The Best Jobs Are Unadvertised. Here’s How to Find Them

Guest ColumnWe all know it – looking for a job is rough. Hopelessly sending out resume after resume, usually getting no response at all. And if you’re hoping to break out of your current field or find a higher-level position than you’ve had before? Forget about it.

So how do you convince a perfect stranger that they need to hire you, when you can’t even get them to pick up the phone and ask you in for an interview?

The answer is simple: They can’t be a perfect stranger.

There’s a widespread misconception out there that the only way to find a job is to see a posting, send in your application, and wait for the phone to ring. The fact is that most of positions aren’t advertised, and more than two-thirds of new jobs go to people who have inside information and influence.

Your networks – your personal and professional relationships – are they keys to finding your next dream job. Here’s how you can make them work for you:

  • Coffee, Happy Hour, Repeat

: When you’re ready to look for a new position, make it known. Make a list of contacts you have at companies you’re interested in working for and then reach out. Having an “inside man” at a business means hearing about openings, restructurings, and opportunities for you to get your foot in the door before anybody else.

 Grabbing a drink or lunch with a peer gives you a low-stakes forum for starting the conversation and keeping you on their mind. Keep it light, but be direct.
  • Seek Opportunity Anywhere: 

Your neighbor, your aunt, your best friend’s roommate. Even if you don’t have a professional connection with a person, or only have mutual acquaintances with them, don’t count them out. Let people know you’re looking for a job and look out for leads in daily conversation. You never know who you might find out has a connection to a big shot at your dream company.
  • Don’t Assume: 

What’s your thing? When your friend takes your resume to their boss, hiring manager, or CEO, what are they going to say about you? Make sure you know, and make sure it’s accurate.

 Don’t assume your contact knows everything you want them to. Give them the bullet points, along with any special achievements, ambitions, or skills you have to offer, so they can make the most of their recommendation.
  • Use The Social Network: 

Lots of job-seekers underestimate the value of social media when they’re looking for a job. Having an online presence is absolutely essential for being seen by recruiters and potential interviewers. LinkedIn is a vital tool for job seekers so that you – and all their professional information – can be found when a recruiter checks in. 

Not only is preparing your own online presence key, but following the social media of your desired employers is a helpful practice as well. Follow that big-name company’s Twitter account to find out what they think is important day-to-day. Subscribe to that executive’s blog to find out the vocabulary used in their organization. That way when you meet that friend-of-a-friend who works there, you already sound like you fit right in.

Take your job search out of the passive resume-submission mode, and plug into your active network. Chances are, there’s a link to a job you want already humming within your circle of contacts, and all you have to do is make the effort to find it. And make sure that you are diligent in seeking out these connections but also making an effort to give good first impressions to those your meet.

Introverts though many of us engineers may be, they key to your next great job is reaching out to people who already know how great you are. Let them open the door for you, then step inside and impress.

Kate Matsudaira Kate Matsudaira has worked as the VP Engineering/CTO at several technology startups, including her current role at Decide and past roles at SEOmoz and Delve Networks.  Before joining the startup world she was a software engineer and technical lead/manager at Amazon and Microsoft. She has hands-on knowledge and experience with building large scale distributed Web systems, Big Data, cloud computing and technical leadership — and has conducted over 600 interviews in the last five years.  She maintains a blog at http://katemats.com and also helps curate the Technical Leadership Newsletter http://www.techleadershipnews.com

Image: Bigstock

Comments

  1. BY Jimmy Lozano says:

    “”Your networks – your personal and professional relationships – are they keys to finding your next dream job.””

    “”Let people know you’re looking for a job and look out for leads in daily conversation. “”

    “” they key to your next great job is reaching out to people who already know how great you are.””

    Following those 3 sentences:
    So…
    If I don’t know the people who are in the same LEVEL of KNOWLEDGE, How can I find the correct LEVEL JOB that I’m looking for ???
    If I want to meet those kind the people, HOW MUCH MONEY and TIME I need spend to find the correct persons ???
    If I don’t have a Job… OBVIOUSLY I don’t have the money to do that.

  2. BY Chris says:

    Thanks for the great article! Often times, people assume that the only jobs out there are the ones advertised- when this simply is not true. In fact, many positions are filled through internal referrals, and even more through staffing agencies. Maximizing your efforts into all avenues is critical in job search success (especially in person events).

    To address the issues posed by Larry above, there are plenty of means to find the proper professionals to boost your career (and many of them are free). Sure, you will have to spend some time and brush up on your networking skills, but looking for a job is now your full time job- so you should definitely have the time.

    There are a number of great local area meet-ups all across the country. From very niche professional discussions, to general job fair/industry networking events, you can definitely find the right crowd (both in level and knowledge). The fact is, in person relationships maintained through strong online contact is your best bet in finding work. You cannot expect to email your resume to 1000 employers and have 1000 interviews the next week. Like the saying goes, it is not always what you know, but who you know.

