1: Create a memorable propostion

The key to success is to be memorable. It also helps to be memorable for something that adds value to a clearly defined demographic. Next time somebody asks you what you do, try replying with something specific, for example. " I specialise in helping marketing managers create up to 200% reduction in the cost of their direct mail campaigns."

2: Get your expertise in print

A simple way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to point the potential employer to your portfolio of published articles and content. The person who has a back catalogue of useful best practices, tips and techniques is more likely to be selected than the person with a faceless CV.

3: Sharpen up your CV,

Think reverse engineering. This means putting the key words you think your CV should be indexed under in an easy to find table at the top. Large agencies use junior staff, or worse still, computers to index CVs and sometimes get it wrong. Make sure your CV is easy to read. If an agent opens it and finds the font is too complex or small they will read it less closely than the next.

Where possible, list monetary or other performance-related benefits of the work you have completed. For example: " Enabled an 80% reduction in procurement lead times through implementation of a data quality fault prevention system."

4: Build a contact database and network

Look at your mobile contacts list and all people you haven't called since the last project ended, and give them a call. Think about your icebreaker. For example: " I'm updating my CV and have forgotten the dates we worked together, can you remember?" Connect with your network, work it deep, even if there are no positions at present, people will know you're available.

5: Exploit LinkedIn

LinkedIn.com does work and should form a vital partin your career or business strategy. It tells you where people who rated you highly before are working now. How great is that? RSS feeds can also be integrated into LinkedIn, so posts to your blog will instantly appear, making you more attractive than the rest of the herd. Another useful tool on LinkedIn is the 'status' box. If you are looking for work let everyone know by adding a few comments, you never know who will see it in passing.

6: Build agency relations

Remember all those pestering calls from agents that drove you mad when you were employed? If you're out of work, now is the time to rifle through your email and add them to your contact database. Always use the phone. Speculative emails end up with an office junior or worse, in the spam box.

7: Increase job board activity

Post your CV to job boards as well as replying to adverts. Go where the agents are. In IT this is jobserve, CW jobs and Jobsite. CV-Library.co.uk is another good tip for a post. Agents like it because the search facility is excellent. Post your CV to job sites every week. Inside tip: online database results come out in reverse posting order - most recent forst, post your CV regularly and you'll always be near the top!

8: Create a 'job listening engine'

Rather than wait for daily or weekly RSS feeds, set up instant alerts to specific email addresses that you can configure to Outlook. For example, if you have the skills to apply for three or four different roles create an email address for each.

9: Prioritise your efforts and be efficient

Use your time efficiently. For example, a tool like SurveyMonkey.com can send out hundreds of emails using a personalised template.

10: Create accounts on business-focused social media networks

A lot of people think its a waste of time trying to build relationships and leads online but it really works.

Dylan James and John Platten of data consultancy www.vivamex.com

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