5 Job Hunting Tips

Are you currently job searching? Whether you are looking for a new job or a side gig due to the current economic situation or making a career change to find a better fit, job searching can be difficult and frustrating. Career coaching clients are often overwhelmed with all of the information — and sometimes contradictory advice — that’s found online.

Too many professionals are unsure how to effectively look for a new job, since there are so many resources out there and so many steps to take. The good news is you can find a satisfying job; you just need a plan, dedication, positivity and realistic goals. Here are five basic job search tips for a more effective job search.

— Have a clear direction.

— Use your network.

— Set a schedule and stay organized.

— Read job descriptions carefully.

— Update your signature line and voicemail.

Have a Clear Direction

It’s important to determine what kind of job(s) you want to apply for first, because everything you do and each step you take needs to support that direction. This will help you streamline your search on job boards and LinkedIn because you will know exactly what you are looking for, saving you time and energy. To determine what kind of jobs you want, take some time to think about your professional branding statement. This includes important elements such as your values, interests, strengths, education, experience and personality type.

This may take a little more time at the beginning of your search, but this is essential to a successful job search. Once you are clear on these elements, it will help you stay focused in the job search stage and when you land an interview. You will be able to clearly express who you are as a professional and what you bring to the table. Take some time to journal about these elements to clarify your direction. It may also be helpful to speak to a close friend or career coach to help narrow down your options.

Use Your Network

At least 60% of jobs are found through networking, so you should not overlook the power of networking for an effective job search. Job hunting in your network is not limited to just LinkedIn, you can also include your alumni or industry associations, community organizations and chambers of commerce. Be strategic about your connections and the networking events you attend. Make sure you have something meaningful to contribute to the discussion. Don’t go just to say you are job searching; if you try to make a meaningful connection or two at each event, that will come with the natural flow of conversation.

[See: 15 Best Remote Working Jobs.]

Set a Schedule and Stay Organized

You don’t want to leave your job search to chance. Determine how much time a week you want to spend on your job search and then commit to that. Block out the time on your calendar and then use a spreadsheet to stay organized with your job search efforts. You could include things like keywords and job titles that you frequently search for. You can also keep track of the jobs you have applied for and any next steps for following up. This will help you to save time, since all of the information will be in one place.

[SEE: 10 Companies Offering Health Insurance to Part-Time Workers.]

Read Job Descriptions Carefully

Once you have found a job that you want to apply for, make sure to read the job description and instructions carefully. Do they want you to submit your resume through an online portal? Do they want a PDF of your resume? Do they want a cover letter or a bio video? Do they ask you to submit your application to a specific email address? Failure to follow their directions can lead to your application being rejected.

[SEE: 8 Best Jobs in Finance.]

Update Your Signature Line and Voicemail

These seem like small details, but they can make a positive impression on a hiring manager. Make sure that your contact information is included in your signature line, along with a link to your LinkedIn profile. Your voicemail message is also important and should sound upbeat, professional and confident. Subtle differences between your tone, pace and what you say can change how you come across even in a voicemail.

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5 Job Hunting Tips originally appeared on usnews.com

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