How to Get Your Dream Job in a Bad Economy

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Job seekers wait in line to have their resumes reviewed during the San Francisco Hire Event job fair on November 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California.

Employers are posting the most job openings in the past three years, reports the Labor Department, yet there are nearly 14 million people out of work competing for these jobs. This means there’s an average of 4.2 unemployed workers competing for each opening. Some of these jobs still haven’t been filled because job seekers don’t have the right skills to match certain positions. The Wall Street Journal reports that 52% of companies are having difficulty filling these positions. Despite the bad economy, you can get the job you want instead of settling for one that simply pays the bills. Here are five ways to make the most out of your job search:

1. Focus Your Job Search

Instead of submitting your resume to thousands of job openings on, classified ads and corporate websites, narrow your search to the jobs you’re truly passionate about. In 2010, Simply Hired found that 83% of people choose jobs they love over more money, and they should. By putting all of your effort into finding jobs at companies you’re interested in, you will have a better chance at getting your dream job. Your positive attitude, work ethic, body language and persistence will shine through in your interviews and will give you the competitive edge in the hiring process.

(MORE: 9 Jobs of the Near Future)

2. Brush Up on Your Soft Skills

Just being good at your trade won’t cut it anymore. You have to have a whole set of soft skills, including leadership, teamwork and communication, as well as emotional intelligence. In fact, CareerBuilder reports that 71% of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ. You need to be able to deal with conflict in the workplace and get along with your co-workers. Employers want to hire employees that they can connect with both personally and professionally.

3. Tap into Your Network

Most job seekers don’t realize that the people around them can either hire them or refer them to a job. Don’t overlook your family, friends, professors, previous co-workers and the people that you meet at events and when you’re traveling. Also, make sure that you grow your online network using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A recent survey by states that 1 in 6 workers have used social networks to get hired.

(VIDEO: The Real Lives of the Long-Term Unemployed)
4. Build Your Online Presence

Job searching is less about résumé submissions and more about being found online. Create your own custom blog using WordPress or use for starters. Make sure you use your full name, a positioning statement that captures your expertise and a summary of your work experience. Create social profiles using the same positioning as your website and cross-link your properties. By writing blog posts and updating your social status routinely, recruiters will find you when they are looking to hire for a position. As long as your profiles are connected to what you’re passionate about, you will attract the right jobs and repel the wrong ones.

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5. Create Your Own Marketing Campaign

You need to stand out if you want a job, and there are new strategies you can use to get an employer’s attention without having to submit a résumé. For instance, Matthew Epstein created a custom website that will appeal to Google, the company for which he wants to work. You can also create a video résumé that communicates who you are, what you do and what makes you different. There are nearing 17,000 video résumés on YouTube, but only a few really stick out. You can also create targeted advertising campaigns using Facebook Ads and Google AdWords in order to get your website right in front of specific employers.

Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, a full-service personal-branding agency. He is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, and publisher of Personal Branding Magazine