Beat the Competition: 6 Overlooked Job Search Tools and Tricks

Four job candidates crossing a finish line

You've no doubt come across the standard job search tools in your hunt: job boards, social media, and tried-and-tested resume tips, to name a few. There are some job search tricks, however, that aren't as well known but are every bit as effective. They can give you a leg up on the competition in any job market. Try these six tips to maximize your job search success:

1. Personalize your profile
No list of job search tools is complete without a robust LinkedIn profile. If you already are a LinkedIn member, when was the last time you took the time to spruce up your profile? Make sure it's up-to-date and complete.

One commonly overlooked step is creating a vanity URL. You can list your profile's URL on your resume and in your emails to make it easier for potential employers to find you on LinkedIn. Taking this extra step adds a touch of professionalism, helps strengthen your professional brand, and helps align all your application materials.

Also, don't forget to add a professional profile photo and list of your skills in your profile so it's more likely to show up in searches.

2. Follow up with former interviewers
If you were shortlisted for a position that eventually went to another candidate, it may be worth touching base with your former interviewers. There's a chance the candidate they selected didn't work out, and if that's the case, they're probably exploring replacement options. The company might also have a new opening that you are a good fit for.

3. Volunteer your services
Volunteering is an excellent way to hone your skills and learn new ones. It also expands your network and looks good on a resume.

Search your community for organizations that interest you and contact them to see if they could use your help. Make sure to explain your particular skills and interests.

Don't forget that volunteer positions can sometimes morph into full-time positions if funding increases. Treat a volunteer assignment like you would a job, and you could put yourself in line for one of those full-time gigs.

4. Consider a staffing agency
A staffing agency's recruiters are experts in the job market, so there are several ways they can add to your roster of job search tools. First, they can eliminate much of the guesswork and energy wasted on applying for jobs that don't align with your qualifications. Staffing agencies will cross-reference the needs of their client companies with your skill set in order to find a good fit. Also, they're in direct contact with employers throughout your local area, increasing the reach of your resume.

5. Use all of your technical resources
Several apps provide job search tools you may find helpful. For example, you can find apps that store, edit and send your resume to employers, or ones that help you prepare for an interview by posing sample questions. New ones are released all the time, so do a quick search from time to time to determine which ones will be most helpful for you.

You may also consider job search tools that help you evaluate your online reputation or conduct a limited self-background check. These services are usually far from complete, but they can give you an idea of the type of information a potential employer may access and bring up in an interview.

6. Conduct a thorough search
Don't limit yourself to only the most recent job postings. Sometimes, with a little digging, you may find older posts that haven't yet expired. Sure, many of these positions will be filled or nearly filled. But in some cases, the hiring manager may be looking for new applicants after an unsuccessful first round of interviews. So if your experience and skills fit, it doesn't hurt to apply.

Use these often overlooked job search tools and tricks, and you'll gain an advantage in the job market. You can find additional tips by reading about the latest workplace trends on the Robert Half website.