How to Find a Job: Tips to Expand Your Search

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Set yourself up for success in your next job hunt with these tips.

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A job search typically refers to finding employment, usually by looking for open roles and applying to those that feel like a possible fit. While online job boards, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, remain a popular tool for finding work, there are many other avenues worth exploring. In this article, we’ll go over several ways you can conduct and expand your job search.

4 ways to find your next job 

You have an array of options for finding a job—each one potentially expanding the number and types of roles you discover. Let’s go over four main ways to find your next job.  

1. Online searches  

Searching for job postings online is a common way to find a new role. While many potential candidates rely on job boards, that’s not the only possibility. Here are three places you might look for appropriate openings:

Company websites  

If you know certain companies you’d like to work for, then spend time monitoring the “Careers” section on their website to see when relevant postings open up. Many companies offer you the option of subscribing to alerts, so you’re among the first to know about new postings.  

Social media

Employers, recruiters, and employees sometimes post about job openings on social media platforms in the hopes of connecting with followers. Monitor platforms such as Twitter or Facebook for announcements—or use them to search for any relevant openings in a particular line of work. You may also want to explore relevant industry groups on Facebook to hear about openings and connect with others. 

Job boards

Online job boards or career sites like LinkedIn and Indeed post a multitude of new job openings daily. They remain a popular way to find out about open roles. You can use these platforms to refine your search by filtering location, employment status, seniority, salary, and other factors you’re looking for. 

Companies tend to use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to collect, parse, and categorize resumes. To get past an ATS, it can help to optimize your resume, synthesize your formatting, and tailor your materials. Learn more about navigating an ATS

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2. Networking 

Building a professional network can be an excellent way to find—and get—a new job. While many people tend to apply online through a career site, 60 percent of jobs come through networking [1]. Connecting with other professionals, employees, or employers usually requires being proactive and developing your network in advance. That way, when you do come across an interesting job opening, your connection can alert the relevant hiring manager about your application—or even refer you directly.  

Informational interviews

Whether you want to learn more about a job and what it entails or hope to expand your professional network, informational interviews can be an excellent opportunity to find out more about an industry, job, or person. Have a clear idea about what you want to gain from an informational interview before researching the best people to contact. Be respectful of their time by limiting your conversation length and remaining focused throughout it. 

Learn more: 10 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

Recruiters 

Recruiters often spend their time identifying talent to fill open roles. Reaching out to relevant company recruiters can be a way to alert them about your interest and experience. Before doing so, it’s best to make sure your professional profile is up to date and that you’ve researched the company in order to explain your interest in working there. Not sure how to reach out to a recruiter? We’ve compiled a handy guide to walk you through the process.  

Referrals 

Companies typically like referrals because they tend to lead to high-quality candidates who get hired faster and stay longer, according to a study from LinkedIn [2]. If you’d like to apply to an available job and know someone at the company, ask if they’d feel comfortable referring you. If you don’t know anyone, take time to expand your network. Use LinkedIn or other professional networking platforms to find and connect with relevant employees for informational interviews.   

3. Career prep 

Beyond applying online and networking, you can take advantage of certain opportunities to hone your skill set and help you gain professional experience. 

Internships 

An internship can be an excellent way to try out different jobs, gain relevant experience, meet new people in an industry, and even transition into an entry-level job. Whether you’re still working on your degree or recently graduated, look for internships in a field that interests you or at a company where you’d like to work. 

Job fairs 

Job fairs bring together many companies that are currently hiring. They’re an opportunity for you to explore industries, companies, and jobs, as well as meet with recruiters or representatives who can discuss your experience.  

Mentors

A mentor can help you at any stage of your career, whether you’ve just graduated or you’ve been working for some time. They are people who offer valuable feedback aimed at helping you grow in your professional efforts. A good mentor has information that can help you develop and is willing to invest time in a professional relationship with you. Seek out a mentor, but as with informational interviews, be clear about your goals in working together. 

4. Career counseling

There may be times when you need extra guidance about your career path. Career counseling is an opportunity to meet with a professional, reflect on your needs and goals, and align your search to meet those larger endeavors. They may be able to offer insight into the types of jobs you should explore or the kinds of industries that value your skill set. 

Learn more: 12 Jobs in High Demand

As part of your job search, it may be helpful to first spend time identifying your career goals or putting together a career development plan. Both can focus your search efforts by clarifying what you’re looking for and what you want to achieve out of your next job, so you can tailor your resume and cover letter to reflect those larger aims. 

Once you have a better idea about what you’re looking for, taking time to work on your application materials before you begin searching for available jobs can also be beneficial. If you’re looking for your very first job, you may want to spend time formatting your initial resume and listing out valuable transferable skills you have to offer. You can also enhance your resume by adding key action words to describe your experience and highlighting important skills employers value. Lastly, if you’re looking to change careers, you may want to work on your resume objective or begin outlining your career change cover letter. Focusing on your resume and cover letter before applying for anything can help you develop baseline documents that you’ll eventually alter for each application.

The job search process is an opportunity to figure out what you want. Use our Job Search Guide to walk you through each step of that process, beginning with picking a career and locating in-demand jobs by area. 

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Explore further  

No matter where you are in your job search, build in-demand skills with a Professional Certificate on Coursera. Explore options for data science, cybersecurity, IT support, and project management from industry leaders such as Google, Meta, IBM, Salesforce, and more. 

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Article sources

1. TopResume. “The Job-Search Statistics All Job Seekers Should Know,,  https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/7-top-job-search-statistics.” Accessed May 3, 2022. 

2. LinkedIn. "Reasons Why Employee Referrals Matter to Small to Mid-sized Businesses, https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/resources/pdfs/new_employee_referral_programs_FINAL.pdf." Accessed May 3, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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