With so many people looking for work and job searches taking longer than ever before, it's easy for the process to get boring and the job seeker to burn out.
That's why I'm always thrilled to hear about a breakthrough moment -- the specific time or tactic that changes everything. To some it's a wake-up call, an "ah ha!" revelation or a kick in the butt.
The result can be transformational: a shift from down-and-out to ready to rock the world.
These are four of my favorites, all of which are applicable to everyone looking for work.
Breakthrough Tactic No.1: Lose the fear that cripples the job search
For so many people, fear hinders their job search. Employers sense it, and friends and contacts do too. It will kill your job prospects. Acknowledge it, honor it by putting your thoughts on paper, and then get determined to control your life -- instead of allowing that fear to control you.
Need inspiration? Check out Harley-Davidson's "We Don't Do Fear" advertisement. Among the lines in the powerful message: "Over the last 105 years in the saddle, we've seen wars, conflicts, depression, recession, resistance and revolutions. ... Every time, this country has come out stronger than before. … Freedom and wind outlast hard times. ... If 105 years have proved one thing, it's that fear sucks and it doesn't last long."
Breakthrough Tactic No. 2: Focus on engaging, not just applying
Plastering your resume everywhere will not produce results faster. Instead of scouring job boards and applying for anything and everything, focus on engaging with the right people.
It's not enough to have a Facebook account and a LinkedIn profile. You must be active in social media by sharing your expertise and talking to people who share your interests.
Join LinkedIn groups and listservs, and participate in the dialogue. Write articles on your area of expertise and submit them to relevant industry blogs.
All of this helps employers to find you.
Breakthrough Tactic No. 3: Refuse to accept 'you're overqualified.'
It's the most frustrating phrase: "We love you, you're great, but you're overqualified." Time and again, it's what seasoned professionals hear when applying for positions they know they'd ace.
Vow to turn overqualified into exceptionally qualified by demonstrating exactly what you're able to do. Follow up with the recruiter or, even better, the hiring manager, by sharing your expertise as it relates to the position and the organization's needs.
Send an e-mail listing the 10 things you'd do if hired. Show examples of your previous work. Create a mini plan that explains how you'd tackle a specific challenge. Compile research on competitors and industry trends.
The idea is not to follow up by asking, "So have you made a decision yet?" but instead to show specifically what you would and could do if hired. Win them over by mirroring your expertise to their needs.
Breakthrough Tactic No. 4: Give job leads to others often
When you are told about jobs for which you're not qualified or not interested, pass them along to someone else, even if you're not sure if they're looking for a job. Do this religiously, and the leads and karma will come back to you.