Want a six-figure job? Put in six-figure effort.

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An extended job search, especially for those who are currently unemployed, can be a soul-crushing, frustrating and incredibly panic-inducing event. In fact, it often is. Many who have trudged through a challenging, lengthy job search look back at that segment of their lives as one of their least favorites, to say the least.

But for some, especially those gunning for the relative few number of high-income, "top of pyramid" roles, some of this distress is completely unrelated to the economy, the jerk HR person who didn't see your worth, or your dumb luck in general.

Sometimes, the soul-crushing lengthy search is happening -- at least in part -- because of your disorganized or haphazard effort.

Here's the thing. Unless you get incredibly lucky,

You cannot land a six-figure job unless you put in six-figure effort.

These jobs aren't just being handed out like food samples at Costco. They're being filled only after careful consideration by a team of executives, who all have to agree they love you ... who all have to agree that you are going to walk through their doors with

firepower, focus and tenacity

and deliver incredible value and results.

You need to make this clear to them right from the intro. You need to demonstrate six-figure effort.

Six-figure effort is not sitting down at your laptop, donut in hand, at 10:30 a.m. to breeze around on Indeed.com for an hour or so.

It's having a game plan, and a daily / weekly schedule that segments out your time into proactive, networking-based activities that will help propel you toward your goal.

Six-figure effort is not using a generic cover letter for every job for which you apply.

People don't tend to hire candidates they suspect are out there wallpapering the universe with the same cover letter. They hire people that are genuine, clear and show the potential employer -- right from the start, why they want to work there, what (specifically) they appreciate about this organization, and how they can make a specific impact. This is impossible to achieve with a generic cover letter.

Six-figure effort is not using one standard resume while targeting jobs in more than one distinct market sector.

Your resume is a marketing document. Clear and simple. And if you don't know who you're marketing to, how on earth are you going to position yourself as the solution to the very things that target audience cares about the most? If you're a sales manager who also maybe wants to be a sr. design engineer and occasionally applies for teaching jobs? Three resumes. Each showcasing your specific talents in that sector. Make yourself make sense to your audience.

Six-figure effort is not phoning it in to a "headhunter" and expecting that she's going to tirelessly shop you around town until she finds THE ONE for you (that's called an agent, by the way, not a headhunter).

It's taking radical responsibility for your career growth and success. Enlisting the support of a respected recruiter that specializes in your field can certainly enhance your overall effort, but you must never, ever assume that you can lob the assignment over the fence at a headhunter and let her take it from there.

Six-figure effort is not having absolutely no job search tracking system.

When you're out there meeting people, networking, applying for various roles and interviewing, you absolutely must have a system in place to keep track of the status of each opportunity and conversation, so that you may follow up and strategize accordingly. A simple Excel spreadsheet will do you wonders.

Six-figure effort is not refusing to participate on LinkedIn, or other social media platforms.

I don't care if you're 68 years old and feel that social media is nothing but a ridiculous waste of time. This is where our world is today. Social media is how recruiters find talent, how professionals make introductions and how we all do research on the people and organizations we're courting. Having a digital footprint is vital today, in terms of demonstrating to decision makers that you're an intelligent, engaged and CURRENT professional.

Six-figure effort is not wearing "any old thing" to the big interview.

It's carefully selecting something you feel great in, and you believe aligns well with the personality of the company. It's about shining your shoes, pressing your shirt and looking like a human who is completely put together, inside and out. This doesn't have to be a budget-busting affair. It simply requires planning, thought and maybe an ironing board.

Do you want a six-figure job? Heck, do you want a great five-figure job? 

Put in the effort. Identify where you're cutting corners. Get real with yourself on what's working in your search, and what's not. Set the donut down (unless it's custard filled - totally gobble that one down). It's time to become strategic, crafty and bold in your job search.

Your life is worth a noble effort. Isn't it time to show yourself what you're truly made of?

Photo: Flickr.com Creative Commons (AMagill)