One of the most ineffective ways you can use your time looking for a job is obsessively going back to the same internet sites over and over again. Yes, these sites are updated regularly, but there is usually only one or two days per week when major updates occur so it is a good idea to limit your visits to these days, and spend the rest of your time branching out and exploring new options.

Here are eight places you might extend your job hunting:-

  1. Internet sites. Instead of visiting your old favourites try a Google search for key terms in your field. Search by skills as well as job title and find companies that use your skills, then visit their individual sites to get ideas for their requirements. You may find positions advertised, or ideas on how to upgrade your skills to give you more opportunities.
  2. Newspapers. As well as their job listings look at company advertisements and think about how your skills might be useful to them. Perhaps your local plumber needs an accountant, or a software designer. Don't rule out possibilities without thinking them over carefully.
  3. Employment and Recruitment Agencies. While you should make sure that your resume is regularly updated, I would not sit around waiting for these to call you. If they feel that you are suited for a position they will contact you, but in the meantime you should leave them to get on with their job while you get on with yours.
  4. Think of your skills, not your job title. If you define yourself by a job title you may not see your suitability for many positions which are related to your expertise, but not defined by it directly. If you list your skills you may see new areas where you can look for positions, and new possibilities.
  5. Networking and Local Businesses. Most towns have regular meetings for businessmen and owners to get together to discuss concerns and to network. It is not difficult to arrange an invitation, and while you should not show up with your resume, nor ask directly for work it is an opportunity to become known personally to people you might not otherwise meet. Another strategy is to look through the Yellow Pages, or walk through town and look for businesses who could use your skills. Think of yourself as a salesman who is selling a person rather than a product. By visiting or telephoning local businesses and making them aware of you it is possible to create openings for employment.
  6. Networking Online. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are valuable social networks and an active and helpful presence on these will help you attract attention and come into contact with potential employers by providing helpful answers to questions, and valuable comments and tweets. Don't just tell people you're looking for a job, but make an effort to reach out to people in your field, provide value, and get your name and personality out there. You'd be surprised at how many contacts you can make and how many opportunities this interaction can provide, so update your profiles and start getting active today.

If you've been unemployed for a while, and applied unsuccessfully for several positions, your confidence may be at a low ebb, and you may not feel like taking many risks. I understand that, but the economy is starting to improve, and although employers are still cautious about taking on full-time employees they are outsourcing a lot of work. Now is a good time to find opportunities, and to make contacts which will stand you in good stead in the coming months as things pick up.