The Best Jobs Are Unlisted. Here’s How to Discover Them.

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Dishwasher, grocery store cashier, telemarketer—and on it goes. It can get depressing spending hours on job-hunting sites without spotting a single position you could see yourself in.

Are you wondering why the pickings are always so dismal on job-hunting sites like Monster.com and Craigslist?

There’s a simple answer: The best job opportunities never get listed on these sites in the first place. Most employers find enough qualified candidates for high-paying, exciting jobs before they need to think about publicly advertising.

So how can you find those jobs? Here are some tips:

1)   Make lots of friends. The best way to get the scoop about a current or future job opening is to know someone at the organization, who’s likely to tell you when a relevant opening comes up and refer you for an interview. Increase your odds by building up your social networks (both through old-fashioned networking and social media promotion), and telling your real-life and online friends exactly what type of career you’re seeking.

2)   Make cold calls (and write cold emails). In many cases, employers might recognize a need for a new position long before they’ve started to actively advertise a job. By calling or emailing relevant department heads and sharing details about your work experience, you may be able to score a few job interviews (with few to no competitors). Even if you don’t get a positive response immediately, don’t be afraid to follow up every few weeks—you never know when someone may have a surprise opening that suits your skills.

3)   Beef up your LinkedIn profile. These days, when employers are looking for new staff, they’ll often start their searches by looking through their existing employees’ LinkedIn contact lists, or running keyword searches for job categories or skills within the local area. If you haven’t taken the time to fill out your profile in detail, you could be missing out on these opportunities. Check out LinkedIn’s tips for improving your profile to enhance your job opportunities.

4)   Check out your favorite companies’ websites. Sometimes, companies will create job descriptions and post them on their own websites without promoting them elsewhere. Generally, they’re counting on existing employees or recruiters to help promote the opportunities, or they’re not in a huge rush to fill the positions. Do a drive-by of your favorite business sites every few weeks to see if there’s anything new on their “careers” pages.

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