Frustrated By Job Search? 4 Strategies to Fast Track Your Success In Finding Your Next Job

Are you feeling stuck in your job search? Or panicked about looking for your next job because you don’t know where to start? Have you been applying through job boards again and again and not getting any responses?

As a Career Coach and Job Search Strategist, some of the most common questions I get asked from job seekers when they’re trying to find their next Job is: HOW do I actually go about finding a job?  WHERE do I look? HOW do I start? WHAT do I do to help me find my next job quickly?  Today, I will give you some proven strategies to find and land your dream job faster in today’s market!

What most people tend to do is hit internet job boards such as Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Workopolis, Monster etc.  There is nothing wrong with doing this…. but did you know that less than 20% of jobs are filled through online job boards? And further yet the average job posting receives 250 applications and only 2% (5 applicants!) will receive an interview.  So while job boards can be a useful resource, they are not the most effective job search strategy. If you want to increase your chances of being successful faster in your job search– then you MUST use additional methods to job boards. I will talk about these in a minute.

Another mistake job seekers often make is relying on someone else to find them a job, like a recruitment agency, also referred to as an employment agency, placement firm, or headhunter. Recruitment agencies’ clients are businesses, not job seekers.  So while a recruiter is thrilled to meet you, learn about you, and may seem to genuinely care about your needs and wants, it is mostly to determine if you meet the criteria of any of the positions they are currently trying to fill for their business clients – because that’s who is paying them. In Canada, it is illegal for a recruitment agency to charge a fee to a job seeker to find or place them in a job.  The only person who is responsible for finding you a job is YOU!  If you don’t match with any of the opportunities a recruitment agency is currently trying to fill, then you sit in their database until a potential match comes up.  Consequently, if you are waiting for your recruiter to call you with a job offer, you could be waiting a very long time! While I encourage the use of recruitment firms as one job search method, you don’t want it to be your only method either. 

Now, let’s talk about other more effective methods of job search.  You heard me say earlier that less than 20% of jobs are filled through online postings.  I bet you are thinking so where does the other more than 80% come from? Am I right?  You may have heard the term the “hidden job market”……if it conjures up an image of a haunted house with creepy music in the background – hey I get it because that’s what came to mind for me too the first time I heard the term!  However, it’s really not scary once you understand what it’s all about and how to tap into it.  And it is actually a lot easier than you might think.

The hidden job market is essentially non-advertised jobs.  I bet you are now thinking, “okay, so if they aren’t advertised how do I find them?” Well, let me first explain some factors and opportunities that create the hidden job market.

  • A Company is impacted by change factors and defines an impending need.
  • Staffing issues – shortage, medical or maternity leave, early retirement, or sudden termination leaving an immediate gap.
  • Market shift, unexpected growth, or increase of customer needs.
  • Someone is resigning and there’s a short window of opportunity for them to train a new person.
  • A special or unique problem has arisen.
  • There’s a shift in priorities.
  • Re-locations or Acquisitions.
  • Just received budget approval for increased staffing but haven’t started the hiring process yet.

These factors can lead to opportunities because if the ‘right person’ comes along at that time or someone in the organization recommends a candidate – it can save the employer a great deal of time and money.  Recruitment campaigns by Human Resources department are often lengthy – HR Managers state the average time frame to create and set up recruitment plans can be from 5 to 16 weeks! 

There are many ways to access the hidden job market – here are 4 techniques to increase your results:

  1. Network – Networking is the fastest known way to join this market!  I could talk for hours about how to network but we will save that for another blog or podcast. Networking can start with your inner circles such as family and friends, then to acquaintances, business contacts, clients, and referrals – follow up on leads!  Make new contacts by connecting with people through attending networking events, chamber meetings, industry trade shows, conferences, seminars, workshops, community events, volunteer activities, join relevant social media groups.  
  2. Create A Target List  – become a Detective by researching and investigating companies you may want to work for, or industries you may want to work in.  Create a list of those target companies and a list of people that currently work within those companies. You can often find the names of people through searching TeamAbout Us or Staff Directory pages on company websites, by performing general Google searches, as well as searching through LinkedIn, Facebook Business pages, and Google Business pages.   
  3. Strategize – Use Google, news media, website research, LinkedIn, and your network connections to uncover potential opportunities that lay a foundation for hiring (such as sudden company growth, acquisitions, someone retiring soon).
  4. Informational Interviews – Request a brief (15 minute) information meeting with a target employer connection in order to get useful information for employment and career planning. Have approximately 10 questions prepared, takes notes or ask permission to record the conversation. Don’t ask for a job – that’s the kiss of death! Instead, build relationships. Ask probing questions, listen for pain points, indicators of trends, and insights. Uncover TOPP issues (Trends, Opportunities, Problems, Projects).  Be creative and resourceful and examine the info you have collected….such as “Is there a niche or problem that doesn’t seem to be addressed at present? (that I could fill/resolve)”.

These prospecting methods represent how job seekers experience more than 75% success in finding their next job.  If you don’t prospect, you are limiting yourself to a rate of less than 25% success!  As a ‘job seeker’ your goal is to access the hidden job market as quickly and easily as you can! The time you invest in prospecting will bring you a greater return for your efforts than any time spent in answering job advertisements on job boards or newspapers (yes some companies still advertise in newspapers!)

Please keep in mind these are brief, surface-level tips.  As a Career Coach and Job Search Strategist, I spend in-depth time with my clients defining personalized action plans based on their role, industry targets, geographic region, labour market, and coaching them through unique strategies that will work effectively for them based on their unique needs and situation. 


If you are struggling with your job search and want help – then let’s talk!  Book a complimentary 15 minute discover call directly in my calendar at and let’s chat about how I can help you fast-track your job search success.  ~ Stacey

Written by Stacey Davidson

Hi, I’m Stacey Davidson, after 18 years mostly in recruitment, HR, and management roles, I left the corporate world, became certified as a Professional in Career Management and started my own business in 2008 as a Career Coach, Job Search Strategist, Resume Writer, Contract Recruiter and I’m an expert in Behavioural-based interviewing. (I know, It’s a lot of hats!) For the past 12 years I’ve been teaching and empowering people just like you to define their dream job, power up their Job Search, and land in a career they love. My goal is to positively impact the lives of 1 million job seekers over the next 20 years. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more great info and resources.

February 10, 2020

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