This post is Part 2 in our 7 part series on how to manage your job search.

So you need to start looking for a job? Perhaps you just got laid off, you’ve just realized that you need to proactively find a new job or you just need to re-launch your job search after a break. Well, what now?

In this blog post, the second of our series on how to manage your job search, we recommend understanding the most common strategies that can be used during your search. In doing so, you can choose which strategy(s) suits your particular circumstance. Here are the most popular job search strategies today and a brief explanation of each:

  1. Work Existing Off-Line Relationships
    Whether you play bowling once a week, recently participated in a cooking class, participate in networking events, run a professional organization or are a member of your local golf club — if you have access to a member group that enables you to network to 10+ people that you haven’t talked to before then this is a good strategy to employ.
  2. Network to New Offline Relationships
    If you are now looking for work and you have exhausted your usual contacts, then it’s time for you to mine new territory. This doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Pick a group with a large enough contingent that meets on a regular basis. Look for a new subject area that you’d like to explore: a new hobby or a new professional interest area that you need to know more about. Trying to associate this potential new group with your job search makes sense, but it also needs to be fun. More than ever, employers are interested in your hobbies as a way of seeing how you pursue your interests, so go explore.
  3. Work Existing Online Relationships
    A lot of people are using professional online networking tools like Plaxo and LinkedIn, which are truly great resources if used in the right way. Assuming you have a good-sized online network then it’s time to selectively ask those contacts for help. Don’t just send them an email saying “I’m looking for work, can you hire me?” – be more selective and look for specific individuals who are properly connected to the companies that you would like to explore. If you are not already networked online, it’s time to start.
  4. Network to New Online Relationships
    This is best done in conjunction with your target company discovery. Expanding your online network during a job search in some haphazard way is not going to help. Review your target companies and then look to expand your network that gets you into or close to people in that organization (preferably the decision maker).
  5. Work with Recruiters that you know
    Recruiters are one resource that you should not neglect during your job search. Recruiter results vary significantly so hopefully you know which ones you prefer. If you have some recruiters who you like working with, make sure this strategy is one that you employ, but not exclusively. More and more employers are looking for candidates directly so you can’t rely on recruiters alone. Don’t forget to use our Recruiter Rating and Discover tool to help you rate/find recruiters you like.
  6. Find New Recruiters
    A good recruiter is a way to leverage up your resume. He or she should be able to get you into companies and roles that you are qualified for but otherwise would have had difficulty accessing. They should vet the roles for you, know what you like or dislike and not push you into a job that does not fit you (so they can earn a fee). Find recruiters who are respected, recommended and have a good track record of placing people in your industry at your level.
  7. Use Online Job Boards
    Everyone knows about the online job boards: they have been very successful in creating an image for themselves as the place to go to manage your job search. We don’t agree, however we also understand that you can’t ignore them either. So use them efficiently to make your job search more effective (see our upcoming release for tools to help you manage job boards) to understand who is hiring and what positions might be interesting, but do not make this the centerpiece of your job search.
  8. Use Offline Job Boards
    Even though the newspaper industry is now reeling from the effect of falling classified ad revenue, newspaper, magazines and other publications still have ads and in some smaller niche industries, this is still the only place to find the jobs. So if you’d like to use this strategy make sure that the jobs that you want are published offline in a publication that you are now or will receive and review on a regular basis.
  9. Generally you should apply several of the strategies listed above – those that best apply to your situation and your industry. Today there are numerous ways that allow you to conduct your search without leaving your home but our advice is to get out and go meet people. You need to practice talking about yourself and no matter how good you are at online networking, face-to-face networking is best. Networking and learning new things can be a fun and an exhilarating experience so go out there and enjoy yourself!

    A note about language – you’ll notice that we use more sales language in talking about how to deploy these strategies, that’s because it is a sales process. Like it or not when you are in a job search you are selling yourself and you’d better get good at it!

    Step 3: Why Google may not be your ideal target company – 5 questions to ask

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