Whether you’re currently unemployed, underemployed, are planning on returning to the workforce after a long time away, or are simply unsatisfied in a current position, the necessity of being able to know how to get a job you like is an invaluable skill.

You’ve probably heard the saying that getting a job is a full-time job in itself, and it is…for those job seekers who send résumés and cover letters blindly for every position on Indeed or Monster that’s even remotely applicable to their skills. It’s not uncommon for job hunters who take that approach to have 40-hour workweeks sending out 50 resumes a week, often with little to show for it. If that’s an ineffective way to find a job, and it is, then what’s the quickest way to find a job? Let’s explore the options:

Online Job Listings: Whether it’s Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Idealist, or Craigslist, sending your résumé and cover letter to positions listed on these websites is, for most job applicants, an ineffective waste of time. Unless your résumé, cover letter, experience, and skills far exceed the other likely candidates for the position, you’re almost guaranteed to spend a lot of time with this approach with few tangible results to show for it.

Temp Agencies: Depending on your experience, skill set, and local market, it could be difficult to get an interview at a temp agency. If you do secure an interview, many positions offered will likely be short-term, and there can be long delays before interviews and placements. Again, unless you are way ahead of the curve, this will probably be an ineffective approach for most job applicants looking to find an easy method to get a job.

Contacting Companies Directly: If there are certain companies that a job hunter might want to work for, contacting appropriate parties at those companies can be an effective method to secure interviews and new positions. Even if there’s not a current opening that fits your skills and experience at the company you want to work for, taking the initiative to contact them directly and express your interest in working for them will help you stand out of the pack and open yourself up to possibilities down the line.

Connecting With People in Your Industry: LinkedIn is an amazing tool to find people in your line of employment and solidify professional relationships with them. Make sure not to ask people you contact for jobs directly in your opening messages. If possible, provide your new contacts with something of value in exchange for their time, such as volunteering to help them in some capacity. Through developing strong relationships with other professionals, and having a mindset of what you can give them, rather than what you can get from them, you’ll begin to be perceived as a perfect fit for many openings that arise.

Your Existing Network: Who better to help you land a job quickly than your existing network? The contacts you’ve made in your life, be they friends, family, colleagues, former employers, classmates, teammates, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, or others you’ve formed ties with, are already there. Of course, the same rule applies – make sure that you have a giving mindset and don’t treat your contacts as a resource only of use to help you find a job.

If you want to save time and make it easy to find a job, it all comes down to face-to-face contact. Whether through contacting companies directly, making new contacts, or looking to your existing network, the smart way to find a great job comes down to the personal touch. Be a standup, bold, giving professional and leave the job boards behind!

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