Speed up your job search.

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who actually enjoys looking and applying for jobs. The process isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but at the very least, you can make it as short as possible. Whether you've just started your job search or you’ve passively been on the hunt for some time now, here are the five most crucial job-search tips to help you take control of the process and make the best use of your time.

1. Define what you're looking for in your next role

Spend a few hours combing through online listings and you’re guaranteed to find lots of jobs that you could feasibly do. But between tweaking your resume, finding a hiring manager’s email address, writing a cover letter, and sending follow-ups, you could easily spend hours on just one role — even one that might not necessarily be a great fit.

You wouldn’t spend time at work investing in a project with little-to-no ROI, so instead, reinvest a few hours of your time asking yourself a few important questions: What’s the title I want next? What types of projects do I want to tackle? What are my non-negotiables?

Just remember: You won't find the right job for you if you don't know what you really want, and you could waste a lot of time in the process if you don’t figure it out stat.

2. Write your elevator pitch

Once you know what you want, it’s time to tailor your elevator pitch to emphasize what exactly about your background makes you the right candidate. This should be a few short, digestible sentences — preferably no more than three (take into consideration the amount of time you’d actually spend on an elevator ride). Use them to highlight your most relevant accomplishments so clearly that even a complete stranger could understand.

With your well-rehearsed elevator pitch on hand, you’ll be well-prepared for both networking events and the first question any recruiter or hiring manager is going to have for you: Tell me about yourself!

Related: 5 Tips for Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch

3. Purchase a professional resume rewrite

Before you even consider applying to a single job, you'll need to be armed with an updated resume that accurately and effectively reflects your experience. Of all the job-search tips here, this is the only one that can be easily outsourced to experienced professionals and will make sure you’re positioned for the dream job scenario you envisioned in Step One.

Aside from the fact that writing a resume on your own can come with a lot of costly and time-consuming mistakes, purchasing a professional resume rewrite will allow you to spend your time where it really matters.

4. Set achievable goals

It’s easy when you’re unemployed to believe that every waking moment should be spent on applications, networking, and phone calls. The honest truth is that most of us aren’t productive even three hours per day, and the job search is not the time to start setting world productivity records. Determine what times of day you’re most productive and buckle down during those hours. Then create manageable to-do lists for your application-related tasks.

Setting unrealistic goals for your job search will only disappoint you and make the process feel a lot longer than it needs to be.

5. Get your network together

Studies have found that up to 85 percent of all jobs are filled via networking. No matter where you are in your career, you’ve established a circle of people who can be instrumental in helping you find your next job. Updating your LinkedIn profile and adding all of your current and former colleagues is an easy way to expand your reach of opportunities.

And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Former clients, neighbors, friends of friends, and local business owners you know can all hold valuable insight and resources. Find connections at companies that interest you (whether or not they are advertising for open roles) and make a plan for who to reach out to where and when.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you want, an elevator pitch for presenting it, and a top-tier resume to showcase your experience, you have everything you need to maximize your outreach and have productive conversations. You’ll find success in your job search before you know it!

Click on the following link for more job-search advice.

Take the first step to shortening your job search today. Purchase your professional rewrite here.

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