10 Things You Can Do to Get Hired Sooner . / Credit: Dreamstime.com

If you feel your job search has hit a dead end, help is coming from an unexpected source. According to a poll of more than 3,000 employers, conducted by CareerBuilder, job seekers can improve their odds of getting a new job by following 10 steps in their search.   

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"More than 5 million workers in the United States have been unemployed for six months or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "While job seekers have voiced concern over how they may be perceived if they've been out of work for a while or took a job for which they were overqualified to make ends meet, the study shows employers understand the tough challenges the economy has created for workers. What is most important to employers is that workers show they have stayed active in sharpening their skills."

The results of the poll confirm this with 85 percent of employers saying they are more understanding of gaps in employment after the recession. Additionally, 94 percent of employers said they would not think less of a job candidate for working in a job beneath their experience level during the recession. With that in mind, employers recommend people currently seeking a job:     

  1. Take a temporary or contract assignment — Working on a temporary assignment gives you the opportunity to build your portfolio and résumé while also giving you something new to talk about in your next interview.
  2. Take a class — Continuing your education makes you a more valuable employee. Learning new skills in a class is another great way to build your résumé and experience.  
  3. Volunteer — Although many people may be opposed to working for free, volunteering shows your willingness to work while also giving you valuable experience.
  4. Start your own business— Another option for job seekers is ditching the prospect of working for someone else and becoming your own boss.    
  5. Start a professional blog— Starting a blog has several benefits.  First, it gives you the opportunity to see an industry from a different perspective, but, perhaps more important, it gives you the opportunity to show your expertise in a given area while also building your social status online.  
  6. Follow stories on hot industries and job functions — You can improve your odds by looking for jobs in industries where job growth is expected. According to CareerBuilder's job listings, these fields include information technology, engineering, health care, sales and customer service.
  7. Use keywords — Using the right keywords can give you a competitive advantage since many employers scan résumés looking for specific keywords.  Using the right keywords can help give you can advantage by making your documents show up higher than other job seekers.
  8. Come in with ideas —Don’t be afraid to show up to an interview with new ideas that you have for a company. That will help you stand out from other candidates and show exactly how you would fit into an organization. 
  9. Make connections — CareerBuilder recommends that job seekers"expand your network of contacts through social media, professional organizations, social clubs, etc., to make new inroads into organizations."
  10. Follow through — Perhaps the most important thing a job seeker can do occurs after the interview.  According to CareerBuilder, two-thirds of workers don’t follow up after their interview. Following up with a simple thank you can help in showing just how interested you are in getting a job.

The information in this poll was based on the responses of 3,023 hiring managers and human resources professionals.  The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.   

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.