Job hunting can be super stressful, especially when it seems like you're sending your application into a black hole. On top of that, there are sometimes hundreds of candidates for just a single job opening. Shoring up your financial future while boosting your career can feel impossible.
But there are some tricks to finding the right job opportunity, even in a competitive market. Here are the four best ways to go about your next job search.
1. Use your network via social media
One of your best job-search resources is right under your nose. Your friends and family will not only likely know of job opportunities, but since they know you personally, they'll be able to make recommendations that seem like a good fit.
Rather than chatting with them one-on-one, put out a call on social media, where you'll have a wider reach. It can be a concise message along the lines of, "I'm starting the job search. Do you know of any companies hiring in the marketing field?"
If you use Twitter, don't forget to not only use hashtags but also search for hashtags. Try hashtags for your city, your career field, and your (desired) title.
2. Use LinkedIn and other job boards
LinkedIn is still heavily used by top employers to recruit candidates. The site is easily searchable by career field or title, location and experience level.
Unlike other job boards, recruiters for companies regularly use the site to reach out to potential candidates, so make sure your online profile is up to date with your latest job description, accomplishments, volunteer positions, and skills.
Other job boards that can be helpful to you include those that are specific to your industry; many professional organizations offer a job board as a members-only perk.
3. Search specific company websites
Targeting specific companies is another excellent way to go about job searching. You've likely already got a list of companies in your area you know you'd want to work for, but don't forget to try searching through local "Best Places to Work" lists. Companies that make the cut for these types of lists are known for having a great reputation as good employers — from offering competitive salaries and benefits to having a company culture that makes people want to stick around.
And there are other benefits to this approach to job applications. Since you're applying directly on company websites, this makes it easy to dig around for information about the company's history and get a general feel for what the company is about and what to expect.
4. Connect with your college or alumni association
If you're in college, you don't have to go far to start the job search. Your university's career center is can help you find potential jobs, improve your resume and even offer interview tips.
As a graduate, you also have access to alumni networks that can connect with companies that are hiring. Alumni usually are happy to help; they want to see you succeed.