It's easy to exhaust your resources and still come up short during a job search. Pushing yourself day after day and week after week, until you throw your hands up in frustration thinking you'll never see that light at the end of the tunnel or cross the finish line. Athletes call it "hitting the wall.
But are you really doing everything you can to find a new job? Here are 10 key moves for job searching in today's competetive and unpredictable market.
1. Search Every Day
This is easier said than done, but consider this: 62 percent of hiring managers said they are filling open positions within 30 days and 35 percent are filling open positions within two weeks. Procrastination is your enemy. You need to apply to jobs as soon as they are posted in order to have the best chance.
2. Cultivate Your Network
Experts say approximately 75 percent of jobs are filled by referrals. It's not what you know, it's whom you know -- or, more precisely, who knows you! Now's not the time to lay low socially. Get out and circulate! Developing a network of contacts who can hire you or recommend you to others is your single most important task.
3. Recruit Recruiters
Get in touch with as many recruiters as possible who work in your area of expertise. Even if they don't match you with a job, they can give valuable advice on your resume and interview style. Plus, asking others in your field for names of recruiters they know is a great, low-pressure way to network and get the word out that you're available.
4. Create a Soundbite
Know your strengths and be ready to talk about them. Hiring managers predict how well you'll perform based on your past accomplishments, so package your experience in terms of goals achieved, abilities developed and lessons learned. Plus you never know who you'll meet on an elevator or in line at the grocery store. Practice telling your "stories" into a tape recorder or to someone you trust. Rehearse stories about your professional accomplishments and answers to common interview questions.
5. Be Savvy About Online Resumes
Post your resume online and include keywords relative to jobs you might be interested in. This increases the chances of employers finding your resume when they search for candidates based on particular criteria. The keywords they are looking for are not the verbs stressed in paper resumes, but nouns such as job titles and technical skills. To find out the buzzwords you should be using, read the job posting or obtain the actual job description. And when emailing a resume, always use a subject line that includes the specific posting or reference number. And, never send your resume as an attachment, instead paste it into the body of your e-mail.
6. Become Your Own Boss
More companies are retaining independent contractors for individual projects. Freelancing in your field will keep your skills fresh and provide you with a new base of contacts. It's also a great way to showcase your talents and land a permanent job in the organization. Check out Web sites specifically dedicated to freelancers like Sologig.com.
7. Go Government
The federal government is the nation's largest employer, and the growth of government jobs has outpaced that of private-sector jobs for the past 25 years. Jobs with the federal government can be found nationwide. Plus, with almost half of its current 1.6 million employees will be eligible for retirement between now and the end of 2008, hiring managers will have many slots to fill.
8. Read Trade Magazines
Write down any company names you come across to research for job openings. Learn about best practices in the industry and keep watch for seminars and workshops. Plus, keeping current with trends and forecasts will make you an asset to employers.
9. Take Care of Yourself
Physical activity is good for both body and mind, so make sure you get plenty of exercise. Eating a healthful diet, getting proper rest and scheduling time to be with friends and family also will help you feel positive and make a good impression.