For them, the most potent way to land most jobs may be to cold contact target employers, whether or not they're advertising a job. That's true, if you do it right.
First, to motivate you to cold-contact, which many people find anathema, consider this:
A job opening is born when the employer has a need but isn't aware of it. If you cold call or walk in at that point, the boss may be tempted to hire you, at least on a project basis, so he doesn't need to undertake the time-consuming standard employee selection process.
The next stage in a job opening's lifespan is when the boss is aware s/he needs to hire someone but has, at most, let insiders know. Call or walk in at that point and you're still competing only with a small number of applicants.
Here's the punchline: Usually a job opening reaches the next stage in its lifespan--it's publicly advertised--when it requires unusual skills, no one who knows the boss wants to work with him, or it's wired for someone but HR requires the job to be advertised. In other words, when you're answering a want ad, you're more likely to be competing with the most applicants for the worst jobs.
That's why cold contact to employers whether or not they're advertising a job, is so potent--if done well. The method of cold-contact I recommend is Phone-Email-Phone-Phone.
1. Make a list of 50 target employers, who are not necessarily advertising an appropriate job opening. Why as many as 50? Because the odds of any one needing you is small. It is a numbers game.
2. Phone each after-hours, leaving this voice mail such as:
This is Jane Blow. I was a project manager at Ace Corp. and got solid evaluations but the job ended so I'm looking for work. I chose to call you because (insert a reason such as why you like the company, its geographic location, whatever.) I'll be emailing you my resume (or if your resume would not impress that employer, a letter of introduction, highlighting what would most impress her.) If you think I might be of help to you or simply want to offer me some advice, I'd welcome hearing from you. My phone number is: repeat it twice.3. Email your resume and a brief cover letter that reiterates the above.
4. Phone back a week later if you haven't heard from that employer, leaving voice mail if necessary. For example:
This is Joe Blow the project manager from Ace Corp looking for his next job. Not having heard from you, I assume you're not interested, but I know how things can fall between the cracks so I'm taking the liberty of calling to follow up. If you think it's worth our talking to see if and how I might be of help to you or simply to offer some advice as to where I might turn, I'd be pleased to talk with you. My phone number is: repeat it twice.5. Phone a week after that if you haven't heard from that employer. Say something like:
This is Jane Blow. I was hesitant to make this call because I certainly don't want to be a pest but I hope that perhaps you might even appreciate my being a persistent sort. If you'd like to talk to see if and how I might be of help to you, I'd welcome hearing from you. If not, I promise I won't bother you again! Here's my phone number: repeat it twice.No job search method guarantees employment but my clients that have exhausted their network have found the 50 phone-email-phone-phone approach to be a potent and often fast way to land a job.