The job market in Yorkshire was dealt another cruel blow when the spending review released by the coalition government last week could result in a further 3,000 job losses. Of the £150 million somewhere in the region of £50 million will be slashed in 2011. This means that there will be more candidates flooding an already competitive market. What do you do if you are one of the many who are seeking their next opportunity?

When some of my clients were first made redundant they thought that utilising the old job search methods would work. CVs were uploaded to various job boards and recruiters too were useful targets. Some clients gave themselves the luxury of a few weeks off, time to get the list of jobs around the house ticked off one by one. However without the routine of our daily working life all too easily the weeks can turn in to months.

The biggest challenge many of my clients have faced is the day to day loneliness that the job search creates. Hours are spent in front of a PC without any clear direction or strategy. The question I always ask is, what would you do if this was a project you were running at work? No matter what sector they are from they are able to construct a framework that would ensure that the project is seen through to completion. A Sales Director is used to knocking on targeted doors, a project manager sets clear goals and objectives. Why would you treat your job search any differently?

What should do you do to get out of the job search rut

1. Set a clear goal

During a recession making a career transition can be almost impossible meaning most people need to stay close to centre, focus on the industry they have been in and where their experience is strongest. Think about your key areas of strength, this should be the place to start. There is no point in applying for positions that you think you may be able to do. All of your tools have to be tailored towards this goal, your CV, your interview practice and your market research.

2. Prepare your job search tools

Once you have identified the market sector/ type of role you want to approach you need to devise a CV that reflects your suitability. Your CV needs to focus on your achievements, think about the skills that a potential employer would want to see from someone at your career level. Ensure that the CV sells you effectively; too many people undersell themselves hoping an employer can read between the lines. This can be a risky strategy considering that competition for positions is currently at an all time high. Your online presence also needs to reflect your status and ability, remember your presence on social media sites can make or break an application.

3. Plan your approach to the market

It is widely publicised that advertised roles only makes up 20% of the job market at a senior level. This consists of all online jobs, recruiters and the few that remain in the traditional press. The unadvertised market is created through effective networking and quality candidates having business conversations with like minded people. It is possible to create an opportunity where one didn’t exist before. How would you rate your networking strategy?

4. Practice your interview technique

Interviews are few and far between in the current job market meaning that when you secure one you have to be at your best. In a good market a candidate can expect to attend several interviews before securing their ideal position. In this market you have to make each interview count. Plan your answers in advance; what do you want to get across to the interviewer? It is still a two way process, you need to find out about the role and organisation too.  Remain confident; there is nothing attractive about a candidate who seems desperate.

5. Always keep your eyes on the job market

Once you have secured your new position you must remember what you have learnt on your recent job search journey. Keep networking, maintain your market intelligence and never allow yourself to coast in a position. Always plan your next move and keep one step ahead. This is not to say you always need to look outside of the organisation, you can create opportunity internally too.