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Job Search Strategies That Will Make or Break You

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** This article originally appeared on the blog ****

By Kristen Carter

Contributor, Career Services

“I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs” is not an uncommon statement heard in my role as a career coach. However, this immediately sends up a red flag: you’ve cast out a wide net in hopes of receiving a few bites. The problem with this approach is that you are likely not setting yourself apart from other applicants or customizing your resume for the job, and that leads to the question: are you submitting too many job applications?

Personally, I find less is more when applying for jobs. The focus should be quality over quantity. While desperate times in your job search may cause you to use desperate measures, be intentional about not demonstrating to potential employers that you are in fact desperate and willing to take anything.

To do this, first and foremost, avoid communicating that you are a “jack of all trades.” The latter part of this figure of speech is “master of none,” and while you may think it is a strength to be competent in many skill areas, it suggests to the hiring manager that you do not excel in any particular one. Employers don’t want to hear that you can do anything because it conveys that you lack direction and focus.

Secondly, be selective. Don’t apply to all of the various positions a company has posted. Hone in on the few that best match your skillset so that the employer can see that you really want a particular job and are not simply settling for any position since you have no other offers.

If you’ve already sent out what feels like, or may literally be, hundreds of applications, it may be time to take a step back and do some prep work before submitting any more applications. networking has become a large component of the job search, but few job seekers have really mastered this strategy. In her article “Quality vs. Quantity: Will Applying to More Jobs Help or Hurt?,” Career Counselor Emily K. suggests using your network – among a variety of job search methods – via social media, colleagues, and alumni to make connections and hopefully obtain job leads.

In summary, avoid having an irrelevant application by taking the extra time to build up your network, be selective and only apply to those jobs that match your skillset, and customize your application materials to the job.

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Good luck in your search,


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