The higher the unemployment rate and the tougher the economy, the more important it is to seek out job openings that aren't advertised. More people out of work means more people looking for work, which in turn means more people applying to advertised jobs. Sometimes, there are literally hundreds of job seekers applying to one print or online employment ad. To keep ahead of your competition, let everyone and anyone know you're looking for work, plus join job clubs and professional organizations. Also, conduct a career search so that you understand what skills you have or could develop that are in demand in today's job market.
If you have skills that are in demand, you'll be ready to apply for a job that you hear about through networking or other unadvertised methods. One way to find out about unadvertised job openings is to contact the human resources department of companies you feel qualified to work for. Rather than asking about open positions directly, state that you're conducting an informational interview and ask for just a few minutes of the human resource manager's time. Mention your skills and ask which departments might need someone to provide those skills at the present time or in the near future. It's best to have as much previous knowledge of the company and their needs as you can, and then follow up with a thank you card within a few days after the interview.
Joining professional organizations and reading their newsletters or attending meetings is often a good way to discover openings in your chosen field. Keeping in touch with professors and instructors is also a great idea, as they may know of current entry level or other career openings you may be interested in. Plus, contacts in your profession who are familiar with your skills and abilities are always helpful for references to use on your resume.
Job clubs or work resource centers in your area may be a good source of unadvertised job openings since local businesses looking for workers may contact these organizations directly. Keep in touch with such community groups on a regular basis, as being there at the right time could mean finding at least a temporary job that matches your skills and gets you more experience. The more people you tell you're looking for work, the more likely you are to discover someone with a lead for an unadvertised job that may be worth checking out.