Merito Group is a boutique talent acquisition firm based in the D.C. metro area. We are dedicated to helping job seekers find a fulfilling career, but often starting the job search process can be overwhelming.

While being open-minded and flexible is important in job searches, twisting yourself into a pretzel isn’t going to help you move forward. You need to have a clearly articulated schtick, goal set, and sense of self-awareness when executing a job search. Here are some tips to help you refine your approach when seeking new opportunities.

First, the what-NOT-to-dos.

Don’t just send a text or a mass email to your network. “I’m open to anything! I just need a job!” does not instill faith in a potential connection or employer that you’re invested in their area of work. Up to 85% of jobs are said to be found through networking, but networking is only effective if you execute it strategically.

When you don’t take the time to clearly adapt a message to a point of contact and show them how you provide value, why you are reaching out to them, and what area of their industry interests you, then you may as well just bang your head against the wall. By conducting a job search with strategic networking, you’ll accomplish your goals much faster than you would if you took the bang-your-head-against-the-wall approach.

Instead, do this.

“Hi, there! Long time no talk. I noticed on LinkedIn that you’re pursuing account management work at Twitter! I’m obsessed with the platform myself and have worked in various business development roles in the past – always exceeding goals. I would love to talk to you about your experience in this role and get any insight you might have on how I can conduct an effective job search for other sales roles in the tech space. If you have fifteen minutes to talk, please let me know some days and times that work for you.”

To read more of Heather Tranen’s great advice on how to more effectively find jobs, click here.