6 Ways to Find a Job Beyond the Painful Boards

most job boards don't help you find work

Not hearing back from letters sent to posts on job boards?

Not getting a bite from all those resumes you send out? If you manage your time so that job boards consume no more than 10% of your effort, then you shouldn’t feel bad. It ain’t necessarily so that your resume isn’t titillating or your cover note not tailored. More often, it is simply the numbers working against you. The one time I received an email informing that I was not among the finalists in a candidate pool of 1,200, was enough for me to graduate from Pimp Your CareerBuilder.com.

The holy grail is to uncover job prospects before they hit the public billboard of cyberspace. This could become many posts (or an entire webinar), but let me point you in the right direction in three minutes’ time. Check out the following:

  1. Alumni office of your college or graduate school may have a listserve as part of their career management tools. Jobs are circulated within those email groups, so get yourself on the subscription lists that align with the kind of job you seek, your industry and geographical location. For example, the Columbia Business School alumni network is particularly terrific.
  2. Explore The Lead 411, which acts as a business news clipping service. It is both a no-cost (free trial for 3 days) and low-cost way ($40/month on a strictly month-to-month basis) to learn which companies are making personnel changes as soon as they are announced. Run a search of businesses’ hiring plans in the last week. The Lead411 also covers announcements of new locations that a firm is moving into, and new contracts signed.
  3. Go to Meetups, conferences, seminars, and other physical events. I once attended a SEMPO Meetup in NYC where prior to the first speaker, they asked for a roll call of companies (among audience members) that were hiring. The white board was marked with 20 firms before the discussion was shut down. Similarly, having enjoyed an informative presentation by the CEO of Likeable Media, Dave Kerpen, at the Harvard Club of NYC, I found postings for new jobs there, on Mashable, two days later. That was a no brainer – anyone in the audience could have gleaned that Likeable Media was ready to widen the tent.

Now, the harder part comes, be forewarned. Some sources demand much more work from you than just perusing an email or getting out of your cave. You may be required to use conceptual skills and higher-level thinking to see the promised land. But these kinds of sources are also more potent:

  1. Venture capital (VC) investment across the US translates to hiring. In particular, sleuth the websites of the biggest VC enterprises. Delve into the companies that comprise their portfolio. The more you explore and learn about these early stage investments, the more lucid you will be in spotting opportunity. The Money Tree™ Report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers is also an excellent source for quarterly VC funding and can be segmented by industry or region. When I was sniffing around for jobs in the food and beverage industry, I researched the VC fund Maveron, backed by the founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. They were investing in Pinkberry, a new yogurt-based chain. This tip enabled me to reach out to my local franchisor, quickly, to offer marketing assistance.
  2. The Inc. 500 or 5000 lists companies that rate as the fastest-growing. These lists can be searched by region or by industry to pinpoint your best targets. Such lists are fairly ubiquitous. I recently saw New York’s top 100 tech talents to watch, published online by Business Insider SAI. For every rising star, there is point at which they need additional bodies.
  3. Track the firms that win people’s choice awards whether that is in crowdsourced contests or at trade shows or award venues. Those that are popular among discerning peers will often gain traction for further investment. For example, Wildfire Interactive won $25,000 in seed money from fbFund of Facebook in October of 2008. They have continued to grow, add heavy-weight clients and staff ever since. They also happen to be hiring, as you can see on their website.

Lastly, while you are “seizing the day” using these new sources, don’t ignore your daily press briefing. While you are not Obama and you probably don’t have a team bringing in the latest news at 7am, you still have to follow market intelligence sources every day. You should know five crucial industry sources off the top of your head. Read them daily for mention of new players or new products.

If you have found useful (or unconventional) ways to uncover job leads, write in the discussion below and share your experience!

Mojo Moves

  • Spend at least an hour searching online along the lines detailed above, until you have enough confidence to envision a need with a corresponding job description
  • Research who is the right contact, compose and send out one quality letter of inquiry to that person
  • Simultaneous to this, start looking for another person at that firm or connected to that firm, who can bring attention to your letter

Photo courtesy Creative Commons, Penguinsix

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  • http://www.andysimprovabilities.com andy wainer

    Great and helpful info – I might add that job seekers should register with their state Dept. of Labor One Stop Career Center as well for free counseling, advice, workshops, use of computers, etc.

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