Want to make your job search as stress free and rewarding as possible? It’s too true that you need to plan for almost everything, including your job search. Job hunting success really does come down to developing an effective job search strategy.

With job hunting, there are never any guarantees in regard to the length of your search or how successful you’ll be.

One thing is certain; you need to make a full commitment – and that involves emotions, time and creating a job search plan.

Here are some basic steps to planning a job search strategy:

Set yourself a clear goal
Consider factors such as how much time you have on a weekly basis to work on your search? What tools will you use to progress your job search – will you read online trade papers, visit job agencies, search online?

Identify the long and short term actions you need to do in order to get the job you want. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you simply need to change jobs or are you looking to change careers? Will you have to retrain?

Market yourself
Update your CV and have a basic format for a cover letter ready to adapt to each job opportunity.

If you haven’t already, sign up to professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. You can create a free online profile that includes work history, achievements and qualifications employers can view. You can also get recommendations from past employers and colleagues and join groups and discussions that are relevant to your industry.

Implement a step-by-step plan
Set aside time each week to progress your search. Create daily, weekly and monthly objectives, such as sending off three tailored job applications per week or meeting a new contact in your field each day. Don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving these goals – looking for a job can be a full time job in itself.

Use multiple channels to generate job leads. Explore your options by researching potential careers, jobs and employers.

A good place to start is online. From job boards, RSS feeds and job alerts to CV databases and social networking sites, the internet has become an increasingly important medium, both as a source of vacancies and a provider of information.

Make your CV visible to prospective employers
Registering your CV with webrecruit  will enable potential employers to see your resume when searching for candidates with the right skills and experience.

Don’t overlook other channels too. Newspapers, high street agencies and career fairs also play roles in creating an effective job search strategy.

Make networking the heart of your search plan
Through networking, we meet new people who can give us insider advice and information on an organisation or industry, or even help set up an opportunity.

Use social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to join groups and follow companies that are relevant to your field. Contribute to online discussions and develop your online presence.

Manage your search
Effectively managing your job search is paramount. Create a ‘to-do’ list, track your contacts and keep a record of any communication along the way.  By organising your job search, you’ll be able to respond immediately to job openings you’ve qualified for.

Planning an effective job search takes time and effort. But by taking the time now to create a strategy for your job search, you could find that perfect job this year.