1. Tapping the hidden job market. The hidden job market is the bulk of positions available in the market that cannot be seen in job ads or postings. These are positions in companies who opt to tap talent through means other than advertising, such as networking, referral, succession or hiring within; or just choosing to delay hiring for these positions because the need is not urgent. How do you find these available positions?
Referring back to your career plan, what industry and what type of companies are you aiming to work for? Research these companies to find out more about their culture, the structure of the organization, their hiring preferences, the rate of turnover in your target position. Ask around if someone you know can refer you to someone in the company, with whom you can do an information interview. If not successful, find out who is in charge of hiring for the specific department you are interested to work in and connect to that individual by phone or e-mail.
While doing this process, you may want to send an unsolicited resume to the Human Resources Department, indicating your desire to work for the company and for a specific position. If your resume is impressive and deserves a second look, chances are they are going to keep your resume for future reference.
2. Targeted Networking. Find out the associations, organizations, or affiliations related to your target position. Become a member so you can use their benefits such as access to roster of members. Otherwise attend their regular conferences or meetings that are open to the general public and meet as many people as you can. The targeted networking approach is hinged upon establishing a win-win relationship. What value can you offer to these individuals that would open the communication line, ensure they will remember you, and have a good reason to keep in touch with them.
For example, if you have a big network of people from which a recruiter could tap candidates from, offer to help people they might need. If you have a specific skill that might be useful to others, offer to give a service for free, with an excuse of giving back to the community. Whatever way you could make an impression or a mark to somebody, try it.
3. Approach job search as a marketing process. You are your product and you are the brand. People will not know your value unless you know it, you package it accordingly, and you are consistent in communicating who you are and what you offer. Of course, just like any product, you should know what your customer (hiring company) wants and make sure you have got what they need.
Your career plan will help you solidify your brand and will give you an idea on how you would package yourself as a brand. If your career history is consistent and progressing towards a logical goal, then it could speak for itself. Otherwise, you would need to review and create a good and truthful story that would justify inconsistencies and that would put you in the best light.