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PORTLAND -- In a tough job climate, you need every advantage to land the job you want. Here are five strategies to give yourself the best chance, from start to finish.

First, be sure to tailor your application or resume to the job you are going after.

The job posting is requiring specific abilities or skills or qualifications, then those need to be on your resume if you have them, said Tara K. Smith, a human resources manager with natural food distributor UNFI. The hiring manager isn t going to spend a lot of time trying to read between the lines.

Second, be careful about applying for jobs for which you are overqualified. And if you do, explain why, up front.

If you are just looking for a job or career change or you want to get your foot in the door of a good company, you can hopefully explain that in some type of introductory statement, said Smith.

Next, be sure to network, online and in person. You can start with family and friends, but more importantly network with people in the job areas you are seeking. Trade associations, professional societies and other groups often hold mixers and meetings you can attend.

Also, Smith suggests finding learning, volunteer and other opportunities during times of unemployment. Although looking for a job can feel like a full time job, doing these things shows initiative and a willingness to learn and grow. If all this lands you the interview you want, be prepared to talk about yourself, and why you want the job.

When we talk to people who say things like I m looking for a long term position for a place that I can grow I realize I m going to have to start from the bottom and then work my way up, those are all great, and things that you like to hear, said Smith. Because it s like you re going to be invested in this company.

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