You Don't Hunt For The Job, The Job Hunts For You
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco published a report that found that most people who get a new job weren't seeking it. Instead, most new hiring presumably comes from recruitment and referrals.
The report found that "roughly three-quarters of job switchers did not report having looked for a new job". This implies that rather than finding those jobs, those jobs found them, with their new employers actively recruiting them or seeking them out through referrals. While the report can't find specific evidence of it, the researchers also believe that the practice of employee "poaching" (firms raiding the competition for workers to do similar jobs) could be another way companies find new hires.Additionally, 42 percent of hires each month occurred at firms that did not report vacancies. It's likely that those new hires went into positions that were never even made public.
So is applying to job postings and want ads futile? Not necessarily. It's long been common knowledge that getting a job is often about who you know, and people still do get hired straight from job postings. Instead, supplement your job search with networking, go to events where you might increase your contacts, and volunteer or take up a hobby that will have you meeting new people and getting out of the house. Start thinking of it not as who you know, but who knows you.