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Most job seekers apply for positions haphazardly–sending out an email resume for this opening, a printed resume for that one, sometimes following up and most often not. (Admit it–you’ve done this!)But you’ll get far better results if you first write out a job search calendar, to schedule your efforts over the next 60-90 days.

Then, follow your plan and systematically use as many tactics as possible for each job you apply for. Organizing your efforts this way will focus your job search. Here are 5 easy steps to be strategic about your job search.

Step 1: Choose your target job

You can do so by picking a job title (example: Sales Manager) or skill set to shoot for (example: sales, marketing, management). No target job = no results in your job search. Remember, you can’t score if you don’t have a goal.

Step 2: Choose your tactics

There are many. Among the most effective is networking with your personal and professional contacts. Let people know you’re in the job market and tell them what you’re looking for. Then ask this question: “Who do you know that I should be talking to?” This one question can double or triple the size of your network.

Other job hunting tactics include submitting your resume to online job postings, the newspaper classifieds, recruiters and temp agencies. But try to spend 80% of your time networking.

Step 3: Plan your work

Create a job search calendar. This time of year, you can get free wall calendars from many stores and businesses. Any calendar will do, so long as there’s room to write brief notes for each date. Map out the next 30-90 days with specific goals for every day, such as visiting 5 Web sites, calling 10 networking contacts and mailing 7 resumes.

Post your job search calendar prominently.

Step 4: Work your plan

Devote at least 3-5 hours a day to your job search if you’re currently employed, and 5-8 hours a day if you’re unemployed.

Recognize that your job search is a job in itself, the most important one you have right now. And that means you look for work EVERY day, Monday through Friday. Because just one day skipped per week equals a 20% loss in output. You can’t afford that.

Step 5: Fail your way to a new job

As you follow your job search plan and contact all those people every day, you’re going to hear one word more than any other: “No.”

Learn to embrace failure like Thomas Edison, who “failed” 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb. He said: “Every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

Every “no” you hear in your job search is another step closer to the one “yes” you need to get that position you really want. It’s simply a numbers game–take heart!

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Copyright © 2002 by Kevin Donlin. Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of “Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed,” a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days … or your money back. For more information: http://www.guerrillaresumes.com/

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