These days finding a job is tough, and finding a great job is even tougher! That means you need to focus your efforts where they’ll do the most good. Here’s how to get the ball rolling, courtesy of career coach Marty Nemko:

  • Hit the job search engines. The three major ones are Indeed.com, Simplyhired.com, and Jobster.com. Make a list of all the positions that you’re qualified for, but skip the long shots. In a tight market, companies don’t look at under-qualified applicants because there are plenty of experienced people to go around.
  • Write individual cover letters. A generic letter won’t get you noticed. Make sure you mention 3 specific requirements of the position and the ways you meet each one. Be sure to end on a positive note. Try, “I hope to get a chance to interview because I think you’ll find that I’m right for this position.”
  • Make a list of 25 employers you'd like to work for who AREN’T advertising an opening. Then, write and explain why you want to be on their team. Ask for a chance to meet with them, and list 3 highlights from your resume.  You’ll be surprised at how many managers find time to talk to you.  

Think of it like this: The harder it is to get a job, the better the opportunity to show employers what you’re made of. So, write individual cover letters and contact companies you admire. If you work hard enough, even a business that’s not hiring will decide to hire you.