Here is my process for changing a career and finding a new job. Why would I want to do this? Because I worked for 30 years in the Defense Industry and when I was faced with my plant closing, I decided to use the crisis as an opprotunity to do something new and more exciting. This was my approach:
I used two books. The first is "What Color is your Parachute". This book has some exercises in it that will help you to identify your skill sets and the types or work you enjoy most, and will help you to write a good resume. This book is updated every few years and has long been the bible for job switchers.
The second book is "The Guide to Internet Job Searching". This book lists many job search sites and gives you a framework to work them. It recommends that you do four things:
1) Pick five of the biggest job boards for your type of work and post your resume to them. I used Monster, Hotjobs, CareerMosiac, Dice, and Headhunter. Dice is strictly for IT jobs, the others are more general. Plan on spending a long time cutting and pasting sections of your resume into their web forms to get yourself registered. Also, I stick to only free postings like at www.jobfox.com
2) Search out and apply for jobs on each these boards every three to five days and take weekends off to enjoy time with the family. I found that the afternoon was best since new jobs tended to get posted mid-morning. I spent about four hours on each sitting, doing one or two of the boards that day, and tried to apply for at least ten jobs per day. I concentrated on applying directly to companies but did apply to some staffing agencies when I liked the job description. The staffing agencies sometimes have exclusives on jobs but it seems to me that, more often than not, they are either collecting resumes to build up their candidate base or posting jobs that are already being posted by the real company to get their commissions. Agencies cost you nothing to use but your chances of getting a higher starting salary are better if you apply directly to the company.
3) Enlist the services of five recruiting companies. I chose all local companies that specialized in my type of work. Two were one man operations, two were big with nationwide offices, and one was a medium sized company that operated only in Atlanta but placed people nationwide. Do not use any company that charges you any fees.
4) Network! Join your local trade oganization. Let everyone you know that you are looking for a new job. Keep a copy of your resume with you just in case. Be ready to interview at all times. Also, attend any local job fairs so you can meet companies and other people. Meeting people at a job fair has a hidden bonus. Those people that are out looking for work are often the same people that are about to create a job opening when they leave their old job. They also tend to also know all of the real open jobs within their old company.
This formula will hopefully give you the high odds at getting a new job. For my last job, I did steps 1 and 3 first to get the process going and then found the job I wanted using step 2.
Also, Note that nowadays you need two versions of your resume, one that is in ".doc" format and one that is in ".txt" format.