To Land a Job, Go Beyond the Listings

To a land a job, take charge. Don’t rely on job listings. They’ll break your heart. It’s the advice I regularly give my clients. And I only wish during my job-hunting phase, someone would’ve given that advice to me. Here’s why –  

Depending on Job listings is Too Passive an Approach

While I was looking for work, I conscientiously subscribed to multiple online listing sites. Each morning, my spirits would rise or fall depending on whether there was a suitable job to apply for. On days with no appropriate jobs, I had nothing to do. I remember a 2-week period when I decided to try a new approach and challenged myself to submit one job application a day, even if it wasn’t a fit. I got good at quickly tweaking cover letters and resumes, and submitting them online. But despite a huge amount of effort during my entire time of responding to cold listings, I barely got a response. And along the way, it drained my energy and self respect. To land a job, be enterprising. Here’s what to do instead –


Get ahead of the listings by building relationships with potential employees before a job is even posted. And the way you start doing that is to take a moment to dream. Ask yourself these questions. Where would you love to work? What companies could benefit by hiring someone with your skills and experience?

Make a list of at least 10 organizations. Then, thoroughly research them on Linkedin and Google. Are there any employees who cross reference with your network? If yes, reach out and connect, even it has been awhile since you’ve been in touch. Let them know you’re looking for work, and that you’re passionate about the company. If there’s no one inside the organization that you know, investigate key people who seem to be doing work related to your professional background. Learn what you can about the hiring manager. Do you share any common interests? To what membership associations do they belong? Send a friendly email to try and get a brief meeting. For help writing a cold email, click here.

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Make Sparks Fly

In addition to connecting with organizations for whom you’d like to work, make it a weekly goal to reach out to at least 3 to 5 people (beyond your tight circle of friends) to let them know about your career aspirations. If your aspirations are still fuzzy, that’s okay. Sharing your story with others can bring new ideas into focus. My journey to become a career coach got sparked exactly that way, during a “share my story” lunch with an acquaintance.

The One Way Listings Work

You don’t need to ditch job listings entirely. But if you notice a job that’s really matches your skills and experience, find an inside track. Do your Linkedin research to learn who in your network works there. Ask everyone you know if they have a connection. Be fearless, and get in touch.

To Land a Job, Persist

One of the most important requirements to land a job is to keep at it. I know the process can feel discouraging. When no one is saying yes, it’s hard to maintain momentum. But here’s where you get to be the boss. Set your own achievable and measurable weekly goals (e.g. reaching out to 3-5 new people), so once you’ve checked those off your list, you can feel a sense of accomplishment. If you’d like help with a personalized action plan to land a job, please get in touch and let’s have a conversation.

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