As the chart shows, a job search consists of four activities: answering ads, pitching your network, contacting target employers and using recruiters. You do more or less of each of the four depending on whether you think it's a good use of your time.
If you have a large and well-connected network, you'll want to devote much of your job search time to using and building your network.
If you have an ahead-of-the-pack work history, are currently employed, and looking for work similar to what you're currently doing, it's worth answering a bunch of on-target ads and contacting recruiters.
If you're out of work and/or a career changer, you'll want to spend little time answering ads. The standard recommendation is to try to convince employers that you have "transferrable skills -- skills used in another context would be applicable on his job. But in today's tight market, that works poorly. If the employer or recruiter wanted someone with little direct experience, rather than going through the rigmarole of placing an ad and screening oodles of applicants, she or he would have hired his cousin.
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