3 Ways To Find A Job Beyond The Job Boards

January 14, 2018

The 1st thing I say when a candidate tells me, “I can’t find anything, even though I’ve been looking for months and I’ve applied to hundreds of positions by now,” is, “Well, what’s your process? Tell me about that.”

Inevitably, I hear some version of, “I find an ad online, apply for it, and wait. But either nothing happens, or maybe I’ll get an automated email with no way to contact a real person.”

If that’s your process, then I’m here to tell you, that’s not a process. #sorrynotsorry The job boards give you a 1-2% chance of landing an interview – ALL the job boards – including the “executive” job boards, “premium” job boards, “six-figure” job boards, and “niche” job boards.

Let me shed some light on where 99.9% of candidates stop: they stop once they apply online. They erroneously think something along the lines of, “If you build {post} it, they will come.” However, from here forward, I want you to START with the ads you read online. Consider the job boards as spring boards only, and use the information to do 1 or all of the following:

1. “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!”

Blog, blog, and blog some more. Everyone likes to say on their resumes that they’re “passionate” about their work. Well, if that’s really true for you, prove it. Use the job ads to identify the organizations that are hiring, then demonstrate the expertise you have that dovetails with your target company’s needs. Use the blog to not only showcase your writing style, but also prove that you’re up to date on the latest and greatest in your field, by launching a blog.

A little daunted by the technical end of things? Don’t be. Blog hosts abound: WordPress, SquareSpace, and Blogger.com are super-simple to start. You can even find someone on Fiverr.com to set things up for you. What’s even easier is writing an article on LinkedIn. Whatever platform you choose, get the technical stuff out of the way quickly, so all you’re left to do is concentrate on showing what you know.

Understand something: hiring managers, once they receive you resume, look you up online. While they’re not necessarily conducting an investigation to uncover digital dirt, make sure you don’t have any of that. The ideal situation is that the decision maker pops your name into the search bar, and the results indicate your expertise in the form of blog articles wherever you decided to post them. That’s going to instantly make you stand head and shoulders above the other 1,000 candidates who applied for the same position you did on any given day.

Put your blog post in front of the right audiences by posting it inside of LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry, for example. Blog about a product and send it to decision makers at the company you’re interested in by using Twitter. There are any number of promotional tactics you can take to build your brand and professional reputation.

2. Present A Project.

The typical candidate will go on an interview, then come up with the really ingenious (ok, but not “really”) strategy of formulating a 30-60-90-day plan. That’s fine, but certainly not fabulous. Graduate to the remarkable by doing a project before you land the interview, to prove to the decision maker that you can solve a problem the company is facing right now.

For example, if you see an ad for a role in product development, it likely caught your eye because you’re used to creating, innovating, and literally, building something out of nothing. You don’t have to go so far as to invent something novel for the organization you’re interested in – they’re not paying you yet. However, you can evaluate what the company already has, conduct usability testing, document what you find, and, based on that, recommend a design improvement. Popular products stay popular because the design and development teams are always looking for features to add or improve.

If you’re in marketing, improve on a marketing campaign that a company has already executed. Or recommend a marketing strategy you haven’t seen them do yet, but perhaps you did something similar before and you can prove its success based on data and insights. No need to show your entire hand – you’re not handing over a whole new marketing campaign to an organization that’s not paying you. You’re simply demonstrating that you have the real-world experience to address a specific issue successfully.

I understand these ideas are hard – harder than applying for jobs online. I understand they take work. Everybody wants to do something easy. Be different. Be better. Do this work now, to get into the work you want to be doing, sooner rather than later.

3. Consult For Real.

Here’s consulting that’s fake: “Lead development of inspired, focused, and productive leaders ready to purposefully impact greater society, by helping change how people get healthy.” What? I think that means you sell either vitamins or organic skin care stuff. That’s not consulting.

When a candidate tells me she’s been consulting, I ask, what is the most recent project? Here’s where this gets hard: when you consult for free, consult for your friend’s company, or the last consulting gig you did was 2 months ago, you tend to discard that from your mind. Instead, I want you to lean into those things.

Consulting counts on your resume if you did actual projects for someone and delivered a result. Think about the areas of expertise that repeatedly crop up in the job ads you’re coming across. If you’ve consulting using those areas of expertise, ask yourself the following:

► How would you describe the client or the client’s business / organization?
► What was this a project to do?
► What did you actually do, recommend, or put into place?
► What specific result came from your work?

Consulting is a fantastic approach to filling in a recent gap in time on your resume, as long as you can fill it in with real projects that delivered real results.

The moral of the story here is use the job boards not as the end point like most of your competition will do. Use them as the starting point, and be inspired to go beyond the job boards to do something for the decision maker that will genuinely, uniquely showcase who you are, what you do, and the value you bring. Smart jobseekers found out even more in our free online program, “3 Simple Steps To Cut Your Job Search Time In HALF!” There, we go deep into how to make sure you’re the person the decision maker finds on LinkedIn, how to uncover the real decision maker in the 1st place, and what to do to increase the likelihood that you’re the candidate who gets the responses you need. The full webinar is coming up here.

One comment on “3 Ways To Find A Job Beyond The Job Boards
  1. Ron says:


    Great article…again! The suggestions that you give are thoughtful, useful and many times brilliant.

    I’m not looking for a job right now but when I do you will be the first contact, coach. Thank you!