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Networking is often the best way to find out about available positions. Reaching out to others, gathering as much info as you can & being proactive in the opportunities that come up are often the only ways to find out about "unlisted" opportunities that are promoted by word of mouth alone.

Start With Whom You Know

Talk with people you know about job openings, a.k.a. networking! Here are a few tips that can help you expand your skills in this area of the job search:

  • Tell your immediate family, friends, and acquaintances that you are searching for a specific position.

  • Look for advertised open positions.

  • Determine if an organization is growing or adding new products/services, which may mean they are adding new positions.

  • Seek current or past employees of your target organization and see if you can schedule a conversation either by phone or over a cup of coffee.

    • Let these contacts know what you're looking for and ask if they know of any open positions and/or the hiring manager.​

  • Sign up for newsletters with professional organizations.

Making contacts with companies and/or individuals with insight or job opportunities in your desired area is more effective than peppering the open job market with your resume.

Informational Interviews

To help fine-tune your search process, you may also want to connect with professionals in your field(s) of interest by setting up an information interview. These professionals can provide advice about how to find a job and coach you on next steps as they are connected and may be aware of current job openings.

To schedule an Informational Interview, start with someone you already know in your chosen field, or ask your network if they know anyone you could meet with. Once you've identified the person(s) you want to interview, here are a few tips to consider:

  • If you have an existing relationship with the individual, they may already be aware you're looking for a job, so request a brief meeting (30 minutes) with them to discuss your job search strategies and any additional advice they can offer. If your request is declined, it is appropriate to ask if they can recommend anyone else for you to interview.

  • If you don't have any direct contacts in your field of interest, ask people in your network if they know a professional in this field. If so, request that they contact the individual on your behalf to inquire if s/he might be willing to give you 30 minutes to meet.

  • Remember:

    • You're not asking for a job and this is not a job interview.​

    • Give your 30-second elevator speech and ask for feedback.

    • The two best questions to ask are:

      1. How did you get where you are?​

      2. How would you recommend I position myself to enter this field?

    • Respect his/her time and try to keep your dialogue within the arranged time frame. If you are approaching 30 minutes, politely ask if your contact has time to continue.

    • As you finish, ask if there is anyone else this individual recommends you interview. If so, define next steps for making contact.

    • Send a "Thank You" expressing your gratitude for his/her time and valuable input.

Sample Email to Contact Referral Directly

To: Jdoe@ABCorganization.org

From: Jsmith@email.com

Subject: Referral from Jim Black, Vice President of XYZ Org

Mrs. Jane Doe,

My name is John Smith, and I was referred to you by Jim Black, Vice President of XYZ, who suggested I contact you. I recently completed my MA at Denver Seminary where I was studying in pursuit of a career in __[ name the field this person is in/your field of interest ]__.

I would very much like to ask you a few question pertaining to your experience in this field, and would be honored if you would be willing to share thirty minutes of your time for a brief interview. Given your background and expertise, my goal would simply be to learn more about your experience and seek your advice as I begin taking my next steps toward a career.

I welcome your feedback and direction, and hope to have the opportunity of meeting you in person.

Thank you for your consideration,

John Smith

720.000.0000

Internet Job Posts

When you find a job posting on the internet that fits your target position and qualifications, respond quickly. Usually interviewers want to start the interview process as soon as they have a few qualified candidates. You will want to be included in the first round of interviews.

It's widely known that the majority of job openings are never posted, but are filled through networking or knowing someone who has a job opening. While this is certainly the most important job search strategy, it is also important to spend time applying for open positions with your selected job title posted on the internet. Many job placements are still secured through website job postings. While job boards such as Indeed, Simplyhired, and Monster have many job openings, you may have a better chance of getting noticed if you apply on the hiring organization's own website.