The job market may seem overwhelming and daunting with pandemic layoffs, rejections, and “ghostings”. But if you’re having trouble finding that next opportunity, it might be worth changing your approach. Changing the way you search and apply for jobs can save you hours of research and frustration. So, why not try a few easy and unconventional avenues to get you to your dream job?
Why try an unconventional job path?
While there is nothing wrong with applying to jobs through LinkedIn and websites like it, submitting a resume doesn’t mean you are sure to be their first choice or that they’ll even see your application. Venturing down unconventional paths will help you expand your network and job market proactively. This way, you become highly sought after. No matter what stage of your career you are in, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Get Referred
With a referral, your resume or application is more likely to be in the hands of a hiring manager. But how do you get a referral to your dream job? Networking online and in-person is the key. You can meet people with similar demographics, professional experiences, degrees, etc. on websites like LinkedIn or through your local IAW chapter.
If there is a specific job, you can reach out to the hiring manager or someone in the department for an informational interview. Informational interviews give you an inside perspective into their work environment and help you network with potential colleagues. Hiring managers are more likely to hire a candidate the department already knows.
Looking to be hired at your dream company but can’t find an open position? Job sites can help you find employees currently at your dream company who previously worked for the company you are at. For example, let’s say you were working for a start-up but want to work at Apple. You can network with a current Apple employee who previously worked at the same start-up. This builds a network of people who have the same professional experience and can help you achieve your goals.
The IAW community holds various events throughout the years for our members. Messaging speakers, recruiters, or other participants you are interested in connecting with may lead you to that hidden gem. This path is great for women who aren’t sure how to get into a particular field or what job interests them. By learning how others got into the field, you can better understand what steps to take for your path.
2. Reach out to Recruiters Online
Whether it’s the job you are applying to or the career you want to change into, you can find recruiters to connect with. Message or email them with a short greeting, your elevator pitch, and an invitation to meet. It is a proactive strategy that may give you an idea of what you lack as a candidate and open a door of opportunity. It is also reassuring to apply to a position when the recruiter already knows you and can advocate for you as a candidate.
3. Setup Your Online Portfolio
Recruiters and hiring managers are used to a resume being the main tool for candidates to express their experiences. Try going beyond just a resume and using an online portfolio to showcase your experience as well. You don’t have to be in a creative role, to create an online portfolio. A portfolio allows you to show, not tell. Did you create reports, policies, or any presentations? Those are all great documents to add to an online portfolio. For women whose creative work is the backbone of their role, a portfolio is an absolute must. Websites like Contra help display your projects and connect you with paid opportunities that match your interests/ skills. You can message clients, manage custom-matched projects and track your progress on the same platform.
4. Government Opportunities
Wanting to work within the federal government? Explore USAjobs to search for government positions in mathematics, science, cyber security, and more. There are opportunities for people of all backgrounds, including veterans and military spouses, students, and individuals with disabilities. Several government agencies are in need of additional people resources and are actively hiring.
5. Join A Male-Dominated Field
When looking for jobs we can subconsciously avoid male-dominated industries. Consider expanding your search to include traditionally male-dominated fields. If a cubicle in an office sounds stifling, then maybe try a career that works with power tools or in a lab. There are organizations like NEW dedicated to providing women with training and networking with local trade unions, public utilities, and transportation.
If you’re applying to countless jobs with no luck, it might be worth changing your strategy. Taking a more proactive approach to your job search can make you stand out in a sea of other candidates. Using some of these non-traditional approaches to the job market will have you on your way to your dream job in no time.