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How to Job Hunt in a Tight Market

Job hunting is not only time-consuming, it's also stressful because of the extra tasks, meetings and interviews that come with your search. That lack of routine is enough to complicate a day filled with the regular demands of kids and family life. When the job market is tight, chances are your search will take longer. Gathering your traditional job-hunting tools, focusing on quality job listings and searching for hidden opportunities add up to the best chance to keep your search short, sweet and successful.

RELATED: 10 Job-Hunting Tips From People Who Found Jobs

The Basics

"Though job search techniques are changing, there are basic tools you'll use again and again," says career counselor Marion Szabado, of Buffalo, New York. "A resume used to exist as a paper document, though now many successful searches are conducted exclusively online. That doesn't mean no more resume. In fact, it means a leaner and more compelling single-page document, one that stands out both on paper and on a computer screen. Think accomplishments in bullet lists and you have the idea," Szabado says. She also suggests planning and maintaining an interview outfit or two, as well as rehearsing interview skills. "Many clients put together great resumes while giving interviews little attention. Use index cards, practice with a friend or in front of a mirror, whatever it takes to give you experience saying the right things."

Quality Over Quantity

Job hunters like Kym Lino start their search with a broadcasting approach -- hitting every job listing they're even remotely qualified for. Lino told Helen Coster and Seth Cline, writing in Forbes.com in 2010, that she ultimately focused on a job that interested her, took more time with her application package and got an offer within three weeks. Szabado adds: "If you have 20 potential job listings and four hours to address them, ask yourself about the compromises you're making. Yes, you can hit all of them with a generic resume and cover letter, and all will receive another generic resume and cover letter. Reduce those 20 to the four that really excite you, and you have time to research each opportunity, as well as time to customize your resume and cover letter."

The Hidden Job Market

There are jobs out there with no job bank listings available to you. Up to 80 percent of job openings many never have a formal posting, reports Nancy Collamer in Forbes.com in 2013. Networking is a buzzword often connected with hidden job listings and it remains effective, though the nature of career-based networking is changing with social media. "LinkedIn is always open on my work computer," says Szabado. Collamer also stresses the importance of reaching out to employers you admire and want to work with, even when there is no outward sign that the company is hiring.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Crack The 'Hidden' Job Market

New Alternatives

It wasn't that long ago that online job boards, such as Monster.com, were the new kids on the job-search block. But they're more the old guard now -- aggregate career sites are the new rage, since these combine job listing information from job boards, news sites and company listings. "There are applications and services such as Kijiji, Craigslist and TweetMyJobs that augment traditional sources through newspapers, trade journals and the like." says Szabado. "I can't say enough about LinkedIn. Learn it, use it and keep it up-to-date. I can foresee a time when people's career identities are tied to their LinkedIn presence more completely than the jobs they hold. It's that powerful."

Photo via George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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