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How to Find a Job Using Uncommon Search Tactics

Many unsuccessful job seekers have learned that certain search methods are becoming outdated, such as snail-mailing a resume to an employer's physical address or browsing printed job advertisements in the local newspaper. Statistics show that only a small number of job seekers who use traditional job search tactics actually find jobs. For example, only 7 percent of people who respond to job advertisements specific to their career field actually find jobs using this method, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Labor and employment markets change, and job seekers must often use uncommon tactics to find new opportunities. Target Known Employers You can waste precious weeks and months hoping that the next great job opportunity will be advertised on job bank websites or in the local newspaper. Instead, proactively seek out employment at companies that are known to hire people with your career experience. For example, downturns in the home-building sector can put carpenters out of work for long periods of time. Instead of waiting and hoping for limited work to show up every now and then with contractors, a carpenter might seek out employment at major home improvement stores, still within his general industry. Many local companies have websites that feature a "Careers" or "Employment" section, detailing job openings and how to apply.

Unsolicited Cover Letters Many people are surprised to discover that nearly 80 percent of job openings are never advertised to the public. Instead, positions are filled by word-of-mouth and other "hidden" tactics. In this regard, a less common use for cover letters is to submit referral and cold cover letters to employers. For example, a manager might call and inform an ex-employee about a job lead at another business division or company. In this scenario, the job seeker sends a cover letter that includes who referred her. Another option is to send a cold cover letter with a resume, as sort of a feeler for what opportunities the company may have open, based on your skills and experience put forth in these documents. Personal and Professional Networking Nearly every job seeker can benefit from networking with people about job opportunities, but many don't know where to begin. In addition, some people have too much pride to network, equating it to begging for a job. Start on more comfortable grounds by asking for leads from your immediate family and extended family in other cities and states, as well as friends from high school, college and those who are in your life now. This may equate to potentially hundreds of contacts. Probe for jobs from members of the community, such as the cashier at the local grocery store. Join professional associations, locally and online, to gain access to "exclusive" job leads. Buddy System Consider sharing aspects of your job search with another buddy or two, as a way to cover more ground. For example, two long-time buddies from college may have majored in similar fields, such as a bachelor of business administration and a bachelor of accounting. When one spots a promising lead but can't apply because of mismatched educational requirements, that information may be of some value to a friend who did earn the exact degree the hiring employer prefers. This arrangement can even turn into a friendly competition, where both buddies apply for the same jobs, adding excitement and adrenaline to a sometimes lengthy and discouraging job search.

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