How to cut at least 6 weeks out of your job search

Seriously. I think this can be done. How? It's simple, really, but probably also harder than it sounds because old habits die hard.

The secret to cutting at least six weeks out of your job search is to bypass the outdated, overly optimistic, passive, time-wasting stuff that everyone used to do on the front end of our searches.

Certainly, you didn't do them because you were clueless; you did them because in years past, they often worked. These methods may have even worked the very last time you were laid off, fired or simply found yourself seeking another position.

I'll bet your old (or current) search formula looked something like this:

Day 1: Old Job Ends

Day 2: Eat, drink or smoke yourself silly, convince yourself you didn't need that crummy old job anyways, make voodoo doll of former boss.

Day 3: Post resume on and every other job board you can think of. Call a bunch of recruiters, even the ones you think suck at recruiting.

Day 4: Apply for nearly every job on that is in your immediate geography, regardless of your fit or interest level in said job.

Day 5: Spam every company you can think of with your resume, using a cut and paste form letter.

Day 6: Wait for results.

Days 7-40: Repeat days 3-6 at least 10 times.

The problem with this approach is that, today? Almost no one lands a job after six weeks using it. So don't even waste valuable time testing my theory.

Be proactive instead.

Spend the first week creating a strategic job search plan, one that outlines specifically how you are going to gain exposure to the right people and the right opportunities.

Spend the second week researching the industries, companies and geographies you wish to target.

Spend the third week becoming a wizard with social networking tools (Linkedin being among the most critical), and begin to use them to your massive advantage

Spend the fourth, fifth and sixth weeks actively networking, using your new wealth of social networking talents.

And in the weeks that may follow:

Tweak your game plan. Hold yourself accountable. Make full use of your job search time instead of spinning your wheels surfing Monster alongside the other zillion unemployed people doing the same. Take good care of yourself. Get creative.

Just don't spend more than 20% on the old school, passive search methods. They just don't work anymore.