Three potential-job types and how to get them
There are three job announcements: public, internal, unknown. The most effective way to get any one of these is through personal networking to the hiring manager.
Responding on-line to public announcement almost never works. Most jobs are obtained even before they are posted on the public job boards–that’s only possible through personal networking with the decision maker. Even when a recruiter is involved, getting to know the hiring manager personally and not through the recruiter will increase your chances. Internally posted jobs are only achieved by outsiders through personal connections (and recruiters are usually not at play here). The final category, unknown, is convincing someone to hire you even though they don’t have an opening. This of course is rare in a tight budget environment of some companies, but in small companies or star-ups, for example, someone with a broad skill set, for example, might be a bonus they didn’t know they were looking for or you might be so good a company doesn’t want to lose you to the competition so they’ll figure it out. Don’t discount the value of networking for a job that doesn’t even exist. The goal of personal networking is to get to people who are actually the (potential) hiring managers and decision makers.