Tips For Conducting An Effective Job Search

8 Tips For Conducting An Effective Job Search


If you’re conducting an active job search, you’ve probably realized the traditional methods used to obtain employment are no longer effective. If you only apply for job opportunities using job boards and wait for calls to roll in, it won’t get you very far these days. So, I’ve developed eight tips for conducting an effective job search that will make a noticeable difference. Here are the basics:

1. Get To Know Yourself

Before starting a job search, getting to know more about who you are and what you’re looking for is critical. Write down what your hobbies and interest are, take a self-assessment, and be sure to utilize aides like the Career OneStop Website.

2. Ensure Your Application Package Is Professional & Highlights Your Skills

Your application package includes your resume, cover-letter, portfolio (if applicable), and LinkedIn Profile. All of these are very important to your job search.

  • Your Resume - This must be well written, organized in a way where a potential reader can quickly see what sets you apart from other candidates, and identify what skills you will bring to their organization that will bring value. Target your document to each position that you are applying for since most companies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.
  • Your Cover-Letter – This should be a document that displays why an employer should invite you in for an interview and why you would be a good fit for their organization.
  • Your Portfolio – Not everyone will need a portfolio, but if you are in a field that requires examples of your work, a portfolio is crucial to your job search. Include a digital portfolio of your best work—employers want to pre-screen your work before they decide to call you in for an interview.
  • LinkedIn- If you are not on LinkedIn you don’t exist in the employment world. A recent Jobvite survey for 2013 revealed that 95% of employers utilize LinkedIn to recruit new employees. Make sure that your profile coincides with the rest of your “Application Package.”

3. Establish A Brand

Your brand is formed in various ways including in-person, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+), and on personal websites and correspondence. You always want to leave a good impression on others rather it’s in person or online. Step # 1 is so important to branding. You must know what you are good at. You also need to know what skills and expertise you possess that you want to leave with people—this will become your brand. If you perfect the art of branding, employers will initiate contact with you.

4. Network Frequently     

The first place to start when searching for employment is your personal network (former co-workers, family, friends, church members, and even friends on social media). These are the people that know you the most, and will be more willing to refer you for an open position. You must make networking a regular part of your activities, not just during a job search. Join organizations related to your field of choice, attend networking events, and become active on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Do what works best for you and be sure to have balance.

5. Target Desired Companies & Positions

Target positions that you would like to have and companies that offer those types of positions, then see if you have any connections to company insiders (referrals are the leading source for obtaining interviews). Be proactive and contact hiring managers, even when there aren’t open positions posted on their company websites. Introduce yourself and see if you can obtain an informational interview to find out more about the company and what they look for in candidates.

6. Create Job Search Plans & Strategies: Regularly Evaluate Your Strategies

After you have targeted the companies and jobs that you would like to acquire, put together a plan that will allow you to get closer to reaching this goal. Regularly evaluate your plans and strategies and stick with things that have had positive results. If what you are doing is not bringing results, it’s time to try a new approach.

7. Follow-Up With Employers

Once you have taken the steps to apply or inquire about a position, follow-up with employers. Send a quick note that highlights your skills and why you’re an excellent candidate—the goal is to stay on the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

8. Increase Your Marketability While You Search

Don’t get comfortable with your accomplishments, continue to increase your skills and experience while you are conducting your job search— even when you are employed. Seek professional development opportunities to make yourself more marketable to employers.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Darius Harris

Darius Harris, owner of Career SkyRocket LLC, is an experienced resume writer, job search strategist, and presenter. He is also an expert in one-on-one career coaching.


  1. #4 on “Networking” remains as one of the biggest obstacles especially when you go out of your way for someone else and yet unclearly or illogically don’t hear back even after followups despite them being busy or when someone you have connected with before with a relationship built irrationally stops responding to you and yet responds to others when you have done such good and reach out.

    Also, what good does networking do in some situations when it doesn’t surely lead to a job as lately one of my internal contacts was telling how a local university usually consists of a hiring committee to screen out applicants and this nice lady said she stays out recommending people she knows after application has taken place and can only make a recommendation for the applicant she knows well until he/she makes it to a certain round.

    It also hurts when hearing to keep on networking as vague when one has consistently and sincerely networked with reaching out to others and giving his/her time along with ongoing volunteering and nothing has resulted.

    What to do?

  2. Good article but I have one question. With so many companies that now have online application systems how can you follow up with anyone when you’re resume pretty much goes into a black hole of nothingness?

    • That’s a good question Mark. I’d suggest searching the company’s website and/or LinkedIn to find the names of people the in HR department and/or the department you’d like to work in. You can try to contact people that way, so they have a heads up that your resume is coming into their ATS.

    • The key is to alert employers that you are interested in employment opportunities within their organization even before applying if possible. If you do decide to apply first, connect with them on LinkedIn if possible. Search the companies website to see if you can find an email address for the person over the department you are interested in.

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