There are few things in life that are more frustrating than trying to take control of your career and making no progress. If you’ve been searching all the job boards out there for a new job and just can’t find anything that ticks all the boxes for you, your situation can start to feel hopeless. But before you throw your laptop at the wall, we’ve got some good news for you: there are a lot of job sources you’re probably overlooking. And because they’re lesser-known, they’re also less competitive. Interested? Then grab a pen and get ready to take some notes. Here are the five best places to find a new job without using a job board.
Ok, so LinkedIn is the social media platform for job seekers, but we’re pretty sure you’ve already checked out its job board and updated your profile so recruiters know you’re looking for a job. With that done, Twitter is the next social media site you need to get obsessed with. It may be best known for fast-moving news and celebrity rants but, believe it or not, Twitter can also be a gold-mine for jobs.
Tap into its power by following company accounts in your desired career field and also senior staff members in those companies. You’ll soon find that both companies and their employees tweet about new jobs as they become available. They also tweet about last-minute jobs that need to be filled urgently. This is in addition to the plethora of recruitment agencies and job sites that tweet out their jobs on a daily basis. In short, you can easily find out about most advertised and non-advertised jobs just by creating a Twitter list that consists of all of the companies, employees, recruitment agencies and job sites you’re interested in.
But don’t forget about hashtags. Get to know those that are used for tweets about jobs in your desired career field. For example, #journojobs is used to highlight posts about journalism jobs, #prjobs for public relations jobs, #tvjobs for jobs in TV… we think you get the idea.
Going to a company’s website and searching their career page for a job may seem obvious, yet the majority of job seekers rarely do this, preferring instead to trawl job board after job board for that perfect opening. If you’ve search Monster Jobs or Indeed so many times that you’re losing the will to live, it’s time to back away from the generic job boards and get more specific. Narrow down the exact companies you’d like to work for and go and search their career pages.
If you’re new to a field and don’t know the names of many companies, social media can really help you here. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter providing suggestions of similar accounts to follow after you’ve followed a specific company, use this feature to discover who else exists in your career field. Once you’ve compiled a list of potential employers, visit their websites and look at their ‘careers’, ‘work for us’ or ‘opportunities’ pages. It’s simple but surprisingly effective.
Being within the four walls of a company is one of the most effective ways of finding out about the 85 percent of jobs that research published by LinkedIn suggests the general public never hears about. An effective way of discovering upcoming openings at companies you’re interested in working at – especially for career changers – is by contacting HR teams or senior management figures to discuss shadowing, work experience or volunteering opportunities. We’ve done this ourselves and while it sounds like it shouldn’t work, it really does if you’re a career change, BUT there’s an art to doing this successfully.
Step one: Check the company’s careers page. If they readily take on volunteers or offer job shadowing, this is the page on which they’ll state so, along with information about how to apply. If the company’s careers page doesn’t mention volunteering, shadowing or work experience opportunities, a Google or LinkedIn search is all you need to do to find out the person who would be your line manager if you got your dream job with that company.
Step two: Email the person in question for a ‘coffee’ or ‘chat’ and be sure to state that you’re aware of their extensive experience in the field, and you’d love to find out more about their job and get some advice from them.
Step three: Meet them for the coffee or chat, but make sure you don’t actually ask for work experience, shadowing or anything else (you just met them and they owe you nothing!). Instead, use the opportunity to work out the lay of the land in the company and how likely they are to let non-employees shadow employees.
Step four: Follow up with email that thanks them for their time and wise words. It’s at this point you can ask them to let you know if any opportunities to see how things work in the company come up.
Step five: If you’ve buttered them up sufficiently, you’ll probably get invited for an informal job shadowing experience or have your name passed on for a more formal work experience placement. Regardless of how you get your foot in the door, use the opportunity to find out how things work in the company. Speak to the person doing the job you want to do and find out how they got in there. Grab email addresses where appropriate and follow up with those people. Finally, don’t forget to make your intentions clear. If you’ve come in to ‘see how things work’ that doesn’t send a clear message to HR or senior management that you’d like to be considered for upcoming roles, so be sure to mention this when you follow up to thank the company for letting you come in.
While volunteering and shadowing allow you to make new contacts, don’t overlook the power of your existing contacts when searching for a new job. That’s why it’s so important to check in with people you meet at networking events at least three times a year. Doing this nurtures the relationship and keeps you at the forefront of their mind, so when an opportunity that’s a good fit for your skills and experience comes up, your contacts are more likely to remember you and feel confident enough in your skills to put you forward. Of course, they aren’t psychic, so it’s important for you to make it clear that you’re ‘very open to any exciting new opportunities’ – code for desperately looking for a job.
It also goes without saying that a key part of relying on your network is building a solid network in the first place. This means that if you’re actively looking to change jobs or careers, you really need to go to as many networking events as possible and meet new people in your chosen field regularly. But always remember that you’re not at a networking event to ask strangers for favours, you’re there to meet people and make connections that you can then nurture when the event is over.
These may be insanely boring to read, but they’re a great way of finding out positions that are about to become vacant within your industry. Why? Because departures and promotions are usually announced in these newsletters. Trade journals and magazines often round up industry news as well, so it may be worth regularly checking the news sections of the websites of relevant trade publications to keep up to date with upcoming job vacancies in your career field.
Did we miss any great lesser-known sources of jobs? Let us know your favourites in the comments below.
Stay in Touch
Get weekly career advice, tips and resources direct to your inbox. You’ll also be the first to find out about new job opportunities for career changers in the UK.