  3. BY Jimmy Lozano says:

    “” In fact, many positions are filled through internal referrals, and even more through staffing agencies.””
    “”The fact is, in person relationships maintained through strong online contact is your best bet in finding work.””
    “” it is not always what you know, but who you know. “”
    So…
    Practically you are saying that: IF I DON’T HAVE FRIENDS i will not have the correct job or specific job that i’m looking for.
    I’m totally DISAGREE with those statements, cause you are saying it’s more important to get friends than the KNOWLEDGE that i have to develop the work.
    It’s very clear for me that the people who follow and believes on those statements are doing the WRONG JOB with the INCORRECT SALARIES. (in all points that you can see it).

  4. BY Steve Tabler says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with the article.

    I can’t think of anything sadder than a large number of unemployed people meeting regularly to discuss the poor state of affairs of the job market, and just feeding on each others inability to get hired.

    • BY Jimmy Lozano says:

      two words for this comment:

      totally true…

      TOTALLY TRUE…

  5. BY Giovanni says:

    Thanks for the article. This confirms my experience completely, where every job I got except one was because I knew someone personally. However, this time around I have to more actively than ever before seek out and tap into my networks which puts me out of my comfort zone. This article helps me put the focus in the right place. Thanks!

    • BY Jimmy Lozano says:

      Seriously….!!!

      Giovanni, Please can you re-write your comments, because YOU ARE NOT HELPING this article at all.

      “” where every job I got except one was because I knew someone personally “”

      “” seek out and tap into my networks which puts me out of my comfort zone. “”

      at least, can you explain “most clearly” how this article “puts you” in the right place ??

      • BY Mark Feffer says:

        It seems pretty clear to me what he’s saying: In the past, he gotten his jobs through networking with people he knew, but today he has to be more aggressive in meeting new people and connecting with folks he already knows — and that’s not easy for him. It’s a common situation for people. Some of us don’t mind networking, but we don’t want to overtly promote ourselves.

  6. BY mila says:

    Well this just further proves how diversity gets locked out of corporations. Good ole “white boy’ network at its finest. And to think that affirmative action plans arent necessary is asinine.

  7. BY Jimmy Lozano says:

    Seriously… Mr. Feffer

    “” Some of us don’t mind networking, but we don’t want to overtly promote ourselves.””

    I hope you’re trying to said that ME or other persons we’re thinking like this.
    because if your thinking like is this (cause you are saying it), this article has many issues to be a GOOD article.

    By the way…

    “” It seems pretty clear to me what he’s saying: “”

    Be careful with this “kind of answer” in the comments from other persons, because seems like: you are trying to answer for HIM instead to read the REAL THOUGHT of this guy.
    but, If you are FRIEND of Mr. Giovanni… then EVERYTHING CHANGE, because the comments from him HAVE NOT credibility and validity to be correct as well as YOUR article (particularly this one).

  8. BY bill p says:

    It’s back to the days when us who would prefer not to, are forced to actively market ourselves.

    Not in the distant past, it took a glance at a req, an email, and then an acceptance.

    Post-college, i was forced to find the managers in the departments within the companies I wished to work for, and convince them to hear me out … What’s old is new again.

    • BY Jimmy Lozano says:

      “” Post-college, i was forced to find the managers in the departments within the companies I wished to work for, and convince them to hear me out … What’s old is new again. “”

      totally true

      TOTALLY TRUE

      • BY James Griffin says:

        I agree “MILA” if employees are hired by who they know and not what they know highly educated and skilled African Americans will be locked out of the IT market, due to structural in-equality.

  9. BY Jimmy Lozano says:

    GOOD POINT

    James Griffin

    I didn’t realize about this…

    GOOD POINT

  10. BY Plinko says:

    These requests for us to constantly network are thinly-veiled ways for us to promote those that want attention. I agree that I’m not going to fake friend every human I see. I just don’t have the fortitude to keep up our fake friendships.

    I’ve noticed something – there are two types of business acquisition methods, you either suck up and do the golfing partner / let me take you to dinner schmooze or you offer a superior product with the knowledge to identify it and remark on its glorious parts. Those that solicit business through the good old boys club are dying out, thank goodness.

    In job hunting we run into the same types of people. People that think that WHO you know matters more than WHAT you know.

    I don’t care how personable you are or how much you can make others affectionate to you – when you are bad at your job and only lightly trained, you can “like” and “subscribe” to everything. You had better too because you have no accomplishments to carry around with you so you can e-stalk and schmooze but it won’t work forever. Start ups with happy, peppy, people person hipsters are hot now but let’s see them in 10 years.

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