Don't make your job search any longer than it needs to be!

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The good news is that the job market is improving, albeit slowly. The bad news is that you might still be looking. If so, maybe it’s time for a little self-evaluation. Do any of these issues ring a bell?

Your network isn’t big enough. Set a goal — such as making three new contacts every day — and grow your network. Think former bosses/colleagues, neighbors, friends of friends, relatives of friends, relatives of friends of neighbors’ bosses’ friends. Use your spouse’s network, too. Your network cannot be too big.

You’re not following up. Successful job hunters go beyond the thank-you note. Keep in touch with potential employers by responding to their tweets and status updates, or by sending them links to interesting/relevant articles. Stay on their radar.

You’re relying on Internet job postings. You need to do more than post to the online boards — a lot more. Use your network to identify jobs before they’re advertised.

You’re projecting negativity. You may be feeling more desperate with each passing day. But, perhaps unfairly, neediness is a turn-off. Exercise, meditate, pray — do whatever you have to do to appear positive.

Your habits/manners are betraying you. Do you jiggle your knee, twirl your hair, bite your nails, fail to make eye contact? Do you talk too much? Not enough? Are your clothes inappropriate for the workplace you’re seeking to join? Ask someone you trust for some honest feedback.

You’re not going straight to the hiring manager. Get past the screening software by using networking to identify the person who would actually be your boss, and then personally approach that person.

You’re not preparing enough for interviews. You might think that researching the company is enough. But why not find a former employee, take him/her out to coffee and get some deeper intel? Knowledge is power.

You still view the job search as a sort of vacation. Too many people look at unemployment as a way to spend more time with their kids or to finally clean the garage. Laudable goals, but the fact is that looking for a job is more work than having a job.

Don’t make your job search any longer than it needs to be!

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at