Job seekers need a foundation for their job search. Think about other areas of your life that have structure and require documentation. To get a driver’s license you must first take classes or learn to drive, and then take a test to receive a driving permit and ultimately a driver’s license. Similarly, if you are building a house, you need a blueprint, must obtain the necessary permits, and plan the construction steps from studs to roof.

So why is it that job seekers think that if they send out a few resumes that the jobs will come pouring into their inboxes? Did you know that….

  • 85% of jobs are never posted. Online jobspostings represent approximately 15% of the jobs available. The 85% never posted are in the “hidden job market.”
  • 2%-4% of job seekers are successful in getting a job from an online posting. Remember, they are only hitting 15% of the possible jobs.

Let me share some important insights that may help you set your job search on a more realistic path.

1. Be specific when targeting a job. Ask yourself these three questions:

“What type of job do I want?” That expands to defining job function and title.

“Where do I want to live?” Select a geographic area that meets your needs and that of your family (if important).

“What industry or organization do I want to work in or with?” Do your research to find the industry that best aligns with your experience. If you are a career changer, then you need to make sure you can adapt your transferrable skills to a new industry and what organizations might support that.

2. Job search target campaign. The CIO formula.

C = Companies. Create a list of companies that fit your target. These will be added to your personal marketing plan.

I = Influencer. Identify decision-makers at your target companies and the hiring managers if possible.

O = Opportunities. Cultivate relationships BEFORE you need them, so your relationships and network are established when you are ready to tap into it.

3. Networking IS your job search strategy.

The candidates that are tapping into the 85% of unlisted jobs are networking their way in. They have a much larger target, and therefore are more successful in finding jobs.

The more you are able to get access to the influencers within a company, the better your chances are to learn about job opportunities and present yourself as a viable candidate. You might want to try one or both of these two methods to find people you can network with:

Attend industry-related association meetings to familiarize yourself with the industry and people. During the “meet and greet” ask people about themselves, what their biggest challenges are at work, and make a mental note of these things so that you can mirror back to them ways you can be helpful. You can respond with experiences you have had in your career that helped other companies with similar challenges. Create a relationship that you can develop after the meeting.

Use LinkedIn to search people yourwant to meet. Review their profile for key information that you can use to connect. Scroll down to groups section to find:

  • Are the groups they associate with meet in person or online?
  • Events they are attending
  • Where they are spending their time
  • Who they are associated with

Start contributing to the LinkedIn group discussions. You can set yourself up as a “go-to” person on a subject you specialize in. People get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers in LinkedIn and they pay attention to how often your name comes up in discussions.

Also, you can direct message people in groups to connect with them. It is a great way to find people in an organization that you may not have access to outside of LinkedIn.

There are many more job search strategies that come into play when someone is looking for a job. These three should help you get started or fill in some gaps that may exist in your current job search strategies.