Why apply?

Why it’s smart to apply to a company even if they don’t have jobs posted

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” Robert H. Schuller

Before I work with a client, I always ask a number of routine questions to gage one’s aggressiveness in job hunting. The questions range from where they are looking to how they are looking to networking, etc.

What I hear quite often is an aversion to connecting with companies that are not advertising positions, even though an individual has skills and abilities to contribute and the company would be a good fit.

Trying to get them to reach out “unannounced” to companies is difficult, as technology has conditioned those job hunting to go to the “easy” source, which is looking for job postings online. Bottom line: That’s “bottom-feeding” –  looking for a job requires that you get out of that box and not just respond, but market yourself.

38% – a big number …

 A local newspaper recently cited a national study on job hunting – and a good one at that. One call-out was to a survey of companies that was telling: 38% of companies continually evaluate job applicants for potential openings with their company –even when they don’t have a job opening.

In other words, they are continually recruiting. This is a prime market – companies where you may fit in, not just the ones that have a job opening at a given time that hundreds will apply for.  In years past, this was referred to as the “unadvertised job market.” A bad name in my opinion; better to call it the “opportunity market.”  Whatever one may call it, the fact is clear: companies do not need to be advertising or posting a position in order for you to contact them. Rather, if you have a talent you can, reach out, connect and introduce yourself. You will also find that companies that continually recruit and evaluate potential applicants are the companies that tend to be most interested in finding and retaining the best talent. In other words, their culture is more conducive to employee engagement and development.

Sounds good, but how do I go about this, where and when?

Good questions. It begins developing an inventory of skills, strengths and qualifications that they can contribute to an organization:

Tangible hands-on practice skills: Technology, mechanical, engineering, managing, planning, for example.
The “soft” skills: Communication, organization, listening, problem solving, etc.

The “meat-and-potatoes”: 10 years experience in xxx, experienced in repairing x,y, z, customer service, administration, sales, for example. Real experience one has done that can be applied elsewhere.  

Create a “sell sheet” – make a list of all of the above you identified, show others who you know and build it out. Use this tool to evaluate and compare what you can contribute to the needs of a company.  This requires that you become a student of the job and business market: 

  • Read about companies online and through media.  There are so many resources available for information.
  • Talk to those you know about companies they might know of where there could be a match.
  • Identify trends. You might hear that there is growth in XYZ industry – identify companies in that industry, see if you can fit in, and make your approach.

And then – connect. Through LinkedIn or other resources, identify a potential contact and send your resume with a short intro note, preferably by email, or the old-fashioned “snail” mail if you wish. Explain what you have learned about the company and how your skills, strengths and qualifications may be an asset. Ask for the opportunity to have a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting. This is marketing. This is “selling yourself.” This is defining yourself as an applicant who is focused and determined.

Sitting at home shot-gunning resumes to online job postings and hoping something “sticks” isn’t job hunting. Job-hunting is taking a strategic approach to both the market and yourself and connecting the two. That creates results. That creates opportunities. That puts you in control.

Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie.  You can reach him at 641.8968 or or visit


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