Tips to Be a Smarter Job Seeker

John Krautzel
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When you're unemployed, it's all too easy to lose your job-seeking momentum. Turn this around by realizing that being a job seeker is your current job, and throw all of your energy and intelligence into the task before you. Rather than working harder at looking for a job, trying working smarter. Follow these tips to create smart job search practices that could turn the tide and get you back to work quickly.

Set Realistic Goals

Figure out what jobs you can realistically be considered for based on your past experience. Try widening your sphere as a job seeker by doing some skills assessment to see if your skills might transfer into a new field. Research the companies where you'd like to work, and figure how you'd best fit in there and what you have to offer. Plan your workweek as if you were already employed there, setting yourself weekly and daily tasks to accomplish and goals to achieve. These might involve rewriting your resume, applying to a certain number of jobs, making a set number of cold calls or reviving old networking relationships.

Leverage Your Connections

Once you have a list of companies you'd like to work for, think through your personal network to see if you know anyone who works at your dream companies or who knows people there. Ask for introductions or referrals, even if no positions are currently available. As a smart job seeker, you want to do more than just scatter resumes around town. Instead, make a list of people within your network, and set plans to meet with them and elicit their help in your job search.

Hire Professional Help

Don't assume that the resume you've written for yourself is the best possible version you could have. Unless you're applying for a job as a professional resume writer, this task probably doesn't fall squarely within your skill set. Hire a professional to help with your resume, tweaking to make it catch the attention of human resources people, hiring managers and job recruiters. If job recruitment is established within your field, talk to some professional job recruiters to see if they can open doors that you can't reach as a job seeker on your own.

Pinpoint Your Job Search

Be as targeted as possible in your job search. Once you know the companies you'd like to work for, find out how they do their hiring. Register on specialty or niche job boards geared toward job seekers in your field or run by relevant professional associations. If you want to work with a job recruiter, narrow your focus to recruiters that specialize in your industry and who have good relationships with the companies where you want to work.

A smart job search requires a narrow focus rather than broad efforts to find any job at all costs. As a job seeker, make significant choices about the companies and positions you target and the way in which you pursue them. By narrowing your goals and not feeling like you have to do everything on your own, you may just find your job situation changing for the better.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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