But most job seekers should use approaches that match the way that today's best employers identify candidates.
Ever more employers don't bother placing want ads. They know that want ads mainly yield candidates who are actively looking for jobs. Such people, on average, are not the best-quality candidates.
Employers want candidates who are already well-employed but who could, with the right offer, be seduced into making a move. So they troll online discussion groups, the blogosphere, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
So, job seekers, spend less time polishing the format of your resume and tweaking your cover letter, and spend more time on one or more of these. They'll not only help you land a job but help you grow:
- Become a substantive contributor to the most respected online discussion group in your field. If you don't know what it is, find it using the directories at Google Groups or Yahoo Groups.
- Start a blog. Write posts that would impress your target employer. A good video of yourself in action can help, but better to have no video than an unimpressive one. Here's how you can create one, free.
- Join LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Create a profile that would impress your target employer. Again, video can help. Here's a a video tutorial. Get at least 20 on-target people to join your LinkedIn or Facebook network. Also answer questions posed on LinkedIn in categories likely to be trolled by your target employers.
Of course, it's a mistake to spend all your job search time behind a computer. These other activities are most likely to be helpful:
- Create a 15-second pitch: For example, "I'm looking for a project manager-type job, in which I can use my ability to be a liaison between techies and non-techies. I got great evaluations in my previous job, but the company went under in the latest downturn."
- Deliver your 15-second pitch to all your professional and personal network and to potential employers, even when they're not advertising an on-target job.
- Take on a substantive role in your professional association: give a talk at the next meeting, join the program selection committee, etc.
- And yes, answer truly on-target want ads.
The above plan should help you find a job that is right for you, the employer, and, in turn, society.