Looking for work is an energy-devouring ordeal, often leading to running in circles and not getting anywhere. A systematic approach can help you focus on your goal, avoid wasting the energy you need to conserve for interviews and employer contacts and lower your stress level.

Some resources you might find helpful include:

1. Newspaper classified. Pro: you know that an opening does exist or a company wouldn’t spend money to advertise. Con: there may be thousands of applicants for one position. Value depends upon the kind of work you are looking for and the uniqueness of your skills and experience. Certainly worth a weekend check but cannot be exclusively relied upon unless you have your heart set on a telemarketing position.

2. Registering with agencies. Pro: they only make money when you obtain work so they are motivated to get you employed. Con: they need you to take a job, any job, so they can earn their fees and they work to keep their real clients, employers, happy so often screen you out of the really good jobs if they have any doubt about how well you will fit.

4. Job hotlines. These are useful for a weekly check-in but they are primarily available with large employers and jobs are more likely to be found with small and medium-sized employers. The same caveat holds true for job fairs.

5. Cold-calling. If your skills lie within a particular industry where employers typically cluster together -industrial parks, medical centers, retail – walking into offices cold, with a smile, a resume, and a confident air, can sometimes identify an open position long before any search for applicants begins.

6. Personal contacts. Listed last but of prime importance. By networking — contacting everyone you know to obtain help, and following up on their contacts — you may be able to marshal several hundred job hunting aides which increases your chances enormously.

7. Prioritize your activities. Assess each method for what looks most promising, try them for a short period, and determine where you, personally, feel comfortable. Spend the major part of your job search time there to avoid squandering your energy on fruitless pursuits.

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