Career Column: Improving Your Job Search Strategies

By Dave Opton

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Executive career advice from Dave Opton, founder of ExecuNet.

Dear Dave:

After being laid off in February, I've spent the past 10 months searching for a new opportunity. The length of this search has become an increasing source of frustration, and as each day passes, I'm becoming more discouraged. Do you have any suggestions for breathing new life into a job search?


Dan M.

Dear Dan,

You're not the only one who feels this way, especially at this time of the year. And whether you've been in a job search for 10 days, 10 weeks, or 10 months, the end of the year is an excellent time to evaluate and improve your search strategies.

More Executive Career Advice
How Hard to Push for Referrals?: When to persist, when to let go.

Switching Industries: Putting together an effective plan.

Making Networking Calls Count: The key is to be prepared. Here's how.

Aggressiveness While Interviewing: If you can fake sincerity, can you fake aggressiveness?

Reference Checking By Recruiters: Should you give a recruiter references early in the search process?

The Recruiter's Role In Negotiations: Always remember who the recruiter represents.

Tips On Videoconference Interviewing: There are tricks to handling a video interview.

With that in mind, following are a few suggestions ExecuNet.com recently provided to members looking for ideas to improve their job search in the coming year:

Build Your Brand

Make a concerted effort to enhance your visibility. Contact your industry association and volunteer to help by joining a committee or working on a special event. Seek out speaking engagements or volunteer for projects that will put you in contact with other professionals in your field. Whatever you chose, your efforts should result in greater visibility in your industry, prospective company, and/or function.

Develop a Networking List

If you don't already have a list of networking contacts, make one. It can be prioritized into three groups: people with hiring authority, friends and colleagues who may have some influence on those with hiring authority, and people of influence who you only know marginally but who may be of help. Revisit this list once a month to add new contacts and update existing ones. Make it a point to stay in touch with each contact.

Boost Your Skills and Energy

Evaluate which leadership or functional skills you need to enhance and then seek out a course or seminar to improve those skills. Whether it's communication, computer, organizational, or a variety of other skills, getting outside help can give you a fresh outlook and help you be more effective. With the overall pool of executives shrinking, those skills will become a vital asset not only to future job searches but also in maintaining a successful career once you land.

Revamp Your Resume

Even if you think your resume is adequate, chances are there's room for improvement. A review of the structure, wording, and content of your resume is essential to ensure you're putting the best foot forward.

Look Within

Think about your professional needs and expectations. Consider your value system and your ideal type of employer, corporate culture, and immediate boss. Rank these needs in order of importance, and when an offer is presented, you'll be better prepared to evaluate it.

I hope this is helpful.


Dave Opton is CEO and founder of ExecuNet, an online career services center for executives. Questions can be sent to Dave at deardave@execunet.com, he can't answer each individually but look for yours in an upcoming column.