How to job hunt in a stubborn job market
The job search news isn’t great…The feds report no new jobs added in August.

What can you do to improve your chances in this stubborn market?

Pause, but don’t stop.

If you don’t have a great network and job search materials at-the-ready, facing an unexpected job loss can be very overwhelming. Take a moment to take stock, but don’t take a month. Consider potential next steps. Assess your skills and figure out what you offer that is unique and special. In an environment where many people are looking for opportunities at once, you need to be able to identify what sets you apart.

Avoid sending applications without giving each one your full attention. Applying for every job that crosses your path is not going to help you land something sooner.

Clean up your digital footprint.

Especially if you’ve been thrown into a job search unexpectedly – IMMEDIATELY clean up your social networking profiles so that they are professional and wouldn’t cause any potential employer to think twice about hiring you. (Including your photos – make sure you are dressed like you are ready for work in your highlighted pictures.) Set a Google alert so you know when your name comes up online. With the majority of employers researching candidates online, an un-professional comment or picture may be the difference between getting the job and being the #2 choice.

Network smart.

You already know. Network, network, network. But, do you know how? If you’re not familiar with social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogging, etc.), now is the time to get familiar!

When you are planning your networking, focus on information gathering and sharing. Don’t ask for informational meetings to discuss your need for a job. If that person doesn’t have a job to offer, he or she will probably not want to meet with you and will suggest you contact HR.

The key with your networking is to expand your group of “loose contacts” – people who don’t know you well, but are willing to do what they can to help you achieve your goal. If you can present yourself as talented and skilled and make a personal connection, you will get much further with your job hunt.

Job hunt full time, but don’t be a workaholic.

Make a plan. Get up, get dressed, make appointments, keep a to-do list. Have goals for your job hunt as you do for your work life. I don’t have to tell you that this is a stressful time, but don’t feel the need to be job hunting 100% of your day. Take time to enjoy yourself and seek supportive groups to help you get through this tough time. Take time to vent and to be angry, but try to achieve a positive outlook, as that will help you in the long run.

Consider the cost benefits of seeking career advice.

The fact is, most people don’t have a very good resume and have no idea how to search for a job in today’s economy. In a competitive environment, your job seeking materials (this includes your linkedin profile and web 2.0 presence) will be even more important. Money may be tight, but hiring a coach and/or a resume writer might be just the boost you need to propel your search.

Consider the cost of unemployment and the fact that you are much more likely to land a job in a timely way if you have a great resume, understand how to market yourself and are well prepared to interview and negotiate.

The list of things to do when suddenly facing a job hunt is very long…Those who make a plan and methodically move toward their goals are most likely to achieve them.