Five Ways to Shake Up Your Job Search

Rachel Zupek, writer

job searchWith 2010 in full swing, it's hopeful that things are starting to look up for those who had a tough time in 2009, professionally or otherwise. While the hope is that those who have been unemployed in recent months have found a job, recent numbers show many people are still looking for work.

Out of the 15.3 million people reported to be unemployed in December 2009, 6.1 million had been unemployed for more than 27 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In December, 4 in 10 unemployed workers were jobless for 27 weeks or longer. That's a long time for anything, especially to be out of work.

This year, try doing things totally different than you've been doing in the past. Write a new résumé, revitalize your cover letters and kick up your job search a notch.

Here are five ways to shake up your job search in 2010:

1. Instead of job searching where you live ... try relocating

We know it's not easy to just pack up and move somewhere for a new job -- we're only suggesting that you think about it. Assess where you are, personally and professionally. If there's nothing keeping you in your current city, expand your job search to other areas and see what you get. It's no secret that some cities have been hit harder than others, so try looking in thriving areas. It definitely won't hurt.

2. Instead of networking with only friends and family ... try broadening your network

Everyone knows that one of the best ways to find a job is through friends and family. Hiring managers are more likely to pay attention to a résumé from someone they trust than by searching through hundreds of applications. If you've been doing this, but your job search is still coming up short, it's time to cast a wider net. Reach out to former co-workers and managers, old college professors or members of clubs or associations you belong to. Take your job search to Twitter or other social networking sites, so everyone knows you are on the hunt. Become a fan of your desired employer's Facebook page and engage with it.

3. Instead of applying only to "new" companies ... try revisiting old possibilities

You might hesitate to reach out to companies you have already applied to for fear of seeming impatient or nagging, but we beg to differ. It never hurts to get back in touch with people you've already contacted. You can let them know you are still looking for work to see if they know of anything that might be up your alley, or you can specify the type of position you were hoping to find in their company. Even if you interviewed with an employer, reach out to them and get feedback on why they didn't hire you. If they chose a more experienced candidate, for example, maybe they have an open position that is a better fit with your qualifications.

4. Instead of focusing on your strengths ... try strengthening your weaknesses

While you should focus on what things you do well, consider that those aren't the things that need work. After all, it's not like you aren't getting a job because you are so good at something, right? Say, for example, that you know you look good on paper and you get a lot of interviews -- but nothing pans out after that. One might guess that your interview skills aren't up to speed. Instead of trying to "fix" something that works (your résumé and cover letter), try spending more time perfecting your interview skills. Review questions you've been asked in interviews before and had a hard time answering, and work through answers to questions you'll be asked all the time, like, "Tell me about yourself," or "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

5. Instead of waiting for a full-time job ... try looking for something in the interim

While most people might prefer to lock down a full-time job, these types of jobs are not abundant right now. Try expanding your search to something temporary or part time. Any kind of work, no matter how many hours you put in, will help you build up your skill set, which can only benefit you in your search for a full-time job. Not to mention, any new supervisors or co-workers that you meet will likely serve as a reference or at least part of your network in the future. Lastly, if you're able to land a part-time gig in an area that interests you and in which you excel, it could lead to a full-time job.

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter:

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