Boy, that's a loaded question. The answer depends on your age, skill set, work history, geography, and willingness to take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Most books you read won't help you, because they are geared for top performers. There can be great ideas for finding a job, but if you're not in the top of your profession (95% of you), most of the advice actually hurts your ability to find work
Some things I can tell you.
1) Don't pay someone for advice unless you fully understand what they do for you. There are sections that make sense, from personal coaching sessions to resume writing, where segments of the population can improve their chances and profile. Just know that there is no such thing as a secret job market or someone who can get you a job. They can help you, but they can't get you the work. Listen carefully to what they tell you, and trust your gut (don't let your fear control you).
2) If you're really looking for work, it's a 40 hour a week job, and it started the day you stopped working. If you were working, you'd spend 40 hours or more working and getting paid. Why then would you cut that down to 2-3 hours a week when you are looking? Build a schedule, an unemployment schedule, and figure out how to work 8 hours a day looking for work.
This can include:
- networking events
- looking for jobs online
- researching companies
- preparing presentations
- practicing interviews
- recording yourself
- building different versions of your resume
- practicing leaving voicemails
- Meeting with recruiters
- Identifying target lists of companies close to your house
- Working part-time jobs to add to your resources
- Working out daily (from walking to full-on gym rats)
This does not include:
- Spending time with your kids/parents
- Recovering from a hangover
- Household projects that will take six months
- Clicking apply online each morning, then heading out to golf
- Reading blogs, facebook, twitter
- Beating the final level on any game.
It's not that you can't do these things. It's that you can't replace your job-hunting time with these, and that's what so many people do. They let time pass until they are in dire need, and then they let fear paralyze them.
Do you know what the secret of getting a job is? It's activity. It's the same thing as sales. Yes, you can work smarter, and it's a good idea to work smarter, but just as the salesperson who works a strong 40 hours will always have a job, the job-seeker who works 40 hours will always find one. 40 hours is a lot of time. What happens very quickly is the old, not successful ways bore you, leading you to work in new ways, many of which bear fruit.
There is a second secret. It's to start immediately. As in right now. As in stop reading, sit down and plan out 40 hours of job-seeking. No one who trys this fails.