Job hunting can be quite a task. There are rules and expectations for how to appropriately market yourself, how to interview well, ideal formats for resume building, and the right type of etiquette when going through the interview process. Despite all the hard work that goes into job hunting, it can still turn up dry. For anyone who may be feeling stuck and discouraged by the lack of return on time spent hunting for a quality job, here are some strategies to broaden the job hunt parameters so that employment can be attained faster.

Job Fairs

This is the old-fashioned way to go about finding a job (besides knocking on doors). Job fairs are a great way to take a broader approach to finding work because the places in which job fairs are typically held are large enough that many different companies are present at once. In addition to that, employers often pair with colleges and universities as hosts for the job fairs. This is a way in which there are multiple parties being benefited: colleges get recognition for partnerships with companies that employ more of their graduates; employers get the pick of fresh talent; college students don’t have to go much further than their dorm rooms sometimes to actually find and land that first job post-graduation.

However, even at places like job fairs, it is a good idea to be clear about at least the basics of what industry fits with the professional experience that has been accrued and the type of position which would be most suited to that skill set. Taking the time to become familiar with individual employers, their mission and products, will go a long way when trying to judge between accredited nursing programs or stand out from a crowd of potentially hundreds of other candidates. A handful of resumes would be a great idea to bring along as well.

Volunteer

Even the most well-respected and sought-after companies would prefer to be higher in-house or through a direct reference. One way to sidestep all that is to begin volunteering. Volunteering is a wonderful way to break the often arduous barrier of application processing, computer-sorted resumes, half-hearted email exchanges, and the eventual disappointment of being rudely ignored.

By being willing to work for free (because really, that’s what all volunteers are doing), there is a very high likelihood that the offer will be accepted. From there, personal skills and values will be easily recognizable as they play themselves out in real time. Spending time in a work environment, directly interacting with established employees means that people no longer become empty names and numbers and stats within the pile of resumes.

Instead, that name becomes a face, a collection of skills for success, and a personality that can more easily be determined as being a good fit. Best of all, this is a way by which not only employers can make that call, but job hunters can get a feel for the atmosphere, culture, and flow of the organization. Going this route can, ironically, save both parties a lot of time.

Headhunters and Recruiters

While perhaps not the most common way to go about finding a job, there is a good reason that such professionals exist: they can help to drastically cut down the job hunt time for candidates and employers. Some of these professionals are aware of some really unique and well sought after opportunities which may or may not be open to the general public. Having one of these workers as an aid means that there is a higher likelihood of being sorted straight to the top of an employer’s list of candidates.

Timing Job Applications

By the time Friday comes around, most professionals are spending their time prepping for the following week, not looking for one more task to add to the list of things to take care of. There is research which suggests that there is an ideal window of time for when to submit applications.

The best results for hearing back are if applications are submitted between 6:00-10:00 am, or during lunch hours. Avoid publishing applications after 4:00 pm. Spending time over the weekend looking for and prepping applications means that those documents are ready to be sent out earlier in the week when employers are going to start off a new week. Being that people are generally refreshed after the weekend, not only does this mean that employers will be reinvigorated for the week ahead, but the hope of finding a qualified candidate also goes up.