Job Seekers, Learn These 5 Time-Saving Job Search Tricks

Arnie Fertig

You've probably heard countless times that you should consider looking for a job to be a job in and of itself. In truth, to do it well, it takes a good deal of time and patience. With that said, wouldn't you like to take some of the drudgery out of the process and use your time more efficiently to connect with the people who can help you and be more organized in your overall approach?

Here are five tips to help you along the way.

[Read: 7 Ingredients for a Successful Job Search Recipe.]

1. Name your resume. The document central to any job search remains a resume. But do you have any idea how many people circulate this central piece of their personal brand saved simply as "resume.doc?" It is a pain for people to have to rename your document to save and later retrieve it.

Instead, make a new folder on your hard drive called "Resumes." Save your resume into it using this formula: "{firstname lastname} resume for.doc." Each time you are about to send it out, click "save as" and add the name of the person or company you are sending it to. Keep all the versions of your resume in this one folder, without deleting any of them.

2. Save search result links. Whenever you conduct a search -- on Google, within a job board or a company site -- the results page is a unique URL.

Create a spreadsheet in Excel, Google Sheets or Apple's Numbers. Create one column for your search terms, another for the URL of the results page and a third for any other notes you want to make about the search. As time goes on, you may think of more things to track, but this is a good start.

Copy the links of all your search results into the appropriate spreadsheet column, then go back on a regular basis and copy that link back into your search engine, and you'll find the latest updated results to your searches. You've saved time and organized your searching.

3. Use LinkedIn's Groups to communicate directly with people in your target companies. One often overlooked advantage of LinkedIn's Groups is that you can communicate directly with anyone in a group of which you are a member, even if you aren't linked to them.

Do a "People Search" on LinkedIn to see with whom you want to speak. If you don't know them or aren't connected, you may be limited in your ability to reach out directly. However, as you review their profile, scroll to see in which LinkedIn Groups they are enrolled. Join one or more of those groups to be connected to your target person, and likely many more people like him or her. Once you are a member, you can then message them through LinkedIn, even if you don't have InMails available.

As a side benefit of this hack, you'll likely discover a number of groups to join and people with whom you should be connecting.

[Read: Are You Making These 8 Embarrassing Mistakes on LinkedIn?]

4. Make yourself easy to locate on LinkedIn. How much better is it to have people reach out to you directly with employment opportunities than for you to continually be pro-actively reaching out to introduce yourself? Of course, that's why you need a well-optimized LinkedIn profile. But if you happen to turn up as an answer to someone else's search query, and you are a third-degree connection, your name and contact information will be blocked unless they have a premium account.

A very simple workaround is to put your name and email address in the very first line of your Summary section on your profile. That way, you'll be contacted by the people who seek someone like yourself for a role to be filled.

[Read: Update These 5 Critical Sections on Your LinkedIn Profile.]

5. Be realistic when applying for jobs. You can apply to your dream jobs all day long, but remember to do a reality check. Is there a realistic reason to believe that the hiring authority will see you as a good fit for the role beyond your conviction that you can fulfill the responsibilities entailed in it?

It's always fine to apply to a few "stretch" positions, but remember that you have to make a really strong case in your cover letter to explain specifically how and why you would be a good fit.

It will be a major time saver to focus your energies on the jobs that are realistically possible. The shortest route to getting hired will always be applying to jobs with descriptions that most closely resemble what you have already been successful in doing.

Happy hunting!