How to Think Outside the Box When Finding a Job

by Ellie Williams

If you’ve been pounding the pavement or sending out resume after resume and still haven’t found a job, you might have better luck trying a non-traditional approach. You’re not limited to applying for advertised positions and hoping your resume makes it to the top of the pile. Instead, you can attract employers through your knowledge and expertise, or even create your own career path.

Draw on Your Skills

If you can’t find a job within your field, consider other things you excel at. Perhaps you helped pay for college by babysitting. Or maybe you have a knack with animals and would enjoy working as a pet sitter. If you’re a culinary wizard, you could start a catering service. If you’re handy, you might be a natural for mechanical or construction work, ranging from something as simple as odd jobs around the house to auto repair. Talk to neighbors, family members, friends, former colleagues and anyone you know through community or professional associations. They might have a need for your skills, enabling you to turn them into a full-time career.

Increase Your Visibility

If your resume is getting lost in the hundreds companies receive for every job posting, find an alternative way to get the attention of employers. Create an account at popular social media sites or start a blog and use these platforms to demonstrate your expertise. Reach out to fellow professionals from your industry who might know of job openings. In addition, most employers have profiles on the major social networking sites, allowing you to connect with them directly. You might catch the eye of a recruiter who just happens to be filling a position you’d be perfect for.


If you can’t find a full-time position, you might be able to get your foot in the door through volunteer work. If you’re interested in working for a nonprofit group or an arts organization, for example, sign up to help with an upcoming fundraiser. Once they see what you have to offer, they might come to you. Or, you might attract the attention of employers within your industry. If you do a stellar job of creating a marketing campaign for a charity event, for example, other companies might seek you out your for expertise.

Freelance and Consulting Work

While you search for a full-time gig, take on freelance or consulting work in your area of expertise. Some employers might not have the budget to hire anyone at the moment, but they might still need extra help. Once they see your talent and work ethic, they might come to you first if they have an opening. In addition, you can build your reputation and meet power players within the industry. Instead of competing with dozens of other qualified applicants, you can let your track record speak for itself.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images