Don't Waste Time
I used to work in a college career services office. We weren't responsible for hiring for jobs, internships or for anything else. The college web site clearly lists jobs that are available with instructions on how to apply for them. Despite that, I received several resumes a week asking me to consider a person for employment at our institution. To make matters worse, many of the emails I received were riddled with typos and I really didn't need attachments that I wasn't expecting to receive. I'm probably not even going to open them.
Because I'm polite, I took the time to write back directing the candidate to the appropriate section of our website, which contains all the information they need to apply for a job here. So, not only have I received an email I shouldn't have gotten (and I get way too much already), I've wasted time responding to an inquiry I shouldn't have received and I have one more attachment I need to delete from my computer.
Job Search Don'ts
What has the job seeker in question accomplished? Nothing. Not only have they wasted my time, they have wasted their own. Sending random inquiries isn't going to help anyone find a job. It really isn't. Nobody is going to say "great!" another resume to review. Instead, the email will probably be trashed.
It simply isn't effective to apply for positions that don't exist, to randomly apply for positions where your qualifications don't meet the criteria the employer is looking for, or to send job search correspondence that is any less than perfectly proof-read. There are too many candidates who are following the directions and targeting their job search. They will be the people who get the interviews.
Job Search Do's
What should you do instead? First of all, make sure everything you send out, whether by paper or email, is perfect. Capitalization, grammar and content all need to be perfect. One typo is one typo too many. If you're like me and it's hard to proof your own work, have someone else read it over for you.
Apply for positions that you are qualified for. Focus your job search. Carefully review the criteria mentioned in the job posting. If it's a stretch, make sure you mention why you are qualified in your cover letter. If it's not even close, save your time and the employer's time and don't apply.
Use the time you might have spent sending random inquiries to network. I know two people who were hired within the last couple of weeks because of the networking they did. They approached contacts at companies they were interested in working for and asked for assistance. Remember that college career office I mentioned? If you're a college grad (even from years ago) ask your career services office if they have alumni you can network with. Professional associations are another good source for contacts. Friends, neighbors and acquaintances can all help too.
Finally, and most importantly, if there are specific instructions in the job posting, in the newspaper ad or on the company web site, please do yourself, and everyone else a favor, and follow them!