This is my list of how to find a job.
1. Research companies within a fifteen minute drive. Use Google maps or the library or just drive around. Build that list, and when someone asks you what you're doing, give them that list and ask them who they know at those companies.
2. Build a list of companies you know you want to work for based on what they do. Try to find people you know who work there, and repeat the referral strategy.
3. Work out. Whether it's an hour walk or two hours at the gym, your physical appearance has an impact when you interview. Don't lie to yourself - you're judged by how you look, and any improvements will make a difference when you get that interview.
4. Read. Yes, this counts as looking for a job. Read business books - read blogs, and then add in good literature. Some interviewers love people who read books. It gives you a reference point for networking events. And few people do it.
5. Practice your phone and voicemail etiquette. Call your own phone and leave twenty messages. What do you sound like? What do you want to sound like? Write down a list of interview questions, and then record yourself answering them.
6. Record yourself with video. Repeat number five, but do so with a live camera. How can you improve your interview? Do you slouch? Do you not smile enough? Are you self conscious? Do you ramble on?
7. Know how much you need to make. Use the time you have to address your finances. Look at your bills. Make a budget. And know, to the dollar, what you'll ask for in salary. If a recruiter or manager asks - tell them. One number. Be firm. Never give a range or say it depends.
8. Know what you want to do. Yes, you can do many things, and you are open to all of them. But if you give an answer like that, no one can help you, and they won't want to. Pick one job title, and when someone asks, tell them that's the job you want. You can change that job title every day - but when speaking with someone or emailing them - pick one title.
9. Stop asking for coffee. If you haven't done 1-8, you're wasting the time of your contacts. If you can get someone to meet with you, show them what you've done, and they'll be far more motivated to help you.
10. It's smart to post your resume on job boards. Dice, Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, a LinkedIn profile - they all help. Searching for jobs is harder, because everyone clicks Apply. It's not that applying is bad, it's that it's a low return.
So - use the job boards to research the types of jobs you want. Don't restrict it to your area. Find titles, keywords, descriptions of jobs you've done, and use that to boost your profile and resume, and then identify companies that hire for the jobs you want to apply to. If you can get in front of a recruiter or hiring manager before they post the job, you can get to the front of the line. If you're resume #469 out of 700 that day, you're not getting noticed.
Most people don't want help with their job search. They just want a job. If you will do 90% of the work, your friends and contacts will often help you go the extra 10%