For recent graduates, job searching can be scary and seem like uncharted territory. It's completely understandable to feel restless when you're searching for a new job.

Applications can take a long time to fill out. Companies can take a long time to come back to you and even if they want to move forward with an interview, there are often multiple rounds which require a lot of preparation.

These delays can be very annoying. So what can you do to accelerate your job search? Try a few of these ideas out:

1. Network is essential.

The idea of growing your network early in your career can be an intimidating one. However, having a well-established network can often be the difference between success and failure when you're looking for a new job.

In fact, research shows that 70% of all jobs are not published publicly on jobs sites and as much as 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections.Despite that, you would be amazed at the number of students and recent graduates we talk to that haven’t gone to the trouble of connecting with people at companies they want to work for.

While you're not going to hear back from every single person you message, if you phrase it correctly and don't ask for too much, someone will be willing to give you their time for a chat to answer some of your questions.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Instead of ambushing the person and leading with an ask straight off the bat, you should try to convey a genuine interest and curiosity in their role and the company.

We've recently written a blog on the best way to contact potential employers (with a template included) which should give you a good starting point.

2. Write a cover letter.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to cover letters. They're either a complete waste of time or they go hand-in-hand with your CV when you're applying for jobs. Personally, I am firmly in the camp that believe they can be valuable tool to use in your job search.

It is absolutely essential to utilise your cover letter as a tool to get your personality across. Instead of just focusing on going through past experiences and skills, which is what your CV is for, your cover letter should try to integrate those points into a larger narrative about yourself and your career so far.

A good cover letter reads more like a story than simply just a rehashed version of your CV. Try and take the time to look at the recruiter’s or hiring manager's LinkedIn profile and see if you share anything in common with them.

This could be something as simple as checking to see if you went to the same college as them or worked in the same company at a different time. If you find something that’s useful and reference it, you can ensure that you stand out from applicants with a similar level of experience.

We've written (another) blog post on how you can write the perfect cover letter which offers a template you can use.

3. Quality Over Quantity.

I always find it bizarre when I'm speaking to people looking for a job if they don't have a list of companies they want to target. Your job search shouldn’t be about mindlessly applying for jobs and hoping to get called for an interview anymore. The reason being that is that it has become increasingly difficult in today’s competitive, network-driven job market to simply put in an application, get an interview, and land a job.

We’ve heard countless anecdotes from graduates of them sending out hundreds of online applications for jobs. Hiring managers know the difference between someone who is spraying and praying applications out with the same tired CV and cover letter — and someone who isn’t. Instead, a better approach involves targeting a small number of companies that you want to work for and tailoring your CV and cover letter to fit.

If you spend that extra time you might otherwise use to send off another generic application to instead fine-tune a CV and cover letter for a company on your target list, this will enable you to produce higher-quality applications that clearly demonstrate why you want to work for that particular company and what makes you a great fit.

This can be done by looking at how you can integrate keywords from the job description into your application and communicate how your experience to date compliments the mission and goals of your target company.

4. Research, research, research.

In order to make an informed decision about what job you want to do next, you need to do research. This can help you identify the types of companies and jobs that you're best suited for and the kind of working culture you'll thrive in.

Researching is a skill that should still be relatively sharp if you’ve had any kind of success in college. Thankfully, it’s not gone to waste. In fact, the value of it actually increases as you transition to the working world.

Hiring managers want to see that you’ve been proactively researching the company. Look at the company’s mission, read the latest news updates, and come prepared to know what you want to accomplish in the role and how you’re uniquely qualified to do it.

It’s also crucial to decide whether or not the company is a fit for you. There are countless resources to help you in this pursuit. Take a deep dive Glassdoor which provides you with information from both current and previous employees that gives a behind-the-scenes look at companies.