4 Job-Search Tips That People Normally Pay Big Bucks To Learn

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Job seekers pay big money for a career coach. Here are some tips you can get for free. The idea of paying someone to help you get a job may strike you as absurd. Yet the practice of using a job coach is growing as workers seek any advantage in a tight labor market. But what would a career coach tell you, if you had the bucks to hire one?

Interviews with career coaches uncovered several key job-search tips. Some of them are quite simple -- but often go overlooked. As Miriam Salpeter, a coach and AOL Jobs blogger, notes: "It's not rocket science."

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1. Don't just send in an application and think your work is done.In a bruising hiring environment, applying online can often feel like a black hole. And that's because it often is. The tendency of job seekers to simply send a resume, and do nothing else is "terrible," according to Michael Melcher, the founder of the New York-based leadership development and executive coaching firm, Next Step Partners. (Melcher is pictured on the right, while teaching a leadership development workshop in Haiti.) Which brings us to the second tip.

2. Figure out who you know on the inside. Check out your social networks, like LinkedIn, and see if you know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone at the company. And don't dismiss third-hand referrals either. A theory called the "strength of weak ties," a term coined by Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter, holds that acquaintances and loose connections are more likely to open up new opportunities than close friends.

3. Pay as much attention to your social media presence as your resume. When a recruiter checks out a prospective employee, it's very likely that they will do a Google search for the candidate. Having a filled-out a profile on LinkedIn can boost your appeal to an employer. Simple steps, like creating a Twitter account with your name, also can help job seekers create a digital presence. (And while you're at it, don't forget to follow AOL Jobs on Twitter.)

4. Use keywords on LinkedIn. Recruiters are increasingly combing the professional career network to fill open slots, says Salpeter. And one way that recruiters search for prospective workers is though keywords on LinkedIn search. "No one searches for 'vice president' because everyone is a vice president." Instead, Salpeter says, job seekers would be wise to use their title, headline and description as a space to describe professional attributes that help you stand out. (As an example: "Spanish-speaking customer services representative.")

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