You can be proactive in your job search by looking for places you want to work, seeing if they have any jobs open, and then networking your way into an interview. This article on www.idealist.org addresses non-profits specifically because those are Idealist's target market. All the tips apply to a for-profit job search, as well.
You also can lay the groundwork for being considered if a job does open up, by targeting your desired employers and becoming known to them. One colleague found work after deciding the kind of work she wanted to do, identifying companies that engaged in similar work, and networking her way into informational interviews. The companies had no open jobs at the time, so she essentially invested in the future by establishing relationships first. After several informational interviews, the top people at one company were so impressed by her thinking, skills and approach that they actually created a job for her.
My colleague got her foot in the door in a new industry by networking. First, however, she found places she wanted to work within that new industry by doing her research.
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