How to Conduct a Targeted Job Search

By Relebohile Sera

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash
Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

There are a variety of ways to find job openings. Below are traditional and non-traditional ways of finding jobs:

Advertised Positions

Checking the job ads is the traditional way of looking for job openings. However, it can also be the least effective way for most people to find a job. That’s because for every good entry-level position that’s advertised, there may be a hundred or more applicants.

Nevertheless, if you want to do a complete job search, or if you have specialized skills or extensive work experience, you may find a job advertised the best option.


Company Websites

Many large firms and corporations post information on their websites about how to apply to work for them. In addition to lists of current job openings, they may have any of the following: online application form, explanation of what they’re looking for in employees, description of their work environment, profiles of current employees, information about employee benefits, information about career paths at their company, advice on how to prepare for an interview, including examples of the types of consulting cases you might be asked to discuss with the interviewer.

Large companies get many applications, but don’t overlook smaller firms’ sites. Even if a company website does not have jobs posted, most provide information on how to pursue employment with the company. If there is no link for “careers” on the home page, click on the link for information about the company. That will usually take you to a page that includes a link to job postings.


Job Websites

While print media such as newspapers and business magazines continue to provide a reliable source of information about who’s hiring and current openings, the Internet has taken over much of this role.

Today, most newspapers run job ads on their website as well as in the paper and there are online job boards like which regularly post job openings.


Recruiters are hired by companies to find candidates to fill jobs the company has open. The term “recruiter” is used to describe both a company that does recruiting and an individual who does recruitment.

Individual recruiters work for a firm that specializes in recruitment and provide services to a variety of client companies. Generally, companies hire recruiters to find candidates for positions that are highly specialized or difficult to fill. As a result, they are no normally used to fill entry-level positions.

However, if you have experience that is in demand from employers, you may find recruiters a possible source of opportunities. Beware of firms that expect clients to pay a fee. Recruiters should be paid by the employer, not the job-hunter.

Unadvertised Positions

Most jobs are never advertised. Even among the types of employers that usually do advertise, smaller companies are unlikely to spend hundreds of their funds to post jobs. So how do these employers find employees? The two primary ways are through referrals and direct contact from job-seekers.

  • Referrals

Many employers find employees through referrals, or word of mouth. When a business owner needs a new employee, they will typically ask friends, business associates, and current employees if they know anyone who might be suitable for the job.

Studies have consistently found this is how more than half of management and professional positions are filled. What is perhaps most significant for job-seekers is the fact that most positions obtained through word of mouth are found through acquaintances instead of through friends or family.

  • Direct Contact

Even if you don’t know anyone connected to a particular company, it may still be possible to get a job there by contacting the company directly. It happens rarely, but sometimes a manager will have just decided that they need a new person when they happen to receive a phone call or email from someone who looks like they might be an ideal candidate for the job. Many employers would rather find someone this way than invest all the time and effort in advertising the job, going through CVs, and interviewing numerous candidates.


Relebohile Sera (Ms) is a Professional Certified Career Coach. My mission in life is to help people be successful in their careers and to provide coaching for those seeking a new career direction.