Date: April 10, 2014

Although the U.S. is now consistently adding thousands of new jobs each month, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that extended job searches still remain rather prevalent in the country.

The latest report, released February 3, showed that while 19.3 percent of job seekers found work in less than five weeks, a staggering 42.9 percent saw the process extend beyond 27 weeks. With this in mind, there are a number of steps individuals can take in order to shorten the quest for employment, according to the International Business Times.

First, candidates should be sure to complete a goals assessment, which can help you identify precisely which type of position you are looking for, including the industry, experience level and region of the country. Completing this assessment can allow you to match up your skills and personality with available opportunities, particularly if you are considering changing careers.

After a clear set of goals are established, you should move on to the development stage for your cover letter and resume, according to the publication. An effective resume is tailored to the position for which you are applying, contains information found in the job description, highlights your relevant skill set for the position and demonstrates why you are a good fit with the company.

The cover letter, on the other hand, offers an outlet to expand upon your prior experience, pointing out which skills can transfer to the new position and emphasizing your interest in the position.

Once these preliminary steps are accomplished, you are in good position to attend networking events, take full advantage of social media sites such as LinkedIn and send out inquiries to companies that are hiring. Networking can often be the key, and job seekers should be sure to engage in this activity on a regular basis, whether this means participating in discussion threads online or attending meetings with professionals in your industry.

Many individuals seeking employment opportunities have taken to social media and mobile applications to further their networking reach, and it appears as though these new strategies are working. According to a recent poll conducted by LiveCareer, 68 percent of job seekers around the country are optimistic about their prospects of landing a job, regardless of the outcome of the presidential election later this year.