Your job hunting field guide
Trying to land the right job? Learn how to create a search strategy that covers all your bases.
Gunning for a new job? Implementing a diverse job hunting strategy can help you land a plum position at a great employer—pronto. Here are seven smart tactics you can use to track down awesome opportunities.
Contact professional organizations in your field
Every major industry has trade groups that offer professionals training and networking events. “Some even have job boards that are accessible only to members,” says Lea McLeod, a New York City-based job search coach.
To find professional associations in your field, go to DirectoryofAssociations.com, suggests Amanda Augustine, a career coach and resume expert at New York City–based TopResume. The site provides a database of more than 35,000 local, regional, national, and international associations in a wide range of fields.
Leverage informational interviews
Augustine says informational interviews are “a key component for anyone who is just starting out or is looking to make a career change.” Still, you need to target the right people.
Many executives are too busy to do informational interviews—and less experienced employees at a company can be a tad green when it comes to offering career advice and job search tips. So, try to arrange informational interviews with mid-level managers (employees who have five to 15 years of experience). See if you have a mutual connection who can introduce you, recommends says Jeff Neil, a New York City career coach and author of Informational Interview Handbook: Essential Strategies to Find the Right Career and a Great New Job.
Address the hiring manager in your cover letter
When applying to jobs, your best approach is to tailor your cover letter to the position—and that entails addressing your letter to the hiring manager instead of leading with something generic like, “To whom it may concern.” If the hiring manager’s name isn’t in the job posting, “simply call HR and ask,” McLeod says.
Stand out at job fairs
A job fair is a rare opportunity to have employers come to you instead of you approaching them, and now with the pandemic, many organizations are hosting virtual job fairs. Industry associations, colleges, and regional alumni groups host job fairs throughout the year.
Do your homework to make sure you arrive fully prepared: get a list of participating companies and target the employers interest you; view job openings at each company of interest; and read recent news about the businesses so that you have timely talking points. “Kick off the conversation by showing you’ve done some research on the organization,” McLeod advises.
Tap into your college’s alumni network
Your alma mater’s alumni network can be an invaluable resource for job leads and career advice. Start by contacting your college’s career center to see if they can provide contact information for alums. You can also reach out to your college professors and ask them to introduce you to their former students in your industry, says Geni Harclerode, the director of employer recruitment and engagement at Northwestern University.
Utilize recruiters and headhunters
Think of recruiters and headhunters in your field as your new best friends who can match you with employers and job openings that are a perfect fit for your skills, interests, and values. Moreover, “they know who’s hiring and who’s not, and they have built-in relationships with companies,” says Latesha Byrd, a Charlotte, North Carolina–based professional career coach and consultant.
Pro tip: You don’t you have to wait for recruiters and headhunters to find you. Be proactive and search for them on social media—and be transparent about your job hunting goals. “It’s important to have a clear picture of what kind of job you’re looking for and convey that to the [recruiting] agent,” Byrd says.
Consider taking a temp job
Having trouble finding a full-time gig? Taking a temp job can help get your foot in the door, gain professional experience that will make you more marketable to employers, and pay the bills, says Byrd.
Let Monster pick up some of the slack
No doubt you’re familiar with Monster’s epic board of online jobs, where you can search by job title, city, company, and skills. But did you know Monster can also help bring jobs directly to you? If you haven’t already, join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. The sooner you start job hunting, the sooner you’ll be fielding offers.