Are You Taking these Key Steps to Land a Job?

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You think you're doing everything you can to land a job, but it's probably not true. Most likely, you're falling into typical traps that prevent many job seekers from advancing their career plans. Evaluate this list and decide if you need to make some changes to push your plans ahead.

Your Resume and Online Profiles
If your resume isn't working, assume it is time to change it. The same is true of your online profiles, such as LinkedIn. If you aren't attracting the attention you need and no one is responding to your applications, assume there is something wrong with your materials. Most likely, you haven't included keywords that employers are using to find someone with your skills. Do a thorough search of job descriptions in your target market and incorporate the words they use to describe their ideal candidate in your resume and profiles.

Focus
If you're applying for 50 jobs a day -- or even week -- you're likely very unfocused and are not putting the time and effort into customizing each application. You may also be making mistakes, such as addressing letters to the wrong employers. Don't waste your time sending out too many resumes hastily. Take time on each letter and resume and customize them as much as possible. If the top three qualifications for the job are attention to detail, ability to work with a team and problem solving skills, the first three items on your resume should emphasize your skills in those areas.

Do Not Stop Networking
Networking does not mean telling everyone you know that you're looking for a job. Instead, consider how you can be helpful to the people around you. Expand your networking circles by volunteering for organizations that are involved in work that is meaningful to you. Don't forget that everything you post on Facebook constitutes networking. If you're constantly updating your stream of information with negative diatribes or critiques, assume you are alienating people who may otherwise be willing to help you. Do not share too much information about you or your personal life online when you're in the midst of a job search, and consider avoiding engaging in polarizing discussions, especially if you have trouble controlling your need to be right.

Rely on Experts
Everyone will have an opinion about your job search. Friends, family and colleagues will be more than happy to provide advice and insights. The problem is, most of those people have no idea how to help you. You have a resume that everyone says is great, but you're not getting any responses? It's probably not as great as they think. There's no one "right" way to search for a job, but take advice that comes from well-meaning, but uninformed people for what it is worth.

Keep At It
Are you giving yourself too many breaks? Job search is a full-time job, and if you're taking too many breaks, you're unlikely to progress. Make sure you're following up on any applications and making a point to schedule in-person networking meetings with people who work in organizations that interest you. While a day off here and there isn't a major set back, make sure you set goals and check them off your list if you want to change your status from "job seeker" to "job holder."
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