It’s been over a year since I quit my job to travel.  Now that I’ve been back on the job hunt for a month, I’ve assembled a list of ways to streamline your job search.

  1. Set up RSS feeds. Just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean that you want to spend hours every day combing through the same websites.  First, create a list of sites that you frequent for your job search.  Then, using iGoogle (personalized home) or Netvibes, create an extra tab and start adding RSS feeds and/or bookmarks (if RSS isn’t available).  I use Craigslist.org, Indeed.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and a few industry/regional specific websites.  I also have a Note widget on my iGoogle that I use to record the date, company and position I applied for, just for future reference.
  2. Template your resume and cover letter. By assembling several resumes and cover letters you can save time when you actually find a job to apply for.  I’m not suggesting you do a “find and replace” on the company’s name, but if you have different cover letters geared towards different industries and highlighting specific skills, it makes it that much easier on you to personalize it further.  Why reinvent the wheel everytime?
  3. Put the word out. Assuming you’ve already assembled a killer resume, email it to your network.  While friends and acquaintances are higher in quantity, people who have seen you in action (coworkers/bosses) are usually more valuable, leverage that relationship.
    In search of desk and a job.
  4. Manage your online presence (eg. Sign up for LinkedIn). As much as I loath using internet marketing buzz words,  if you’re on the job hunt it’s imperative that you use it to your advantage.  Not only should you know what the first 10 Google results are for your name, but you should be on LinkedIn (and actually using it).  Also, if your Facebook and MySpace profiles aren’t set to “friends only” or “private”, take a look from a future employer’s perspective.  Even if you’re employed you should be aware of this.  Last year, I had the laughable good time of looking at my assistant’s MySpace page to discover that his “cronic migraines” were instead hangovers (as posted back and forth between himself and a friend).  Thanks for making my job easier buddy!
  5. Find ways to stand out from the noise. Seth Godin and Auren Hoffman had good posts about this recently.  Economic downturns flood the job market with “talent.”  However, it’s also a great time to let go of under-performers.  So while you might be an A-player, your resume will blend in with all the C-players out there.  So find a way to stand out.  A few ideas:  make your cover letter content useful, get recommendations on LinkedIn,  leverage your contacts who can attest to your A-playeresque (my new word) qualities as recommendations.

Along with the above tips, I also try to allot a specified amount of time per day for job searching, (almost no exceptions).   By living your life as if you were gainfully employed — including getting up at a reasonable hour and putting clothes on — your job search is just part of your daily routine.  Personally, this puts the “demoralizing” part of being unemployed to a minimum.

Got any job searching tips?  Do share!