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Job search strategies

    Successful job searching strategies

    Traditionally employers advertised jobs in newspapers, shop windows and community notice boards. To apply, you had to submit a hard copy resume and cover letter via post. However, many employers are now advertising vacancies online. There are also many jobs that are filled via word of mouth or networking. The following is a list of some job search strategies you can use to find the right role for you.

    Different job search strategies and approaches

    With the job application process evolving, each opportunity can require a different approach. Employers and recruiters use multiple channels to advertise roles and find suitable candidates. Adapt your job search approach and applications to align with these hiring methods, and tailor your application for each opportunity.

    Job Services Australia Offices (JSA)

    Australian Government employment service providers are a national network of organisations helping job seekers to find work. Their services are free to eligible job seekers.

    Private recruitment agencies

    Recruitment agencies act on behalf of their client: the employer. Their goal is to find a person with the skills, qualifications and experience to match the jobs that are available.

    There are a number of different types of recruiters:

    In-house recruiters sit within an organisation and only recruit for that one company.

    Executive recruiters (or head-hunters) fill senior level roles (executives, CEOs etc). They usually fill roles through existing networks and by targeting individuals in similar roles in other organisations.

    External recruiters work for recruitment agencies and employers retain them to fill roles. Often, the consultant or agency specialises in one particular industry (for example, information technology, or building and construction). Recruiters usually work on a number of vacancies at the same time for a range of different employers.

    Recruiters use various methods to advertise jobs, including ads on their agency websites or online job boards like Seek. Find out how to work with recruiters to boost your job search process.


    These days, fewer employers advertise their vacancies in newspapers. However some organisations continue to advertise roles in newspapers that may be relevant to you. Larger newspapers sometimes have a ‘Careers’ or ‘Jobs’ lift out. Smaller newspapers may have a few pages dedicated to jobs or a classified section. Newspapers are available at your local library.

    • Local – Community newspapers
    • State – The Courier Mail (Qld)
    • National – The Australian, Financial Review.

    Social media

    Social media such as company LinkedIn pages, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube channels are playing a larger role in recruitment. Follow and like companies to automatically receive notifications about new opportunities. Connect with others in your industry: Facebook and LinkedIn groups are excellent places to do this.

    LinkedIn is also useful for finding connections if you are keen on working for a particular organisation. You can send a speculative job enquiry via LinkedIn to the HR manager or hiring manager.

    Job search websites

    In the last decade, there has been a significant shift toward online advertising with reduced traditional newspaper advertising due to its cost, time delays and limited circulation.

    You can search for jobs advertised online by both employers and recruitment agencies. The most commonly used online job board in Australia is SEEK ( However it is still worth considering other Australian job boards.

    More and more employers are listing jobs on SEEK. Having a SEEK profile can increase your chances of an employer finding you. Employers can view your skills and experience, and get in touch with relevant job opportunities. Recruiters can also contact you about roles you may not have considered but suit your skills and experience.

    Corporate career web pages

    Some organisations have their own corporate career website pages and online job boards to advertise roles. If you want to work for a specific company, visit its web site. This also gives you a chance to learn about its employer value proposition and culture of working for the organisation.

    Other avenues

    • Voluntary work
    • Community noticeboards
    • Shop windows
    • Internal referral schemes where companies pay employees an incentive to refer someone they know into the business (and who the company them hires).

    The hidden job market

    The ‘hidden’ job market contains unadvertised job vacancies. Up to 80% of job vacancies don’t get advertised in the media or through job search website.

    Word of mouth / networking

    Expand your network when looking for a new role. Use your contacts to find out about job vacancies and let people know you are seeking work.

    Contacts and networking referrals can include:

    • Friends
    • Family
    • Acquaintances
    • Former employers and colleagues
    • Community groups
    • Sports clubs
    • Religious organisations
    • Unions
    • Professional associations
    • Conferences
    • Events
    • Associations.

    Cold calling

    Cold calling (or canvassing) is where you introduce yourself to a potential employer. Use one of the following methods:

    • Emails
    • Telephone canvassing
    • Door knocking in person
    • Mail and fax.

    Not sure how to cold call and ask about a job vacancy? Look at our example cold calling scripts for job seekers.            

    Help with job search strategies

    Find out about our job search programs.