Here's a quick list to secure a job fast.
1. Job applications and interviews are NEVER the right places to be humorous. One man's meat is another man's offensive innuendo.
2. Build a network and reputation. Surveys have shown high percentage of job hunters find work through means other than responding to job advertisements. Let your network know you are looking.
3. Research any possible job to the point where you can accurately describe what you would be doing in the role hour by hour throughout a typical and an unusual day. Use newspapers, the web, your contacts, your contacts' contacts and contacts included in the ad.
4. Spend a week (yes a week) putting together a powerful CV. Ensure it includes a ratio of two achievements for each job responsibility listed. Include pithy/bullet point statements that explicitly tell a story of your achievements that increases the fit with the job requirements.
5. Write a series of stories "about a time when" that showcase your work-relevant achievements and aim to produce at least four such stories for each job requirement your research or the ad say are important. Include one or more on the CV and memorise the remainder for the interview.
6. Tailor each CV precisely to the job advertised. Follow my golden rules of fit: if it increases the fit between you and the job, include it on the CV and say it in the interview; if it decreases the fit, omit it from the CV and don't discuss it in the interview.
7. For the interview, dress one level smarter than the typical dress levels your research has shown is the norm in the workplace. Ensure hair, nails, odour, piercings and tattoos are under control/under wraps.
8. Ensure you know your CV inside out and have practised your stories. Listen carefully to questions asked in interviews and do not hesitate to ask for clarification. Make eye contact with all the people interviewing you. Always have a question to ask at the end of the interview. A real cheat is to ask, "You talked about X, can you tell me a little more about that please?"
9. Manage your referees by selecting only those who will support you. In turn, support them with an up-to-date CV and job description. Ask their permission and whether they'll be supportive before providing their details.
10. Be concerned about your reputation - it is your career. That means managing your public profile by limiting Facebook material to close friends or information you'd be happy for a boss to see. Get a LinkedIn profile. Put up a CV with MyCareer. Keep in touch and make yourself useful to people in your network. Continue to build your network.