It's true the economy has been less-than-helpful in supporting new grads and those out of work in their job search. Still, there are always ways to improve your job searching process, regardless of the state of the economy.
According to U.S. News and World Report, there are a few common pitfalls you may encounter on your job search that could quickly lead you astray.
"[T]he market is often the culprit—but in many cases, the problem is the way you're approaching your search," wrote Alison Green, co-author of "Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results." "These days, a job search can take a lot of work, and if you're not putting in the sweat, you might not see the payoff."
Green notes that it's important to strike a balance between checking online accounts for the most updated opportunities and reaching out to friends and other connections for insight. If you use your physical network of contacts, you could see your chances of getting hired go up significantly - certainly worth the extra effort it takes to reach out to those contacts.
Second, put some extra time into your cover letters. Writing a unique cover letter may sound like a daunting task, but don't forget what this often-mistreated document is good for: helping you stand out among the flock of average cover letters. Take the time to identify what you can offer to a potential employer, and find the words to convey this clearly.
Also, be sure not to take interviews lightly. You should treat every interview like it was that first one you ever walked into, and be prepared for anything.
"If you're not spending at least several hours preparing for an interview, you're selling yourself short," Green added. "You should spend time reaching the employer, but also practicing your answers to likely interview questions and coming up with thoughtful questions of your own. Doing this can dramatically change how well you come across in an interview."
Another mishap can be to not reach out to your references to prepare them for being contacted. It's a courteous gesture to let any of your references know when they might be contacted. This will also give you the chance to speak with your references and let them know exactly what it is you'd like them to emphasize about you if they did receive a call from your potential employer.
You should also be conscious about helping others with their job search. While this not only is a kind gesture, it will help you expand your network and provide you with more opportunities. If you come across an article you think a fellow job seeker might find interesting, send it to them. If you hear of a job posting that would benefit someone else, share it with them. By doing this, you can also expect these contacts to do the same in a similar circumstance.