Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sources of Job Leads

In my most recent post, I reiterated the value of job seekers cold-contacting 50 target employers. One of the commenters on that post asked if I might suggest ways of finding job leads. Here are some:
  • Volunteer at a nonprofit. But be picky--many positions and organizations offer too little hope of it generating a decent job. Might you ask to join a board of directors with people with the power to hire you or give you a solid lead for the job to which you aspire? Might you ask to join the program or conference committee in your professional association? Those volunteer opportunities tend to put you working, ongoing, with influential people.
  • Go to the job ad aggregation sites: indeed.com, simplyhired.com, and linkup.com. Simply search for ALL jobs in your geographic target area, even though you're qualified for none. Lesser-known organizations with more than one job listing are likely in growth mode and thus are promising targets for your cold contacting a person there with the power to hire you. (Use the other tools in this article to find them.)
  • ReferenceUSA: 14 million U.S. busineses including four million new ones, where job openings are more likely and less competitive than in established brand-name companies.
  • Google a target employer plus a word or phrase that might elicit the name of the person with the power to hire you, for example, "vice president, marketing." If that doesn't generate contact info, Google as much of this information on a potential lead as possible: name, title, organization, area code, and the word "email."
  • Call the organization's general number. Press zero for the operator. Say, "I'm sending a note to (insert name): what's the best way to send it to him/her?
  • Members of your alma mater's alumni association
  • ThomasNet: Lists 607,000 manufacturers of products and components and 1,000 technical manufacturing White Papers.
  • Hoovers. 65 million companies.
  • Vfinance: Companies that have recently received a round of venture or private equity funding.
  • Business Times: There are 40 local editions, each of which contain information on companies in growth mode, often including the names of contacts associated with that growth.
  • A business librarian at a major public or university library can provide guidance and/or access to databases to which the library subscribes, for example, Gale Directory Library.
  • Your friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and connections on LinkedIn: Its search feature enables you to identify where each of its 140 million members work plus contact info. And with even a relatively small number of LinkedIn connections, you can directly contact incredible numbers of people. For example, I have only 126 connections, yet those link me to 5,000,000 people. Ask those first-generation connections to introduce you to their first-generation connections.
  • Oh yeah, don't forget about real friends, sometimes the source of the most useful leads.
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