Thinking of looking for a new job? Now is the time to do it. The unemployment rate in 2016 hit an 8-year low of 4.9%. With fewer people on the market, jobseekers have the edge over recruiters working hard to find applicants to fill open positions.

What’s the best approach to finding job opportunities?

There are two general strategies to employ when conducting a job search. The first, a traditional approach, is position-driven. This tactic employs the use of common job sites such as Indeed, Monster, and the ever-growing LinkedIn [click HERE to create a powerful LinkedIn profile] platform. Job seekers access positions through advertised job openings. The advantage is that you know these companies are hiring. The disadvantage is that so does everyone else – and I mean everyone.

Earlier this year, hosted 200 million unique visitors in a single month. LinkedIn reports receiving over 40,000 job applications daily. That’s a lot of competition. In fact, the success rate of an online search is estimated at only 2%. Therefore, it becomes imperative that jobseekers balance these online applications with a targeted approach.

Job Search Strategies:


A targeted approach is company-driven. Job seekers access job opportunities by connecting with decision makers. The key advantage of a targeted strategy is that it can open the door to the hidden job market, providing access to more opportunities and openings. The challenge is in stepping outside of your comfort zone to discover these prospects.

How can I access targeted opportunities?

First things first, define your ideal job. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That line, from Alice in Wonderland, is important to remember in your job search. If you don’t know what your dream job looks like, how will you know how to find it? What job title and responsibilities are you interested in? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both? Do you like short-term projects or long-term projects? Who would you report to? Who would report to you? Answering these questions can help you define your ideal position.

Next, create a target list of companies you’d like to work for. Like your ideal job, you probably have a preference for the type of organization you want as your employer. Things to consider include: company size, industry, culture, location, and structure (public, private, family-owned, franchise, nonprofit, etc.). Once you’ve made your list, look for companies that fit your criteria.

Finally, tap into your network. The more people who know you are looking for a job, the more eyes and ears that will be available to help. Networking is about getting the people you already know to help connect you to the people who will help you land your next career opportunity.

The single biggest mistake most job searchers make is not asking for help from their network. People want to help you — so let them!