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Whether you’re looking for your first job, or you’ve been in the game for a while and are considering a change in careers, you may have better opportunities now than in the recent past.

According to Gallup, the National Jobs Creation Index recently reached its highest point in the last six years. Instead of just basking in that good news and hoping the market does the work for you, adopt a proactive attitude to help beat the competition.

To help get yourself on the company dime faster, check out these six job search tips:

1. Make your resume stand out

There are plenty of ways to make your resume stand out from the competition. For starters, don’t just rely on one of them. You should have a few different CVs specifically tailored to the different industries in which you are applying, and even for the position you might be applying for. Instead of simply stating your qualifications, back them up with data. If you improved sales by 10% in a particular year, mention that. And — this goes without saying — make sure your resume is error-free and grammatically correct. If necessary, include hiring a professional resume writer in your job-seeking expenses.

2. Interview better

Start all your interviews off with a firm handshake. Keep your attire modest and business formal or casual — you don’t want your high-end outfit to overshadow the conversation. Research each company thoroughly before the interview so you can speak about it intelligently. As for the tone of the conversation, be confident but not arrogant — there is a difference.

When given the opportunity to ask questions at the end, always do so. Get a prepared list ready for easy reference. Inquire about how the process may move along after the first interview, then tailor your follow-up strategy accordingly. If you’re told not to call or email, abide by that. If follow-up is encouraged, don’t forget to do it.

3. Streamline your jobs list

Instead of hopping on a jobs website and applying for every one that’s remotely related to your skill set, take some time and form a list of the top companies you’d like to work for. Target those first, and, if nothing pans out, you can always go back and add more. Using a “blast” application strategy in many cases is a waste of time.

4. Use apps

There are mobile apps geared specifically towards the job market, from Monster to the Ladders, you can find mobile apps that can help match your skill set with currently available jobs.

5. Take advantage of tax breaks

There are indeed some tax breaks related specifically to job seeking. Generally, though, the tax breaks associated with your job search only apply if you’re looking in your current industry — and first-time job seekers are ineligible.

If your job search qualifies you for tax breaks, keep track of resume preparation expenses and postage, travel expenses, and any fees paid to employment agencies. For more guidance, check out IRS Publication 529.

6. Review your online reputation

Google yourself and look for any negative or untoward information. If you find any, check out the website Reputation for ways to push that information down in the search results. As an overall tip for your job search, be patient — and don’t give up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t find the perfect job the moment you begin your search.

Learn from the interview coach – Coaching for the Student or First-Time Interviewer