Today, I heard from someone I briefly helped with social media aspects of job search, in response to my asking how his search was going. His answer:

I’ve actually gotten one offer, and in multiple rounds of interviews for three more positions. So I think I am close to the end of my search.

In this market, he’s gotten great results in just three months of searching after being laid off. He’s a PR and marketing professional, which certainly is not a high demand field right now. So I asked if he would share with me the one or two things that were most useful and productive in his search.

Here’s what he said:

I had someone professionally rewrite my resume and cover letter template to make sure I was presenting myself in the best way. I also used LinkedIn to hunt down contacts for open positions. That helped me in a number of ways. But basically, I worked my butt off for 4-6 hours a day to track down leads. And I was fortunate to have gotten calls back in this market.

My takeaways are:

1. Resumes and cover letters are about putting your best foot forward, and you may not see yourself as clearly as a career professional. Even if you are uncomfortable with some language and think it “exaggerates” things, no reputable professional will stretch the truth. What we will do is use more powerful language that casts you in the strongest possible terms without misleading the reader.

2. Social media contacts definitely work, especially LinkedIn. It provides an invaluable service in giving you the ability to network with people currently working at places you want to work. Work your network to make sure you get a personal reference INSIDE every company to which you apply. That may not always be possible, yet it is a goal worth aiming toward.

Historically, 65-70% of jobs are gotten through networking. Today, that percent is probably much higher as employers are reluctant to spend time and money interviewing people who are complete unknowns to them. Employers want to know that you are likely to be the right fit with their culture and work ethic. Chances are higher that you are if an “insider” recommends you.

3. Looking for work requires a lot of time, discipline and persistence. I call it “leave no stone unturned” job search. Others say looking for work is a full-time job. Put together your job search plan and then implement it. Set measurable targets for yourself, especially regarding your contacts with people who could help you or know of someone who could (otherwise known as networking).