Giving Your Stalled Job Search a Jumpstart.

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So, you've been job-hunting for a while, and you've hit a dry spell. Your interview suit is gathering dust, your diet consists mainly of Froot Loops, and you're way too invested in daytime television. Your search needs to see some action, and soon. Here are a few tips to give it the boost it needs. 

Rethink your cover letter.

Be honest. Are you sending the same cover letter to every company? We know, it's much easier to copy and paste, but if you bait your hook well, you might get more bites. For every job you apply for—or at least the ones you really want—write an individualized cover letter telling them why you're the perfect candidate for their business. People know a form letter when they see one, so give them a personalized letter that stands out.

Use your network.

If you've just been trawling online job postings, you aren't taking full advantage of what's really out there. Most people get jobs through people they know. So go through your Facebook profile, flip through your church directory, ask your friends. Don't feel badly about requesting help from people you're only slightly acquainted with, either. The worst they can do is say no. Also, get yourself to as many networking events as you can. You never know who you might meet.

Ask for an informational interview.

Just because a company isn't ready to hire now doesn't mean they won't be ready to hire in the future. Ask for an informational interview to introduce yourself and learn more about the field you're interested in. Even if it doesn't result in a job, you'll get valuable interviewing practice and potentially make connections that could get you hired in the future.

Build your skillset.

Are you seeing skills that you don't have requested in job listings? While you're looking, take the opportunity to build those up. If the jobs you want request social media expertise, for instance, get a Twitter and a LinkedIn profile and read up on innovative ways to use them. If employers want someone with event planning experience, volunteer with an organization that will help you bulk up your resume. Read. Research. Give yourself the knowledge to shine more with every interview.

Broaden your search.

We're not in the business of crushing dreams here, but setting your job search parameters too narrowly can hold you back. If you refuse to consider any opportunity that isn't a Fortune 500 company in Manhattan, for instance, it goes without saying that you're limiting your options. We're not suggesting you lower your standards, but it can't hurt to expand your idea of what kind of offer you'd be willing to take, whether that means a lower salary, a smaller city, a less well-known company or a different position.

Don't give up.

It's tough out there. On average, it takes seven months or more to find a job in today's economy. Ugh. It's easy to start to feel hopeless, but chin up. The right job will come along, especially if you take the right steps to find it.

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