Five habits for an effective job searchA job search in an ordinary job market is often very challenging.  Add a struggling economy and job searching can often seem like you’re fighting an uphill battle to the top of Mount Everest.  It’s important to develop an efficient and effective job search method right from the beginning.  Using these five habits will help you to make the most of your job search journey:

1. Use technology wisely. The scope and breadth of the job search, has changed dramatically in the last few years.  Job hunters are no longer reliant on newspapers to find open positions.  The advent and increased efficiency of technology has opened a new world. For those who have not had to search for jobs recently, this opens a whole new spectrum. Social networking sites such as Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace have connected seekers to recruiters more directly.  It also allows you to keep in touch with colleagues that may have inside access to jobs that are not advertised in the traditional mediums.  Utilizing tools such as books and or online virtual job fairs will increase your leverage. Learn to optimize your online presence.

2. Use your free time productively.
This is an opportune time to pursue professional development.  Participate in classes, seminars, webinars, and industry conferences. There are a wide range of free or low cost programs that you can attend to enhance your knowledge and skills. 

3. Practice interviewing skills.
Prolonged periods of unemployment can lead to stale interviewing skills. As desperation starts to set in, your interview technique can become a plea for work instead of presenting your best foot forward. Use the time to polish and perfect your interview skills.  Find a partner to role play with.  If you have an audio-visual device, use that to look and listen to yourself in order to improve your interview performance.

4. Seek assistance. Many books will tell you to find a qualified career coach in order to prepare yourself for the next career move.  If paying a career coach is not an option, take advantage of the wide variety of government nonprofit programs, faith-based organizations and college/alumni career centers.  The mission of these programs is to assist the unemployed and underemployed in finding a career.

5. Position yourself as an expert. One way for others to find you is to make yourself easy to find.  Establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Write articles, give presentations to organizations, get involved and take a leadership role.  Not only will this increase your presence, but it will also provide you with networking opportunities and, build the reputation as an expert in your field.

Despite a troubled economy, employees and job hunters are not powerless.  It is possible to maintain control over career development.  By practicing these five effective habits, you can increase your marketability in a tight job market.