Effective Job Search

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Try following these four steps to jumpstart your stalled search:

1.Think quality, not quantity
I don't want to hear that you've answered 200 ads or listings or that you've mailed your resume to 500 companies. That just shows you've mastered your word processor's mail merge function. A job search is not about numbers -- it's about quality contacts. There's no way you can personalize and customize your resumes and cover letters to appeal to 500 employers. So, keep the number down to a manageable amount. You're better off contacting 20 employers per week than 200, if those 20 contacts are quality ones.

2.Troubleshoot the tools of your search
Make sure that the tools of your search are up to par. Problems with your resume, cover letters, references, interviewing technique, or phone manner can turn off prospective employers in a flash. Go back over your written materials to check for typos, misspellings, and other errors and to make sure they're strong marketing tools, not just dry documents. Get other people to look at them and pick up on any problems you've overlooked. Do the same critique of your interviewing style and phone communication techniques. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to conduct mock interviews or phone calls with you to try to identify any flaws in your approach.

3.Jumpstart your networking
Sometimes job hunting can feel like exploring the dark side of the moon. You've launched hundreds of resumes into cyberspace and left Countless messages in the never-never-land of voice mail, but you've found no signs of life. What your job search needs is some old-fashioned human contact. Get up off your duff and go to a meeting, conference, seminar, party, or any event where you can talk to people who might be able to give you advice or leads to jobs.

4.Get professional help
Job hunting can be a lonely and confusing process. You may not have the knowledge required to troubleshoot your resume and brainstorm new search strategies. You may need some moral support before you venture out into the sometimes intimidating world of networking. If you don't want to go it alone, or think you could benefit from some expert advice, consider meeting with a career counselor or professional job search coach.