According to a study done by Jobvite, 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find new talent. But unless you understand the recruiting industry as it is set up today, that statistic doesn’t mean much.

Recruiting has two functions; sourcing and screening. In some organizations, these two activities are done by the same people. In larger companies, these are separated out. The sourcing recruiter, or researcher, performs advanced searches on Google, LinkedIn, and other resume depositories, in order to build a list.

Next, the screening recruiter takes the best of that list through a procedure, usually starting with a phone call to determine interest. In many cases, if you simply show up online in all the right places with all the right content, you will be found.

The old way of thinking about finding a job was actually quite simple. Wait for a job opening, then submit a resume. These days, organizations are looking for candidates long before jobs open up.

In fact, many organizations are starting “talent communities” which is a database of candidates who’ve shown interest in their company but are not attached to a specific job yet. In talent communities organizations have a chance to start building a relationship with you. And you are given an opportunity to disclose more about who you are and what you’re interested in.

Then when jobs do open up, they simply look at their talent community and send emails out to their top prospects. Jobs don’t need to be posted on job boards anymore. So if you are sitting around waiting for openings, you’re missing the boat.

Talent communities are starting to be built through social media channels as well. Very often you can join a talent community by linking a Facebook or LinkedIn account. At VMware, they build talent communities by engaging in dialogue over Twitter and Facebook. Candidates who talk to them the most over these channels tend to have the first opportunity to apply to actual jobs.

At Nike, they let college students at job fairs join their talent community from their mobile devices. Instead of having to wait in a line of 300 other students, only to get to the Junior recruiter who tells you to “apply online”…simply fill out a simple opt-in form and start interacting with the campus recruiter virtually. If they like what they see from you, you’ll know it.

So if you are sitting around waiting for job openings, you are probably missing 80% of the real opportunities out there. Instead of trolling job boards, start building relationships with your target organizations online.