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The economy’s battered and companies seem to lay more people than they hire but bottom line is other companies in the same industry are still hiring. It’s not that the newly hired or promoted have better grades or better job experiences, the difference comes in how different applicants handle the job application and selection process.

Job seekers should aggressively market themselves to decision-makers and the people who influence those decision-makers. You must also do an honest assessment of your efforts to determine if you're doing everything you possibly can to secure an offer.

Here are some key questions job seekers ask themselves once they enter the job market.

1. What do I want and who do I need to know?
Figuring out companies where you want to work this includes people you may know at these companies. This might include friends and old colleagues—or even your boss if you're angling for an internal promotion. Even if the people you know aren't in a position to hire you, they can help open doors. 

Ultimately, you want to find the decision makers and people who have the ears of decision makers, whether it means sending a resume and cover letter directly to them, or asking an acquaintance for an introduction. "It's really important to be strategic,"

2. Am I looking in the right places?
Look to transfer your skills to another industry if your industry is in turmoil, right? If you performed marketing duties in hard-hit banking industry, try seeking a marketing-related position in insurance, which has added jobs.

3. What can I bring to the table?
Having all the contacts in the world won't matter if you can't sell yourself. Look at your recent accomplishments and what they say. From there, come up with about three adjectives that describe how you want people to view you and weave those keywords into your networking conversations and interviews.

4. What are my accomplishments so far?
Once you know what you have to offer—whether it's your great people skills. Find those accomplishments you had in the recent past. Maybe your IT skills prevented the company’s system from going under when the IT guy was absent. Whatever accomplishments you've achieved, have lots of examples ready. Find a way to spin your accomplishments into meaningful lines on your resume.

5. What great use will I be to the company?
Applicant use cover letters to talk about their past. Instead sell yourself as someone who can do specific work for the employer. Research the goals of the company you're applying to and where they're trying to go. Then, explain why you're the person to help them reach those goals.

6. How does my experience advantage the firm?
Chances are the job application you are feeling has tens if not hundreds of other applicants consider what you have to offer—the number of sales you've closed, for example, or your deep connections in the community. But if you have an employment history that stretches back a few decades, don't feel like you have to include every job you've ever held. Instead, stick to what's pertinent to your current career.

7. What's happening in my field?
If you’ve been out of the job market for a little while, find out what skills you might need to acquire in order to get up-to-date. If you’re an accountant you may need to learn that new accounting software program or getting to know how different social media tools work.

8. What keywords appear in the job advertisement?
Never send the same resume for each and every job. Take time to customize it for each. This makes sure you're speaking the language of the job posting. 

This is necessary because some employers use software to scan resumes and pick up keywords. If there are terms in a job vacancy that match your experience, use them on your resume—for example, you might swap "management" for "supervisory" to echo the advert.

9. What’s my online presence?
Never be surprised if your prospective employer asks for your social media accounts so clean up your profile on a social networking site that feature boozy photos or a few off-color comments from your friends. Spruce up your image.

You should try typing your name into a search browser like Google and see what comes up. You can be certain an employer will. A blog about something relevant to your industry may just be the edge that gets you that job.

10. Am I ready for the interview?
Even with an education from a top varsity, impressive work experience or recommendations from influential people in the industry it all comes down to the interview. Question is are you ready for it?

Treat each interview as if it's the most important because, even one person in the process can nick your chances by raising doubts about your candidacy. Practice every possible question you think you may be asked, and research the employer and its competition thoroughly.

While you might not be grilled on that, it demonstrates an interest in this particular job and field.

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