There are 3 general categories for any job search: geography (where you want to work), industry (the type of business you want to work for), and function (what kind of work you want to do: software development). Usually you can pick 2 as long as you are flexible on the third.
Start by finding companies for which you would potentially be interested in working. Then find people you know or people on LinkedIn with interesting titles that work for that company. The goal here isn't to talk to the CEO or even a VP. The goal is to talk to people who are currently doing what you are interested in. If they are alumni of your school or friends of a friend, that's a great way to introduce yourself. Schedule some time (25-30 minutes) to chat with them. Have questions prepared for the meetings. It's ok to have some general questions that apply to everyone, but try to have some that are specific to that person's job/expertise/company. These meetings are NOT to get a job, they are to learn.
What will naturally happen is you will get to know people who are in the right line of work and they will get to know you. THEN, if you decide to apply for a job with their company, let them know you are applying and ask for any advice they might have. Since you already got to know them, you are still not asking for a job, just advice/guidance. Some of these people may even help you get the job. You gain knowledge and a support/mentoring network to help once you start applying for a job. Now is the perfect time to do it (before you start applying).
I recommend the book "The 2 Hour Job Search." It takes more time than 2 hours to search for a job, but the book is about how to simplify your job search and make it effective instead of overwhelming. Much of the advice above comes from the book.
Best of luck to you!
John recommends the following next steps:
- Find companies for which you MIGHT be interested in working
- Contact people in those companies for informal discussions.
- Come prepared with questions for your meetings
- Follow Up