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Ask Vicki: How can you make a job search more strategic?

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi explains how to narrow your search so that you get optimal results.

Ask Vicki: How can you make a job search more strategic?

Vicki Salemi

Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to

Vicki Salemi

Q. How can you make a job search more strategic?

A. You can make a job search more strategic by being specific. Instead of saying you want a job in marketing, for instance, narrow it down to desired geographic regions, types of companies, industries, and roles/job titles.

Then, get organized. Whether you create a spreadsheet, use the notes section on your phone, or kick it old school with a pen and notebook, make a list of action items: companies to research, resume updates that need to be made, cover letters to be written, etc.

Think about where you want to be a year, three, even five years from now in your career. For each job you’re interested in, ask yourself:

  • What type of opportunities will this role offer?
  • Is the job dead-end with zero room for growth, or is it a stepping-stone to something bigger and better?
  • Does the job involve travel?
  • What’s the commute like?
  • Is training provided?
  • Will the position equip you with a variety of skills so you can pivot to another area after this one?
  • What type of work environment do you excel in—conservative and structured, or lively and entrepreneurial?

The goal is to find a job that will support you and target companies whose values are in alignment with yours. Get specific with your needs, and you’ll get a better idea of which jobs and companies to pursue.

Don’t forget to network and input contact names, information, and dates you reached out to them into your spreadsheet. Indicate when you’ll follow up, what you spoke about, and next steps.

Leverage your online calendar as well—block out time in your schedule that is dedicated to reviewing job ads. Set up job alerts on Monster, and when opportunities land in your inbox, apply to those jobs on that same day. The more systems you put in place to get organized, the more strategic you can be. 

Looking for more expert advice? Join Monster today. As a member, you'll get career advice and useful tips sent directly to your inbox to help you craft your resume, ace the interview, negotiate the offer, and much more. 

Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "How can you make a job search more strategic?" on Quora.

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