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Job Search Stuck? How to Unstick Your Job Search

Top Ten Tips for Getting Your Job Search on Track


When your job search is stalled there are ways to unstick it and get back on track. It can be as simple as making sure you are finding the right opportunities to apply to, or as complicated as having to reconsider your career options.

1. Check the Job Listings

Copyright: Sandy Jones
When your job search isn't proceeding as fast as you'd like, make sure that you are using all the job sites (not just one or two of the major job banks). Not all employers list on all sites, so spend time checking the job banks, the niche sites that focus on your career field(s) of interest, and the local sites that list jobs where you want to work.

2. Create a Professional Brand

Copyright LinkedIn
It's important that the information employers can find out about you online is professional. Many employees will Google candidates for employment and it's important to make sure that what they read is relevant. Inappropriate blog posts and MySpace pages, for example, have cost applicants a job, in some cases, before they even got a chance to interview. Here's how to create a professional brand.

3. Focus Your Job Search

Copyright Marcela Barsse
Are you applying for the right jobs? I've received resumes for a programmer position from someone with a background in childcare (and no programming skills) and for a part-time temporary office job from a high level pharmaceutical salesperson. The first question any hiring manager is going to ask themselves is why are you applying for this job? They probably aren't going to ask you, because your resume isn't going to make it to the interview pile. The candidates who will be interviewed are those whose skills and qualifications match the job description. The job search engines are a good way to focus your job search and find listings that match the keywords from your resume and for the geographic location where you want to work.

4. Get Job Search Help

Copyright: Jason Stitt
Sometimes, even when we do all the right things with our job search, it's hard to get unstuck. When that's the case, it's time to get help. Here's how job seekers can find free, or inexpensive, resources in their geographic areas including career counselors and coaches.

5. Get LinkedIn

Linked In
If you're not using LinkedIn, you should be - even if you aren't currently looking for a job. It's a terrific way to connect (professionally) with colleagues and to increase your online visibility so employers and recruiters can find you.

Take some time building a personal profile and making connections. I check once a week or so to see who's new on my Colleagues list and who I can connect with to Expand My Network. Also use the Groups section to connect with alumni from your college or university or previous employers or to find professional networking opportunities.

6. Revamp Your Resume and Cover Letters

Copyright PenelopeB
Have you taken a close look at your resume lately? Is it well-written without typos and grammatical errors? Does it look good at first glance - is it clear, simple, and easy to read? How about your cover letters? Are you taking the time to write a targeted cover letter for each position you apply for?

If it's been a while since you spent time working on your application materials (and I do know it's hard work) perhaps your resume needs a makeover.

7. Try Temping

© Tom Gufler
A temp job can be a way to earn extra cash, to gain experience in industries and careers you might not have otherwise thought of trying, or can even become a career. If you're really stuck, consider a temp job as a way to earn money get through a difficult time and as a way to possibly learn new skills.

8. Use the Help Wanted Ads

Copyright: Michal Rozanski
If you think that help wanted ads are an antiquated way to look for a job, think again. Some companies, especially those who want to get local applicants, only advertise in their local newspaper or pennysaver. Check the newspaper's web site to see if the listings are online if you want to save the price of a paper or don't want to wait until it's delivered to apply.

9. Use Job Search Tools

copyright zimmytws
Are you using all the available tools to help expedite your job search? There are tools, gadgets, and widgets that can help you manage and expedite your job search. These time savers are worth using to help get your job search started or back on track.

10. Change Your Career

Copyright Lisa F. Young
Yes, I know this is a dramatic option, but if you're not having luck finding a job in your career field, consider what else you can do. We all have transferable skills we can use to move from one industry to another. When your job search is stuck, be sure that you are carefully exploring all the available alternatives.
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