Often the most effective way to get a new position is through a referral by a valued and trusted employee of the company you are targeting.
Credentials, skills, and achievements featured via resumes, social media, and other online sources can be mighty impressive, but there is something especially enticing by the phrase "I know someone who may be perfect for this job." The challenge lies in uncovering areas of emerging opportunities and in developing the right connections to make this kind of impact.
This takes serious research and networking. The research is associated with identifying the organizations who may have emerging opportunities in your career field. Why "emerging opportunities?" By the time an opening is posted, you have to contend with intense competition and the frailties of applicant tracking systems. Being mentioned for an "emerging opportunity" gives you distinct advantages. It's more likely you will be guaranteed an interview, and even before the interview, you will have made a positive impression. That's a great start.
In today's world, researching companies to identify those that may have opportunities being created in your field is easier than ever before. You can utilize search tools in Google and LinkedIn to drive this search. There are also business association, chamber of commerce, and workforce development websites. One prime example in Wisconsin is worknet.wisconsin.gov, which provides an employer-search tool specific to career types.
After researching and identifying companies and organizations, use LinkedIn, professional affiliations, online discussion groups, and pre-existing contacts to seriously expand your network. This should support developing inroads into the companies identified as relevant to your career goals. Focus on developing a network that is not deep in its relationships. The broader scope of a professional network is not geared towards developing friendship bonds, but rather looser connections that support each other. As with all relationships, though, it is key that they be mutually beneficial so some time will also need to be invested in helping others.