As hiring managers launch an initial search for candidates, their first task involves broadcasting the position to a wide, but carefully targeted audience. This process is usually called “sourcing,” and it’s a critical step for savvy employers. If they narrow their candidate sources to a tiny pool, they won’t have much negotiating leverage with the small handful of candidates who decide to submit a resume. On the other hand, if the applicant pool is too wide, employers waste time sifting through thousands of resumes that don’t hit the mark (or land even close.)The art and science of sourcing can help employers find the perfect candidate for an open position—a candidate who’s brilliant, pleasant, affordable, etc. And as it happens, a little attention to the sourcing process can provide the same benefits for candidates in search of work. Here are a few ways you can use sourcing guidelines to support your own part of the equation.National Online Job BoardsHuge national job boards have one strong advantage: They provide candidates with lots and lots of options. The options are wider for large industry sectors (like “healthcare”) and narrower for small subsectors (like “pediatric respiratory therapy”). But a large, well-established job search site can attract posts from employers of every description (large, small, public, private) in every area of the country.If you rely heavily on these sites, keep a few things in mind. First, these sites also attract thousands of applicants, so the competition for these positions may be very high. Which means you’ll need to work very hard on your resume to set yourself apart from the crowd…and you’ll need to submit dozens of resumes for each individual response or interview invitation you expect to receive.Alternatives While you spend an hour or so each day searching huge job boards, it’s wise not to depend on these sites entirely. Sure, searching job boards can be easy. But be ready to step away from them and invest in sourcing options that offer higher risk as well as higher reward. Here are a few examples:1. Industry SocietiesInstead of heading to a job board and entering “respiratory therapy positions” in the search bar, try searching instead for industry groups, professional societies, union organizations, blogs, and guilds where people in your field tend to gather. In addition to educational information and industry news, you’ll also find discussion threads and job postings that can help you target specific employers (who probably aren’t fielding thousands of applicants.)2. Formal Networking Groups Does your town or city have a business development association that hosts occasional networking events? Do companies or universities ever sponsor job fairs at a convention center in town? If you don’t know, find out. Even if the people you meet at these events aren’t directly involved in your field, they can connect you to people who are. Getting out for some face time with strangers can be hard, but it can also be extremely rewarding.3. Individual EmployersYour dream company may not be hiring right now…or so they claim. But if you target a specific employer within this company, and then tailor your resume and cover letter to offer something this person doesn’t know she needs, you may be putting yourself on the fast track to a job made just for you. Cold calling and cold emailing (like real world schmoozing) can be difficult, but they can also yield fast and positive results.4. Your Own Personal Contacts ListAs long as your job search continues, ransack your personal contacts list, and do so often. Review everyone you’re connected to in real life and on social media, and think hard about who might be able to help you or connect you to someone who can. Then figure out what you have to offer these people.A Great Resume Can Close the DealOnce you establish a connection with someone who can help you, a strong resume can take you to the next stage of the process. Use MyPerfectResume‘s resume builder to win over your contacts and put your career in motion.