Online job boards are critical for a job seeker in search of an opportunity. Aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired have made the job search easier but these one-stop-shops haven’t necessarily made the job search “smarter.” Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time applying for jobs knows how easy it is to fall into the habit of searching in the same places for the same roles. However, it’s important to realize your search habits could be producing more inertia and wasted time than interviews.
Identifying and correcting this inertia is very important to one’s search strategy particularly when struggling to land anything at all. It’s a simple strategy and it goes a long way, especially when one is faced with employment obstacles such as a work authorization requirement (H1-B visa).
1. Do Your Research
No, it’s not exciting and no it won’t feel like the most immediate action to take when considering your end goal, but it’s the smartest approach to start with and a huge time-saver in the end. Start by identifying any unique traits or skills you possess and then research companies that hire to those traits in order to identify the easiest targets.
For example, if you require an H1-B visa to work in the US, google “companies that sponsor H1-B visas,” (LITERALLY). By focusing on the companies that are more likely to hire someone with your traits, you will increase your chances of being contacted more than you would if focusing on companies with no entry point for someone like you.
2. Use Better Keywords
Keywords are underrated. More often than not, job seekers search job boards using the same limited terms; usually job titles. This is great if you are certain you can only fill one title. The reality is there is more than one job title to describe the same type of role across any given industry and this type of search can yield a lot of rather limited results.
Think about the types of unique traits and skills that belong to someone exactly like YOU (not the role you are in, but YOU). This is a great opportunity to turn potential barriers into strengths and use to your advantage. A few ideas:
- You have employment restrictions: Most international job seekers require an H1-B visa to work in the US and consider this a huge disadvantage. However, this is a unique requirement that can set them apart from other applicants. In this case, it is wise to search job boards using keyword “H1-B” along with other industry terms. This typically generates postings of companies who are willing to sponsor as well as those who aren’t.
- You are bi-lingual or from another country: Language skills or first-hand international market knowledge are golden. If my client is from Brazil and speaks fluent Portuguese and English, their keyword search will be around terms like “Portuguese,” “Latin America,” “LATAM” (you get the idea). The hiring entity will usually be a US based company trying to expand/enter a new market or a Latin company based in the US.
- You have special certifications: Your certifications will absolutely give you an edge in some instances and leads to the 3rd piece of the strategy.
3. Approach with Laser Focus Before Casting a Wider Net
Searching by unique trait or skill keywords can be an effective way to narrow down the job openings with the greatest likelihood for you being identified as a potential candidate. Searching this way also has great potential for being the quickest way for you to reach your target. It is a strategy that we use in Headhunting and it can prove valuable here as well. It will also help you to assess the job market and potential demand for roles aligned to your qualifications.
These 3 approaches will help revive your job search and also get you closer to landing an interview, quicker.