Been there. Waiting. Always waiting. Waiting for a small sign of interest. Hoping for someone to call, email, or text.

Application complete. Assessment complete. Still waiting.

Sound familiar?  When you are a candidate, you have access to all sorts of sites. Sites that promise unique jobs, and a direct line to the employer. From Indeed to Glassdoor to Craigslist to Monster to CareerBuilder…each site and hundreds of others paint a picture so sweet and easy that it understandably lures you to a false sense of progress. And then, you wait.

Waiting is a tactic. It is not a strategy. Wait too long, and opportunity is missed. Don’t wait, and you’re painted as “too aggressive.”

Job postings are most often purchased by an employer. It keeps the brand visible, whether there is a real position available of not. Job postings most often refer you to a requisition, not a person. Job postings are cattle calls; simply an attempt to capture a large pool of people, and the largest companies with the deepest pockets – not always the best opportunities – often cast a shadow so large that you cannot find smaller company opportunities. As a result, there is a limiting effect on your ability to find opportunities that are best for you. Perhaps the best opportunity is with a large organization. More likely, there’s a bunch of other savvy, well-trained, dedicated, and tenured folks chomping at the bit waiting for their chance to shine…and they’re already there. If that’s the case, don’t expect career growth. It’s not all bad news. With a big company, your health insurance premiums may be cheaper.

Technology is tempting. It’s easy to click and apply…again…and again…and again. It becomes so automatic that after a while you’d swear on your favorite pair of shoes that you’ve already been through the application. You wouldn’t be wrong. Applications are very similar from company to company. They are part of the hiring machine processing people like chuck through a grinder.

If you’re one of the masses, you cannot distinguish yourself, and you cannot protect your confidentiality. When that happens, you lose control and you abandon leverage in the interviewing and hiring process.

Take control. Target companies rather than responding to job postings. Work with a career coach, or a recruiter with integrity, to sort through the attributes that resonate with you – leadership, culture, company growth, succession planning, learning opportunities, or whatever excites you. Together, you can develop a plan that allows you to discover and explore new opportunities, validate market conditions, interview with companies best suited for you, and have an advocate in your corner helping to build your credibility.

The workplace is turbulent. With unemployment well below 5%, and organizations constricting, now is not the time to cast out your resume and wait. Instead, search your networks. You may already be connected to the person that will help you find your next great opportunity.

David Rose is Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.