A long time ago I discovered an extremely useful concept called perturbation point, or just "P" point for short. These are the little critical things you can do to get the biggest results. The following checklist has the little things you need to take care of to get the best results in your job hunt.
1. Have you done a complete and honest self-inventory as to what your best skills and abilities are and what type and level of job you should be applying for? 2. Are you targeting jobs that will best use your skills and offer you most of what you need and value in a job? 3. Are you being flexible enough in what you are willing to do, how much money you need to make and where you can go? 4. Are you using enough resources like networking, going through the best newspapers, magazines and journals thoroughly, checking everywhere on the Internet, calling companies where you want to work, using employment assistance agencies, employing placement agencies, going to job fairs, etc? 5. Are you wasting too much time using the wrong resources? 6. Do you need to exercise, jazz up your wardrobe, get a haircut, go to the tanning salon or anything else just to keep your self-confidence up? 7. Are you keeping busy during your search by volunteering, finishing home projects, working for a temporary agency, or getting involved in the community? 8. Are you applying for the right jobs- ones, which you aren't over or under-qualified? 9. Is your resume the absolute best one page written communication you are capable of writing? Have you bothered to get a second opinion? 10. Does your resume adequately summarize your main talents and give specific examples of your most important accomplishments? 11. Is your resume mistake-free, of high quality print, on bright white paper, headings centered and loaded with energy, specifics and action phrases? 12. Are you individually customizing your resumes enough to particular jobs and using the right industry words? 13. Are you making an effort to contact potentially bad references and try to do some preventative damage control? 14. Do you use the best and most reliable references for the particular job to are applying for? 15. Do you call ahead and warn references about pending applications and go over what you would like them to say? 16. Are you taking the time to do some homework in finding out about the place where you are applying? 17. Do your cover letters address how you are qualified for the job and outline what other value you can bring to the job? 18. Are you addressing your materials precisely the way they are shown on the advertisement or job posting? 19. Are you following directions exactly as to what documents to submit and are you putting them in the right order? 20. Are you sending too little or too much supporting documentation with your application materials? 21. Are you using the least expensive and quickest way to submit your application and get it there in the best form? 22. Do you follow-up with a call to make sure the right person got your application? 23. Are you following-up with the selection process enough, just shy of being a pest? 24. Are you organizing your applications and keeping clear track of what you have done and where you are in the process? 25. Do you have a reliable way of being contacted and responding promptly? 26. Are you changing your approach when you get in a slump? 27. Do you think about what skills to focus on and demonstrate during the interview? 28. Do you take a cheat sheet of reminders to the interview? 29. Do you do everything you can do to create a favorable atmosphere to be able to show your best stuff? 30. Do you remember to practice common manners, like waiting to be told to sit down, using peoples names, not interrupting, saying "thank you" for the interview, etc.? 31. Do you practice pat answers to common questions such as why you want the job, how you are qualified and what your strengths and weaknesses are? 32. Do you get pumped up (or calm enough) for the interview and get mentally ready to demonstrate the right qualities to win the job? Do you know what the right qualities are? 33. Do you plan how you might connect best with the interviewer(s), e.g., what language to use, what to not say, when to go "social," etc.? 34. Do you try to learn anything about the interviewer(s) ahead of time? 35. Do you always know exactly where you are going for the interview and who you will be meeting? Do you write this down? 36. Do you dress most appropriately in regards to the particular industry standards of formal-casual, the right colors and fabrics, grooming, lapel pins, etc.? 37. Are you always practicing a firm handshake, good eye contact, social poise, freedom from distracting mannerisms, proper voice tone and posture, etc.? 38. Do you take all the required things like pen, paper, extra resumes, supporting documentation, etc.? 39. Do you take time to ask questions to clarify what is being asked during the interview? 40. Do you ask questions to show your interest in the other people and company? 41. Do you have a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewer(s)? 42. Do you use the last moments of the interview to leave a lasting impression? 43. Do you ask if you have answered the questions to everyone's satisfaction? 44. Do you do anything to get a good feel for how well you did? 45. Do you send a follow-up thank you fax, e-mail or note after each interview? 46. Do you take advantage of networking other potential jobs known by the interviewer(s)? 47. Do you follow-up with anyone whose name you dropped during the interview? 48. Do you write down a clear time table about the selection process from there on out or anything with which you may need to follow-up? 49. Do you try to get constructive feedback about failed (or successful) applications and interviews? 50. What other important little things are you missing?