Job Search and Networking: Job Search Savvy

Lesson 1: Job Search Savvy

Job search savvy

When you're looking for your very first job, a different position in your field, or planning to switch to a new career, searching for a job can be a big challenge. While there's no easy way to find a job, the right combination of job search strategies can make the process more manageable.

In this tutorial, you'll learn about adopting the right mindset and using different methods for your job search. We'll also talk about how to stay motivated, follow up, and keep organized as you begin looking for a job.

Adopting the right mindset

There is no question that finding a job can be difficult, especially as the global economy continues to change. While it's helpful to stay informed, it's also important that you don't become discouraged.

Remember that the more jobs you apply for, the more likely it is that you'll get hired. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you to keep pushing forward and continue to pursue job opportunities, even when the job search is stressful.

Watch the video below to learn about having a healthy job search mindset.

Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn about adopting the right mindset when job hunting.

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Additional resources

Check out the following resources for additional information on job hunting and career planning...

    • CareerOneStop: A central resource in the new American Job Center Network, CareerOneStop is a powerful career planning tool. You can browse careers that are in demand, compare different occupations, create a career plan, and learn valuable resume writing and interviewing skills.
    • USA Jobs: Operated by the National Labor Exchange, USA Jobs is another great career planning resource. You can research different careers, find aptitude tests, and calculate your potential salary.
    • What Color is Your Parachute? This guide is updated yearly and is an industry-standard for career planning. You can also visit the corresponding website,

For additional help with researching and planning a career, check out our Career Planning tutorial.

Varying your approach

A cover letter, resume, and other things involved in the job search

There is no single path to finding a new job. Relying on just one approach as you begin your job search will limit the kind of opportunities you can discover, so you will need to use several different search methods.

For example, many people believe that job hunting is simply a process of finding and responding to job postings. And while it's becoming easier than ever to search for jobs online, it's commonly estimated that as much as 80 percent of available positions are never even advertised. Networking with different people can allow you to find opportunities in this hidden job market.

The way you conduct your job search, such as the job boards you visit, how you network, and where you go to uncover opportunities, will largely depend on your needs. It's a good idea to vary your methods in order to be as effective as possible.

Take a look at the scenario below to learn about the importance of varying your job search methods...

Varying search strategies: Ruth

After graduating from a two-year training program, Ruth began searching for a new position as a medical sonographer. She applied to several online job postings that sounded promising, but when she didn't hear anything about her applications, it was difficult not to become a little frustrated.

Rather than give up on her job search, Ruth decided to refocus and diversify her search strategies. She found a retail job at a store nearby so that she could bring in money while searching for the job she had trained for.

While working, she began volunteering for a few hours each week at a local free clinic to build experience and meet people working in the field. She started to build a network with other people in the medical community, reaching out to her old classmates and new friends she met at the clinic.

While she still kept a careful watch on several online job boards, Ruth also worked to make direct contact with offices that were hiring, often by delivering her resume in person.

After several months of hard work, a friend at the clinic told her about a job opening at a small practice across town. She stopped by the office to introduce herself, which impressed its staff.

Based on the strength of her friend's recommendation and her volunteer experience at the clinic, the office was only too happy to offer Ruth a full-time position. By varying her methods and using a variety of job search strategies, Ruth's efforts finally paid off.

Using different methods

As we have seen with Ruth, it's crucial to use a number of techniques when searching for a job. While the Internet can be a very valuable tool for finding job postings, you should also dedicate just as much time to making connections offline and following opportunities as they arise.

