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It can be very demanding looking for another job when your current one is constantly stressing you out. After all, when you get home from a long and frustrating day, the last thing you want to do is give any more thought to the world of work. Unfortunately, most new jobs don't just fall into your lap—you have to go out and get them.

Approaching your job search as strategically and as systematically as you would approach your next business deal can help keep the process manageable. Here are three keys to a successful job search:

1. Initiation

If you were going to start a huge new project at work, would your first step be to just sit down and start the project? Of course not! A lot of planning and preparation go into any major project, and your job search should be no different. Therefore, the first step is NOT to sit down and start sending out dozens of generalized resumes to any job that sounds like a relatively good fit.

Your first task should be to determine exactly what you're looking for in your next position. Just like you can't write a project plan until you know what the project is, you simply cannot write an effective resume or cover letter without some idea of where you'd like your career to go. You may find this part of the process to be the most time-consuming, as it requires some soul-searching. However, it's an essential step in the process that must not be skipped.

2. Planning

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Once you've determined your professional goals, you're ready to spend some time assembling your marketing tools—a cover letter, resume, and any other pertinent documents that support your message (like an optimized LinkedIn profile). This is essentially the same process as setting up a project at work; you need both plans and human resources for an effective job search.

It's important to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job that you're applying to. In order to have a powerful resume, you have to lead with results and quantifiable accomplishments. This process takes time, so plan your schedule accordingly.

3. Execution

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Only when you've established a goal and pulled together the tools needed to accomplish it should you actually start looking for and applying to jobs. Setting up email alerts through sites like Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com can save you hours of scouring through online job postings.

If you tackle your job search in a strategic and systematic manner, you should soon reach a place where you can go to your inbox, look through positions that may be a good fit for you, and then simply customize your polished resume for each application. Consider each quality job application you send off as a deliverable in the project of finding yourself another job. Whenever you successfully land your next position, you'll be able to close out this project and move on to the next one!

Need more help with your job search?

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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