Job BoardsIt’s a new year and for some of you that means a resolution to find a new job or to re-energize an on-going job search. If you want to be successful in your search efforts (and who doesn’t), there are three common job search mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Relying exclusively on responding to openings on job boards. In sheer numbers alone, that’s where most of your competition is. It’s very easy to apply on line therefore, that’s where people tend to focus their energies. It’s also the low hanging fruit, easy to reach. However, job boards can be a big, black hole that suck in your resume and offer nothing in return. This can actually be detrimental, especially if you apply to a position for which you think you’re a perfect fit and hear nothing back, then your ego takes a huge hit.

2. Posting your resume on job boards, kicking back and waiting for the phone to ring. More and more HR professionals and recruiters (both in house corporate and at recruiting firms) are relying on their own networks to find candidates for positions. That means fewer of them are using job boards to find their candidates, and if they’re not using their own networks, then they’re turning to social media networks. That said, a direct approach to companies and recruiters is the best way to go.

3. Mass distributions of your resume. Let’s throw the spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. I have to ask you, what do you do with mass mail or email when it hits your mailbox? Exactly. Doing mass distributions makes you feel like you’re doing something when in reality you’re not. A direct, targeted approach, while it takes more time and effort, will actually get you results.

What these things have in common is that they are very passive ways of looking for a job. In today’s competitive market, you need to be aggressive in your efforts. That means being more targeted and strategic and running your job search like a marketing campaign.

Yes, you should still use job boards to post your resume and respond to jobs, but not exclusively. Those efforts should be a very small part of your overall campaign which should include networking, both online and in person, targeting and approaching companies you’re interested in (regardless of whether they have posted openings), and reacting to current events you read in the news or online.

One more thing, hiring an experienced career coach to guide you in your efforts will make you more competitive and  can significantly shorten the length of time it takes you to land your next job.