Want to get your job search started on the right path? Here are 5 great tips to help you on your way:

1. Networking Business Cards: These are essential tools for exchanging your information with a new contact. Cards should be on good card stock with your name, title, industry, area of expertise, telephone number and e-mail. A logo is fine. Those in a creative field can show their style here.

1. Networking Business Cards: Use good quality card stock in a white, ivory, grey or other classy shade that matches your resume paper. State your name, title, industry and area of expertise. Indicate your contact number and your e-mail. Note: If you are in a creative field it's ok to be a little more artsy in card color and graphics. The card is an essential tool for exchanging your basic information with new a contact and it eliminates searching for a pen and a piece of paper.

2. LinkedIn Profile: This is the #1 professional online network going and millions of people around the world are members. They have their professional profiles listed, where they work, where they used to work, what schools they attended, what professional and educational groups they belong to and recommendations from former co-workers, clients and associates. You can learn a lot from a well-crafted profile including new contacts, companies to research and organizations that have members with the same interests and goals as you.

3. Your “Pitch”: You know how to answer when someone asks you what you do when you are employed. You work for this company in this role doing these tasks. When you are unemployed, what do you say? “I'm looking for a new job.” Well, you could. It's best to use the opportunity to your advantage. Create a 30-second to 1-minute story. State your experience and expertise, what you are looking for and what you can do for a prospective employer. “For 10 years I was the VP of Operations for ABC Company. My focus was on ___, ___ and ___. I am now interested in working for a ___company in the ___field, such as XYZ Co or DEF Co. My expertise in ___ will be applicable to their ___ division or product. (Throw in a success statistic.)” You get the picture. No sob story, no throwing the previous boss or company under the bus. Be positive, enthusiastic and open to suggestions. And if the person you are with is new to you, please ask them about what they do. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship!

4. Success Stories: Everyone has accomplishments from their work. Everyone. If you think about it, you can remember or uncover achievements that will help promote you as a good candidate. If you are having trouble, pretend you are going to have your annual review and you will get a salary increase for every measurable accomplishment you present to your manager. You'd find them. These examples show your ability to solve problems and address challenges an employer may have. Show them how you identified the circumstance, what conduct you chose to address the concerns and what the conclusion was. This simple strategy can be very impressive and says a lot about you, the way you work and what value you bring to the company.

5. Planned Activities: “Looking for a job is a FT job” as the saying goes.” Work usually incorporates various activities: computer work, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, research, projects, client interactions, follow-ups, reports. It also may include prospecting for new clients, vendors or opportunities, selling a product or service and closing deals. All of these elements are present in your job search. You need to research companies of interest, prospect for contacts, create informational meetings, uncover opportunities, speak with company representatives, present your materials, sell your abilities, follow up and close the deal. To help keep you motivated, you must plan your time so you have goals, just like when you were working at a company. Having said that, when you were working you took a day off now and then and sometimes could rearrange your schedule to accommodate life. You should still do that in a job search. You can take time out during the day to do something of importance to you and make that time up in the evening. Give yourself a day off periodically. It's healthy and smart to be good to yourself. One final activity – once a week, try on your interview clothes to make sure they still fit! You'll be glad you did!

Provided by R.L. Stevens & Associates, Inc. – a full-service career firm. For more information, contact us at 1-800-721-9491, info@rlstevens.com or visit us online at http://www.rlstevens.biz