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Wanting a new job is one thing. Landing the right one is quite another. This is especially true if you work in a competitive market. Even in a buoyant jobs market, there are always plenty of well-qualified professionals who can fill a vacancy, so how do you make sure that you get the one you want?

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to market yourself, shape your online presence and get your profile in front on the right people.

First you need to define your strategy, then you need to execute your plan if you have a specific role in mind. One which involves research, being proactive online to make the right impression and taking steps to show your understanding of the employment market in general and your sector in particular.

Use social media to the max

Technology is out there, so harness it to help with your job search. Covering the three very different main strands is a great way to initiate your grand plan.

LinkedIn is pretty much everyone’s tool of choice for building a professional network and brand. You must have an up to date profile and one that’s comprehensive. You should also show relevant recommendations from managers, colleagues and business partners, and it helps to display content relevant to your industry, sector and profession. You can also check out the LinkedIn (and Twitter) profile of the hiring manager, which will give you valuable insight and help you tailor your application and covering letter. Better yet your longer term strategy should be to become a thought leader. Penning your own articles, being active in relevant groups and having a very active profile will all make you more visible to recruiters as well as more attractive to potential employers.

Facebook is not just the place to show those wacky pictures of you and your friends on that unforgettable holiday. In fact you definitely shouldn’t let potential employers see that sort of thing, so make sure you customise your privacy settings. Facebook’s list feature means you can build your network without professional contacts seeing your private posts. Again, you can post and provide links to articles and information relevant to your profession, and one thing you have to do is ‘Facebook follow’ the company you’re hoping to work for. That way, you’ll learn about the company’s culture, work environment, potential job openings and upcoming events.

Twitter is great for developing connections with professionals who might not otherwise give you the time of day. Identify who you need to know at a company and try to persuade them to follow you on Twitter by following and retweeting them – though be careful with the content of your original Tweets. Join in industry chats and retweet relevant news and comment.

Reactivate the relationships within your network

Don’t just rely on social media to get the message out. Word of mouth has been working as a means of social communication for ever. Contact your existing network, including family members, friends and university contemporaries to let them know about your job search and professional aspirations. Everyone knows someone who might be prepared to share valuable experience and advice with you.

Be proactive with your applications

Don’t be hesitant about approaching companies proactively – even if the response rate is disappointing. Getting your CV to someone is a good way to target any potential vacancies that are not advertised externally. Make sure your CV is up to date and that your cover letter specifies the type of job you are looking for and the reasons you are interested in the company. You can increase your chances of being noticed by adding a catchy subject line to your email; that will encourage the recipient to actually have a look at your application and CV.

Contact recruitment agencies

Recruitment professionals spend lots of time trying to find great candidates, if you’ve got the experience, got the profile and know what you’re looking for then it makes sense to identify the ones who are active in your market and get in touch. Recruiters are experts in their field and have an extensive network of companies so even if the individual recruiter you speak to doesn’t have anything they might know of something their colleagues are recruiting for and other opportunities that might suit a candidate like you. They will also provide you with advice and support during all stages of your job search.

Embrace career and industry events

Participating in careers fairs and similar events will give you the opportunity to meet corporate recruiters and discover exactly what they’re looking for. Always have copies of your CV to hand and develop a pitch that will suggest you’re a cut above other job seekers. Participating in forums, conferences and conventions can only improve and expand your knowledge of your sector.

This article’s been put together by Monika Bobrowska, a member of our Operations Team in Belgium.

If you’re looking for more career advice get in touch with our Belgium Team.