How to Speed Up Your Job Search

2012 is undoubtedly a tough year to be out of work. The recession that hit the country so hard four years ago is still hanging around, and although there are indicators of good news in the future, a true turnaround may still be several years away. Millions of highly-qualified professionals continue to be either unemployed or underemployed, and are now competing with recent college graduates for entry-level positions. The average person spends at least nine months on unemployment, and for many it is upwards of a year. If you don’t have a significant emergency fund saved up that time out of work can be devastating. Patience is key, but if you’re unwilling to succumb to those extended averages, here are a few ways you can speed up your job search.

First of all, spend the time right at the beginning of your job search to zero in on a focus. It starts with your resume, of course, and identifying the possible jobs you are qualified for. But you can waste a lot of time by applying for any position that randomly shows up that is even remotely related to your skill set. So instead of hunting in the dark, lock in a clear focus. Note down the specific jobs you would want, and the companies you would want to work for. Once you really know what you want, you’ll be in a much better position to find it.

In the end, your job search won’t be only about the jobs that match your skills. There’s also the matter of finding the perfect fit for you. That comes down to an analysis of a company’s mission statement as it compares to your overall career goals. Make sure that when you are looking at a company and a position you would like to apply for that you’re also taking the time to uncover all you can about the company. Look for reviews from other job seekers who interviewed with them, and search for news stories and blogs discussing their corporate activities. If you are confident your personal values match up with the company, you’ll have a much better chance of nailing that interview.

A large aspect of speeding up your job search will hinge on time management. It’s incredibly easy to get distracted when you are unemployed and have nothing but time on your hands. You must set up a strategy that will help you succeed. Create your own schedule for seeking out opportunities, submitting applications and following up, and make sure you schedule in breaks as well to keep yourself fresh.

You also must spend your time on actions that will cause the most results. While it is easy to get lulled into spending hours hunting for opportunities on job boards or Craigslist, the fact remains that the vast majority of job placements are achieved through networking. People refer and hire people they know and like. So spend more time reaching out to your contacts for suggestions than doing anything else. The more time you spend networking, the quicker the process will be.

Finally, remember the definition of insanity. The last thing you want to do is continue with ineffective action without assessing potential changes to your strategy. For example, you may be able to create the perfect timer on but why do that if your smartphone has a perfectly good timer as well? If you find after a month or so that nothing has developed, look at your actions and consider doing something differently. By reassessing every month or so, you’ll be in great shape to land a great job in a timeframe that makes you comfortable.

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