Career searches are difficult at best – and at worst, are enough to make you stark-raving mad. Hiring managers don't return phone calls. Internet sites won't permit submission of documents. Recruiters don't post positions and are completely sequestered from candidates. Stark-raving mad, indeed.
However, no matter how daunting and challenging the process is – you have no alternative except to proceed through it. Drifting into a malaise isn't a viable option. Nor is giving up and hoisting a flag of surrender. Not at all. Best to be focused, motivated, and confident. Most important, you need to become informed about what searches actually entail and how to excel when engaged in them.
There are 4 primary components that define career searches. They are as follows: (1) diversify the search; (2) produce superior marketing documents; (3) penetrate the private market; and (4) prepare for interviews. Other components are involved, of course, but these 4 represent the primary focus areas associated with career searches – for any position, level, or industry.
The operative question is: How close are you to your "A game" on each of the components? My guess – not very or, more optimistically stated, not as close as you need to be.
Let's briefly discuss each in turn: