Top 10 Ways to Jump Start Your Job Search

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Top 10 Ways to Jump Start Your Job Search

Job hunting has never been made out to be an easy task and, given the current economic climate, it’s not about to get any easier. Whether you’re new to the job market, looking for the next step in your career or simply a new career altogether, the following are ten ways to make your job search less nerve-wracking and your search results more fruitful.

  1. Get organized – Looking for a job is a job within itself, and it needs to be treated like one. Set yourself up with a schedule for job searching, writing inquiry letters, responding to e-mails, etc. Also, be sure to set aside a chunk of time every day when employers can contact you, making sure you have all your reference material at hand when they do (resume, notes, questions to ask), and list this contact schedule in your cover letter.

  2. Search smart – Everyone knows it’s easier to find a job when you already have a job, but it’s not advisable to look for one using your work e-mail or computer. With the way businesses are monitoring their personnel nowadays, you don’t want to tip off your employer that you’re thinking of jumping ship. No matter how you feel about your current job, your boss won’t be pleased that you’re searching for a new one on their dime.

  3. Find a happy medium – While it’s good not to make your search field too narrow, it’s equally bad to make it too broad. If you have a particular field in mind, make sure your results reflect that. There’s no sense in wasting your time filtering through hundreds of jobs you don’t want or getting discouraged when your overly specific search comes up empty.

  4. Do your research – Find out what career paths, job sectors and locations you’re interested in as well as what companies you want to work for. Try to find a job that speaks to you instead of just pays the bills.

  5. Shadow someone – Ask to shadow someone who holds your desired job title and get a look at what a typical work day is like for them. Consider it a trial run to see if the job is really for you or not.

  6. Create a first-rate resume and cover letter – Your resume and cover letter need to make you stand out from the crowd. Enlist the help of a professional review service if necessary, but always, always, always proofread before sending out en mass to employers. Typos may be trivial, but they can cost you your shot at an interview.

  7. Make social networking work for you – Set up searchable profiles on LinkedIn, VisualCV and Facebook that showcase how you want employers to view you. Use these sites to highlight your well-rounded interests and hobbies along with listing your values skills and assets as an employee. Don’t use them to bad-mouth former employers or co-workers, leave offensive or political remarks off your page, and choose a profile picture you wouldn’t mind a future boss seeing.

  8. Expand your search area – It’s important not to rely on online job banks alone. Chances are, even after completing a stellar job profile online, your inbox is unlikely to fill up with offers as quickly as you had hoped. To increase your chances of getting a response, utilize as many job search opportunities as you can. Attend a career fair—dressed professionally, with several copies of your resume—or peruse the classified ads in the newspaper, sign up with staffing firms that find work for you or simply use your existing network of friends, family and even co-workers to see if there’s anything available.

  9. Select the best references – A good reference can make all the difference when employers can’t decide between candidates. Make sure that your references are a blend of people who know you personally and professionally, unless otherwise requested, and don’t use family members unless you’ve officially been employed by them. Be sure they can express your assets and qualifications to a future employer, and always do the polite thing by asking before listing them as a reference.

  10. Practice for interviews – A great time to acquaint yourself with interview protocol is before you have a specific interview lined up. There are countless websites and books available, comprising of basic interview questions and etiquette. By knowing what a future employer may ask you, you’ll be better prepared to answer when the time comes instead of stumbling through a series of “uhs” and “ums”. Also, if you do have a specific interview to prepare for, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the company and its key interests. Your potential boss will be impressed that you’ve done your homework.

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