In a bad economy, many industries are negatively affected and competition for jobs increases.

This makes using job boards (as your primary strategy) incredibly difficult and depressing, since this is where competition for positions is most fierce.

You stand to increase your chances of landing multiple interviews through learning how to tap into what is called the “hidden” or “unadvertised” job market.

Connecting with companies you are interested in directly (not in response to a posted position) is one powerful way to get an edge on the competition and pique the interest of potential employers you believe may be a match for you.

If you have a plan that includes your target market, job titles and your geographic preferences, then you have enough information to begin researching what companies might fit you.

Most of the companies that you are going to feel meet your career objectives have open positions that have not been, and probably will not be advertised!

However, if for whatever reason you need a job tomorrow, this is probably not the fastest way to land a job – but it is the best way to control your job search, secure quality interviews and receive better offers.

So how do you specifically find companies? Well, with the internet, it’s quite easy.

One method is to simply Google your industry and geographic preference (you will be amazed at what you find).

Your local business journal may have a best of list (Forbes has one too).

Yahoo Finance and Manta represent two of dozens of great business resources where you can easily research companies within particular industries.

Don’t have time to figure it all out? Visit a career association like Career Directors International to quickly find a resume or job search pro that specializes in developing research for you.

Ok, you have your list, what next?

Simply send a resume and a cover letter to a decision maker within each company. You will be best served if the decision maker you connect with is two to four levels above where you would see yourself in a position with them.

You will want to research how to write a cover letter for this type of situation. Be sure to tell them genuinely why you are interested in working for them!

Remember to follow up with a phone call.

Don’t worry that you are bothering them or that they don’t have any open positions. You don’t know either to be true! Stretch yourself, show your enthusiasm, creativity and initiative to quickly and successfully increase the number of companies interested in you!

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