if the organization has an annual conference, there is most likely some form of interviewing taking place, either formally through the organization or informally.
Your college’s career services and alumni offices. If you’re a college graduate — and you are not taking advantage of one of your greatest sources of job leads — get on it today. Your college’s career services office is not just useful for when you are a student; alumni can use it also. And these offices are plugged into the local business community. And don’t forget the alumni office. Many older alums are in a position to make key hiring decisions — and often have a soft spot for job-seekers who are fellow alumni.
Job and Career Fairs. I never understand the logic of job-seekers who choose not to attend these great networking and job-hunting events. Employers specifically send representatives to career fairs to gather resumes and meet potential job candidates. Keep your eye out for local and virtual job fairs, and whenever possible, attend them and mine the company reps for information about job leads.
Cold Contact/Direct Mail. If you have a specific geographic location — or a specific set of companies you want to work for — then preparing a direct marketing campaign is a great way to tap into the hidden job market, and where all job leads originate. Be sure to get the name of the hiring manager for your area, and write a convincing cover letter showcasing your skills and accomplishments; include a targeted resume. You just never know when your letter will arrive on a day someone is getting promoted, someone resigns, or someone requests a leave of absence.
Of course, there are a number of other sources, including the many, many job boards existing on the Web. For more details on these — and other methods of tracking job leads — read this article: 10 Ways to Develop Job Leads.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor’s Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions — and Dr. Hansen’s solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor’s homepage.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is a nationally recognized career and job-search expert. He is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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