Assess How You’re Conducting Your Job Search

How do your get your resume into the hands of a decision-maker who has the authority to interview you?

Applying to Online Job Postings:

This is where most job seekers spend their time. There are many places where jobs are posted online. These can include the hiring company’s website or LinkedIn Company Page, niche websites (like for information technology jobs), aggregator sites (such as,, or, social media (some companies will post job openings on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), or sites like Craigslist.

If you see a job posting on a big job board, go directly to the employer’s web site and see if the position is listed there as well. By applying through the company’s web site, you’ll not only get the chance to research the company, you might be able to identify a hiring decision-maker directly. And if you are able to find the hiring manager’s name, follow up your online application with a LinkedIn connection. Read more: Four Ways to Connect With a Hiring Manager.

Most large companies can receive between 200 and 10,000 resumes a month; the majority of these come from online applications for jobs they’ve posted. This is why it is crucial for you to tailor your resume to each position that you apply to. Take time to also develop a customized cover letter listing how your specific skills and attributes can be an asset to the company.

Employment Agencies/Recruiters:

For certain kinds of jobs, companies pay third parties (recruiters or employment agencies) to screen and recommend potential employees. In exchange for finding candidates, screening them, and recommending the “best fits,” an employer may will pay a fee to the recruiter upon a successful hire. Read more: Working With Recruiters.

The most important thing to recognize about working with recruiters is that they work for the hiring company. They may only get paid if they make a successful placement.

You can find recruiters online. Use Google to search: Recruiter and [city name] and [job title]. Or look in industry trade journals or associations for recruiting firms advertising for candidates in your skill area. You can also make contact with recruiters or employment agencies at job fairs or through LinkedIn. Recruiter relationships are generally not exclusive (make sure you verify this with each recruiter you work with, if you need to sign an agreement with them). Start with 2-3 and expand your contacts if you’re not getting results. But be honest if you’re asked who else you are working with.

There are also variations of employment agencies you may come across. For example, if you are employed in a union trade, your union hall may function as an employment agency, offering connections to union jobs. There are certain employment agencies that specialize in short-term positions.

Don’t discount resources offered by CareerOneStop ( or American Job Center ( Local or state employment agencies can also help connect you to employers in your area.


Networking remains one of the best job search strategies you can use to find your next job, but it is probably the least understood method. Many job seekers think networking means alerting the people you know that you want a new job. But it is more than that. Your network is most valuable when you can ask for help in identifying job leads, obtaining information, getting advice, and/or making referrals. For example, if you want to work at a specific company, ask people in your network if they know anyone who currently works for or used to work for that company. Then, ask for an introduction to that person, and ask them about the company, culture, and hiring practices.

It is important to actively develop and cultivate your network, even when you are not currently looking for a job. Your network can include: friends, relatives, parents of children’s friends, parents of your friends, relatives of your friends, club members, cousins, neighbors, your doctor, financial advisor, attorney, current and previous co-workers and managers, suppliers, professional association contacts, clients, and community contacts (civic leaders, clergy, etc.). Read more: Who Is Your Network?

Here are some more opportunities to develop your network:

  • Attend networking events.
  • Work as a volunteer.
  • Contact your alumni groups.
  • Join and get involved in a professional association.
  • Your colleagues.

Leverage your network to get personal introductions. Your efforts will yield interviews. You can dramatically increase your chances of being interviewed and receiving a job offer by following up with both your network and the person with the power to hire you in an effort to positively influence the selection process.


Note: This blog post only touches on certain aspects of this topic and is not a comprehensive list. This blog post is an educational and informational resource for job seekers and is not a substitute for working with a resume writer or other professional. See our Terms and Conditions for additional information.

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