Good jobs are hard to find. Get an edge on the competition with these strategies.
Step 1: Network, network, network Make a list of everyone you've ever worked with, track down their contact information, and shoot them an e-mail saying that you're looking for a job. With social and career networking sites, it's easier than ever to find former colleagues.
Step 2: Get out Get out and meet people. Join professional associations, seek unpaid internships, do volunteer work, and accept every social invitation that comes your way. Expanding your contacts is the best way to tap into the so-called "hidden job market" -- the positions that are not advertised.
Step 3: Approach interviews like client meetings If you get an interview, arrive armed with specifics about how your hiring would directly benefit the company. Give examples of what you'd accomplish in your first six months on the job.
Step 4: Tailor your resume Tailor each resume to the job opening by stressing positions you've held and skills you have that match the current opportunity. If you're responding to an ad, use the wording in the ad to describe your work experience.
TIP: Go to the company web site for buzzwords that will make you seem like an ideal fit.
Step 5: Include a cover letter Customize your cover letter, too. Keep it brief -- no more than three paragraphs. Add a "P.S." that names your greatest strength; the recruiter's eyes will land there first.
Step 6: Send a thank-you note Send thank-you notes to everyone involved in your interview, including the administrative assistant who may have set it up. Personalize them with references to topics discussed in the meeting.
Step 7: Be patient Be patient. Don't get a reputation as the pest who keeps calling the company seeking the status of your application. If you don't hear back within a few weeks, send a brief follow-up letter to the person who interviewed you, reiterating your interest in the position.
FACT: Nearly half of job seekers provide false or misleading information on their resumes, according to a survey, with 20 percent fibbing about their education and 12 percent being less than honest about past employment.