Clever Ways to Find an Unadvertised Job in Tech

With employers posting thousands of positions on job boards, you may be wondering why you should bother hunting for jobs that aren’t even advertised.

But some companies don’t advertise open positions. For example, some rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, meaning that internal candidates or referrals snatch up those plum positions long before they’re advertised.

If you don’t want to waste time filling out applications, targeting under-the-radar opportunities is more efficient, less competitive—and less frustrating, too. Ready to get started? Here are some clever ways to find and land an elusive, unadvertised job. 

Contact the CEO at Your Target Company

Did you know that 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet? At this moment, senior management at companies across the country are figuring out their needs in coming years, which means they’re already beginning to frame out up-and-coming positions. They want tech professionals who can help them succeed at the next level.

“Send a letter of interest to the CEOs of the companies you want to work for,” suggested Harrison Barnes, CEO of LawCrossing and BCG Attorney Search. Request an informational interview, and you’ll be the first one considered for new opportunities.

“In my experience, candidates who are referred or who come through the back door get more attention,” agreed Mac Prichard, publisher of Mac’s List and host of the “Find Your Dream Job” podcast.

When you sit down to write your letter, make sure that your interest seems genuine, Prichard added.

Use Strategic Searches

Advertising on job boards and social networks is expensive, and frankly, some employers don’t want to be bombarded with applicants, so they only list openings in the career section of their website. They may also promote featured opportunities to followers via blog posts, email and social media blasts. As a result, unless you’re familiar with a company, you may not hear about its latest vacancies.

Searching state employer hiring histories by location and job title, such as this one from California, returns a comprehensive list of companies that have hired for that position (both in the present and past). Searching expired job postings is a great way to find companies that still have hiring needs but are spending less money on advertising, Barnes noted.

You can also try LinkUp, which states that it only publishes jobs from employer websites that are not always advertised on job boards (or missed by job-posting aggregators). Another site that searches for jobs on company websites is US.jobs.

Of course, you can also search Twitter for jobs using a hashtag, job title and location (as well as other combinations). Or steal a page from the recruiters’ playbook by using an x-ray search to find unadvertised jobs that are mentioned online or housed in a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS).

Finally, search the Web for clusters of skills, Prichard suggested. Using a skills-based search may yield otherwise-unadvertised opportunities that are mentioned in blog posts, online groups and technical forums.

Unadvertised jobs draw fewer applicants by design, so feel free to reach out directly to the hiring manager or ask a colleague for an introduction. Seize the opportunity to avoid the résumé black hole and connect with a real decision-maker.

Consultants, Clients and Suppliers

External consultants and vendors are often brought in during the conceptualization or planning phase of projects, so they see new tech jobs on the drawing (and cutting) board before they are made public. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from a roving supplier-partner over a cup of coffee.

Alumni Groups, Associations, Meetups

Industry associations and local chambers of commerce often provide job listings that can only be viewed by members. If you’re not a member, the group’s IT or membership director may gladly refer you to firms that are hiring tech pros.

Today, many college career centers provide a list of alumni who have volunteered to assist alums in specific fields with career advice and networking, making them easy to find and approach. Some centers also host regional and virtual career events to connect alumni with employers who prefer to hire from a small circle of candidates. If you haven’t contacted your career or alumni center, do so.

Tech meetups are another excellent source of high-profile experts who are looking for talent and recruiters; they may know of positions that aren’t being widely promoted.

It has been estimated that online job boards represent just 15 to 20 percent of the available jobs, so why limit your search to a small portion of the market?

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