  • Networking is the process of making connections and is generally considered the best way to find a job. You can network with just about anyone, both in-person and online. Consider discussing your job search with friends and family, or with people you know from religious or recreational organizations. You can also talk to people you know professionally or academically, or use social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with others in your field.
  • Making polite, direct contact with the people who influence hiring may increase your chances of being considered for a job. Try stopping by a company in person to present your resume, or talking with a receptionist or administrative assistant. If you've dropped off a resume or work samples, you can send a brief follow-up email later on, or even introduce yourself to the hiring manager on a social media site.
  • If you can spare even a few hours a week, offer to volunteer for an employer in your field. You'll be able to gain critical work experience and make important contacts in your industry. offers a great introduction to volunteering for career development.
  • Many career fields have professional or trade associations that you can join to make connections and learn about job openings.
  • The Internet can be a valuable tool for researching and finding opportunities. Use it to research what companies are big employers in your area, or to find specific people to contact in your field. You can also use the Internet to find out which trade or professional associations are most popular in your field.
  • You may consider contacting a headhunter or recruiter to connect you with job openings at specific companies. Most headhunters and recruiters specialize in a specific industry like engineering or healthcare and are compensated by the company to find potential candidates. Always research the reputation of a headhunter or recruiter, and be wary of anyone who asks for money to find you a job.
  • You may want to contact staffing and temporary agencies, which supply companies with temporary or contract workers. Temporary assignments may provide you with opportunities to make connections or gain permanent employment.

Getting started

Looking for a job takes a great deal of time, energy, and effort. Below are different things you will need to begin your job search...

  • Time
    Preparing the necessary paperwork, researching opportunities, and networking can be time-consuming, especially if you currently have another job. Try developing a regular schedule for your job-hunting activities that makes the most efficient use of your time.
  • Internet access
    The Internet is essential to job hunting. If you do not have Internet access at home, you will need to arrange for regular access to the Internet at your public library, coffee shop, Internet cafe, or a friend's house.
  • Email address
    Establish a professional email address, and avoid silly or inappropriate names. In addition, you should never use your current work email address to search for a new job. This practice is unprofessional and could even jeopardize your current employment. Sign up for a free webmail service like Gmail or
  • Necessary paperwork
    Depending on your career goals, you may need to prepare job applications, online resumes, plain-text resumes, job-specific cover letters, portfolios, and thank you letters.
  • Additional items
    Other items you may need include business cards for networking, a professional-looking photo for online networking, and materials for organizing your search, like a job search log.

Go to our Resume Writing and Cover Letters tutorials to get help with preparing your paperwork.

Strategies for success

Two people shaking hands

Once you've started looking for a job, there are different strategies that can make your search more effective. Review the techniques below to learn more about getting the most out of your job search.

Staying motivated

Searching for a job can be a difficult and lengthy process. Even after you've adopted the right mindset and started using a variety of job search strategies, it can be difficult to stay motivated if your search isn't going as well as you had hoped.

Try your best to stay positive and set goals for your job-hunting activities. Goals can help you measure your progress and add structure to your job search.

You might also consider creating a support network of friends and family members who are also looking for new opportunities. You'll be able to share your experiences and help encourage one another to keep searching.

Watch this video to learn more about staying motivated when conducting a job search...

Following up

Another common quality among successful job seekers is a willingness to follow up. Just making a connection or submitting your resume is simply not enough to help you stand out among other possible candidates.

Following up will give you the opportunity to show your interest, assert your qualifications, and establish a positive relationship with the person who may ultimately hire you.

While it's important not to be overly aggressive in pursuing opportunities, following up in a timely, professional, and courteous manner will simply underscore your interest in the position, making a positive impression on your potential employer.

Staying organized

After you've started your job search, you'll understand how important it will be to develop a way to keep everything organized. Imagine how embarrassing it might be to receive a call from a hiring manager and not remember who he is or how you met.

You might consider creating a job search log, where you can document your job search, make a list of potential connections, and keep track of the jobs you have applied for.

Check out some of the different resources below that can help you stay organized during your job search:

  • Download our Job Search Log (.xls) or Google Spreadsheet.
  • With the simple template above, you'll be able to create a simple job search log, keep track of interview dates, and build a list of contacts.
  • StartWire: It can become rather discouraging not to hear back from an employer, especially after all the time spent submitting a job application. StartWire gives you the ability to track the status of your job application with thousands of different companies and even suggests other jobs based on your experience.