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With spring slowly approaching, it’s time to think about cleaning up your job search efforts to create more focus and less chaos all around.

Ready to start? Here are five ways to begin:

Company search instead of job search

Too many people focus on scouring job boards and blindly applying for openings. Instead, follow 5-10 companies that interest you and put your focus onto those organizations. Tap your network for contacts they may have at your ideal organizations, and get to know someone on the inside through an introduction.

Put your focus on networking

Networking is the number one way people land new jobs. Period. Although many people are hesitant of the word “networking,” just think of it as talking with people you know or meeting other individuals in your field. Many hiring managers are avoiding advertising new job openings because of the extreme amount of applications they may get. So how do they fill those openings? Through referrals and recommendations!

Networking efforts can be in-person and online, so spend your time building relationships with thought leaders and professionals through Twitter chats, conference attendance, guest blogging, volunteering and LinkedIn groups.

Apply less, follow-up more

Your job search shouldn’t be about quantity, but rather quality. Don’t send off resumes and applications to dozens of openings each day. Instead, apply for highly targeted openings for which you’re completely qualified. In your cover letter, state that you will follow-up in one week if you do not hear back beforehand—and then follow through on that promise. You’d be surprised at the amount of people who will respond to a well-intentioned follow-up.

Focus your personal brand

What makes this person stand out? What are their strengths? Why should I hire them? These questions will inevitably run through a hiring manager’s mind, and you should have a firm grasp on the answers before they even ask. Keep your brand consistent throughout your job search documents, networking profiles and interview answers.

Evaluate job search activities

If something you’re doing in your job search hasn’t turned up any leads, re-evaluate why you’re doing it or eliminate the activity altogether. If it’s not working, it’s time to try something new!

How will you spring clean your job search this month?

This post is part of Career Collective. Check out other posts by my colleagues:

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