Job Search: 6 Ways To Find Your Next Job

Updated June 29, 2023

an illustration of a person deciding which path they want to take

Whether you’re looking for a first job after graduating from college or high school or you're looking to change companies or progress in your career, it’s vital to know how to look for a job. Although finding a new job might seem challenging, there are a number of methods to finding one, effectively and efficiently.

In this article, we give you six effective ways to find a job that's right for you.

6 ways to find a job

The arms and hand of an individual holding a pencil preparing to take notes. Another individual wearing a suit sits across the table with a stack of papers in front of them.

There are many different ways to find a job, from searching in industry publications and browsing the internet to subscribing to job search emails. Here are six different approaches you can take to boost your job search:

1. Ask your network for referrals.

If you are looking for a job, you should tell all your contacts to help them help you find mutual career contacts. Networking is an effective way of finding a new job, and employers prefer receiving a referral from a trusted member of their staff. Many jobs are filled internally from referrals before they're even advertised, so it's important to talk to the right people to get as many referrals from within your network as you can.

Start by making a list of everyone that you know and determine which individuals might know about available positions in your industry. Then, you reach out to those people, perhaps offering to get coffee or lunch to discuss your interests and goals further.

Aim to build closer relationships with the people in your network so they'll think of you first for job openings. Some jobs can be filled rapidly, so you want to make sure that you strategically network with influential people whenever possible.

Related: 10 Conversation Starters for Networking and Relationship Building

Networking events

Whenever you can, you should attend specific networking events in your industry. Events such as conferences, expositions and continuing education forums are ideal places to meet others who can help in your job search. Make sure to prepare appropriately for these events by having professional business cards and copies of your resume made, to have at the ready when meeting job representatives.

If you attended college, contact the career or alumni network and see what events they have for their graduates. Even if these networking events are not specific to your industry, you might meet someone who could refer you to an individual in your field.

Related: 10 Tips To Help You Network Like a Pro

2. Contact companies directly.

Job searches are much more straightforward now that most companies have websites that you can target directly. You will be able to apply directly for available positions listed on their website.

If a company you're interested in doesn't have any relevant jobs posted on their website, reach out to them via email or phone to see if they are looking to employ someone with your qualifications and experience. If a company is not actively recruiting for your role, they may keep you on file in case a position becomes available in the future.

Leverage short-term engagements throughout your job search to further your experience and your network. Temporary and contract work provide you with a place to demonstrate your skills and explore various companies. Remember, the job search is a two-way street—you're interviewing them, too!

Carolynn Bruce, SHRM-SCP

The recruitment process costs a considerable amount of money, so if a company is experiencing rapid growth, it may be particularly open to communications from qualified people, even if they have not advertised a position. This applies to start-up companies that have not yet fully considered their staffing needs.

Make a list of companies that you're interested in working for and how you can contact them. Note their current job vacancies on your list as well. Think carefully when figuring out what you want to say to each company, and consider writing a formal cover letter to convey that you are familiar with them and to explain why you would be an ideal employee.

Related: How To Reach Out to a Recruiter (With Steps and Examples)

3. Use job search platforms.

If you want to apply for a large number of jobs quickly and efficiently, use job search platforms to power your search. Most top job search engines will allow you to search jobs by location, wage and keywords. Also, if possible, upload a resume and cover letter that you can adapt to each application.

Job search platforms are great because they allow you to filter out job search results that do not apply to you, while also allowing you to set up custom job search alerts to alert you when a job is posted that meets your criteria.

Related: 8 Types of Job Advertisements (Plus Where To Find Them)

4. Go to job fairs.

A job or career fair is a special event that aims to get companies and potential employees together to network and share information. These events are frequented by big companies that are looking to recruit large numbers of employees as well as fresh graduates for training programs. You will find organizations of all sizes, recruiters and possibly even colleges and universities at these events.

Job fairs are a great opportunity to network and distribute your resume to potential employers. Some tips to keep in mind if you decide to attend a job or career fair:

  • Research their fair to learn which companies will be attending so that when you talk to their recruiters, you'll make a good and knowledgeable impression.

  • Remember to take your business cards and plenty of resumes with you.

  • Take samples of your work, a portfolio and/or references from past employers if the type of job you're applying for would typically request such materials.

Since you'll be meeting with potential new employers for the first time, aim to make a great first impression and wear appropriate, professional clothing. It's also a good idea to make a list of questions that you want to ask the recruiters. You'll make a memorable impression if you appear genuinely interested in a company. Also, ensure that you're friendly and personable when talking to potential employers and that you sound confident and maintain eye contact when speaking.

In the week following the job fair, be sure to follow up with the people you connected with. Even if you have decided that the company is not an ideal fit for you, it is polite to thank the individual and add them to your network. You never know when a contact will be useful in your future job hunt.

Read more: The Best Ways To Find a Job at a Career Fair

5. Leverage social media.

There are many different social media platforms you can use to search for jobs and interact with companies you'd like to work for. You can search for company pages on sites like Facebook and Instagram and follow them, no matter where they are in the world. By keeping up to date with a company's social media pages, you can gain valuable insights into their tone, interests and working style. You can also comment on their posts and start to build a relationship with them. You may even find out about job openings through these channels.

As you search, set a goal each week to discover new companies that employ people with your skills. Stretch yourself to look beyond traditional job titles. Observe the world around you and consider all of the various types of jobs necessary to create what you see. Don't limit yourself.

Carolynn Bruce, SHRM-SCP

If you're using social media for professional purposes, it's important to make your own profiles suitable. They should convey a good image of you, even though you are using the platforms for personal rather than professional purposes. Use your real name and only publish appropriate pictures and posts.

If you're using this approach, it is a good idea to go back through the content you've posted and make sure that everything you have on your profile is suitable for a potential employer to see. Ask yourself if your social media profiles show you and your lifestyle appropriately and professionally.

Related: How To Use Social Media for Recruitment in 4 Steps (With Tips)

6. Inquire at staffing agencies.

Signing up with a staffing or recruitment agency may be worth considering if you want to find jobs more effectively. Most towns have several staffing agencies that you can register with. Some are industry-specific and others deal with many different industries. You will likely need to provide a resume as well as copies of your certifications and qualifications, and you may need to sit for tests such as typing speed or knowledge of specific industries.

Some agencies may only deal with short-term and temporary contracts at first. This may not be exactly what you were hoping for but if you gain temporary employment with a company and impress them with your work, it could lead to a permanent job. It also gives you the chance to meet people who work in your industry, which can lead to other networking or referral opportunities.

A short-term contract can also provide you with further experience to find out if you are actually suited to the role. This is useful if you are not entirely certain what sort of job you want to do.

An agency has a reputation to uphold, so if you reflect well on them, then you will have a positive experience that could lead to increasingly better opportunities.

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