Lately when I speak to jobseekers, I frequently hear the same refrain. Candidates express tremendous frustration regarding the length of time it takes to secure employment and the lack of response from employers during the hiring process. Unfortunately, in real life the job search doesn’t happen like an episode of Seinfeld in which George finds a job, quits and then manages to get rehired all in one episode. Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi suggests job seekers plan for the process of job searching to take an average of six months from start to finish. She also advises that patience and persistence are the job seekers friends, which is excellent advice.

Research by application tracking site StartWire shows that only 33% of Fortune 500 companies pass along any of the data they have on hand to candidates, even though 90% of job seekers surveyed said that getting that feedback would make their job hunt less frustrating. 96% of job seekers said they would be more likely to apply for a job at a company where they know they’ll be kept informed. “Companies that are notorious for ‘application black holes’ lose out on potential star employees,” said StartWire CEO Chris Forman.

No wonder jobseekers are often discouraged. That’s why it’s critical to employ tried and true strategies to your job search. Having a proven game plan will give you confidence and sustain you when the going gets tough. Here are five key tactics that will serve you well in advancing your candidacy with potential employers and help you to obtain that elusive dream job.


Yes, like it or not, expanding your contacts in your chosen field and spreading the word that you’re looking for a certain type of employment are still the best ways to access hidden job openings that never get posted on job search sites. Check your timidity at the door and polish your elevator pitch because networking is the proven method for building a rapport with professionals in your field who can introduce you to opportunities that will ultimately lead to the job offer you seek. According to Business Insider, at least 70% of jobs are not even listed and “getting a referral for a job opening from someone who’s already working with the company could give you pretty impressive odds. Only 7% of job applicants get this kind of referral, yet referrals make up 40% of new hires. Clearly, networking isn’t just one potential route to finding a new job — it’s actually the most effective path.”


It’s true that your resume needs to be a well-honed, accurate, user-friendly and impactful presentation of your experience and capabilities. However, it’s become less important than the cover letter thanks to LinkedIn profiles and technology which can isolate keywords and identify top candidates with parity qualifications. The cover letter, on the other hand, is the candidate’s chance to highlight noteworthy accomplishments, express passion for the field, and demonstrate how his/her competencies will make him an asset to the employer. Writing a thoughtful, targeted and relevant cover letter is the best way to secure an interview. So prioritize your cover letter, proofread it carefully, and have a friend or mentor give you feedback on how it reads before hitting the send button.


Take sufficient time to write a carefully considered application, strong cover letter and, when appropriate, tailor your resume to the specific position for best impact before submitting the application.


Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn are job sites that really deliver. Take advantage of the information and listings offered through these and niche job boards that align with your goals. A 2015 Recruiter Nation report by Jobvite shows that 87% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to seek out job candidates. Don’t underestimate the value of these sites as key tools in your job search toolbox.


In order to follow-up with confidence and timeliness, you need to know who you contacted, what you discussed, and when you spoke. Keep detailed spreadsheets so you can knowledgably and appropriately reach out to contacts, recruiters and interviewers to maintain those relationships in a way that reflects positively on your professionalism, persistence and initiative, organizational skills and mostly your genuine enthusiasm for the position.

Because it’s often a long process, be selective in choosing the jobs to which you want to apply so you don’t burn out but rather put forth your best effort with both the application and follow-up. Attempt to keep your energy and spirits up in order to maintain momentum for maximal results.

Most importantly, remember that in today’s ever changing landscape, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times in a career. It will serve you well to master these job search skills in order to navigate career transitions over your lifetime.

DEBBIE VAN SOLKEMA, is a career coach with expertise in guiding leaders towards identifying their passions, teaching them to target jobs that will best utilize their skills and tap their interests, and providing them with the confidence and tools they will need for a lifetime in navigating their careers. To connect with Debbie on how she can assist you and your organization, visit our contact page or message her directly at