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January 19, 2015

9 Steps to a Shorter Job Search

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9 Steps to a Shorter Job Search

By Susan P. Joyce, Online Job Search Expert

1)Have a very good answer for the question, "What are you looking for."

When someone asks you this question, giving an unfocused or unclear response about what you want squanders a valuable opportunity. People who ask are usually interested in helping you. Help them to help you! It may take some time and effort to figure out what you want, but it will be very well worth the time investment!

2) Don't job hunt alone.

Find a buddy, or join a "job club" or job search support group. Members help each other with resumes and profiles, exchange job leads, and expand networks. The old saying "More heads are better than one" is a cliche because it is so true. Often group members become life-long friends.

3) Do at least one face-to-face networking meeting a week.

Follow up on a LinkedIn introduction or other social media connection. Meet a former colleague for coffee or a drink. Attend an "event" with a speaker and official networking. Whatever you find, at least one a week, get out of the house and connect with people face to face.

4) Pay daily attention to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the happy hunting ground for recruiters looking for qualified applicants. It's also the best "social proof" of who you are and what you've done when recruiters and employers look for validation of the facts on your resume or job application. Complete your LinkedIn Profile and be active in several LinkedIn Groups to demonstrate your knowledge, grasp of social media for business and communications skills. Connect with "Open Link" recruiters to get on their radar. Follow your target companies.

5) Don't waste time applying online for jobs that aren't a good fit for you.

Applying for every job you see, regardless of fit, is a waste of time, can damage your reputation with employers and is very discouraging because most employers have several qualified candidates to choose from.

6) Customize your resume and cover letter to the specific opportunity.

Applicant tracking systems are merciless screeners. If your resume doesn't contain the "right keywords" - the ones used in the job description - it won't be seen by a human being, regardless of how perfectly-qualified you might be. This is not something to skip.

7) Have a list of target employers.

Learn as much as you can about these employers and their competitors. Look for personal connections or LinkedIn connections. Join LinkedIn Groups which would be appropriate for those employers, look for activities by current employees, topics that seem to be important to those employers, and, if and when appropriate, reach out via "Reply privately" to comments.

8) Carefully prepare for every interview.

Don't walk into an interview without knowing what the employer does, who their competitors are, where they are located, and how well they are doing (avoid an employer heading for layoffs). If you know the names of the people who will be interviewing you, check out their profiles on LinkedIn to see if you have anything in common or any connections.

9) Focus on learning new skills and staying up-to-date.

Learning may mean volunteering, taking online classes to fill any gaps you have in your skill set, doing contract or temporary work, even starting your own side business. Be sure to update your LinkedIn Profile with these activities.

About the Author

Susan P. Joyce, Online Job Search Expert, has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since 2011. Susan also edits and publishes Follow Susan on Twitter @jobhuntorg and on Google+.

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