Putting the Job Search Into Gear

GETTING a job is a lot harder than it used to be.

After 20 months of recovery, the economy finally last month made up for the jobs that were lost in the downturn. That said, many of the new positions were with the government. Since jobs in the private sector are scarce, using the right tools is essential for a successful search. Publishers have recently released several books that may help job seekers focus their efforts:

John LaFevre's "How You Really Get Hired" (Prentice Hall, 220 pp., $11) provides an other-side-of-the-table perspective on getting a job, or even switching jobs. As a recruiter who has interviewed thousands of eager applicants, LaFevre explains what corporate America is looking for. Though his perspective may be a bit jarring to the hopeful job seeker, his straightforward, hard-hitting advice can provide the measure of realism needed for a job seeker to get moving.

LaFevre is not shy about asking for extra effort. But he gives lots of surprising reasons why the work is worthwhile. Some of LaFevre's tips provide unusual insight. For most professional jobs, he recommends that candidates "always wait seven to ten days before responding to any ad.... You'll increase your chances of success if you give the company time to perform a major weeding out of the candidates before your resume arrives." In the category of advice that is "uncomfortable" but "highly effective," L aFevre outlines a tough weekly schedule to follow.

Kathryn and Ross Petras's "Jobs '93" (Fireside Books/Simon & Schuster, 685 pp., $15) is an encyclopedic volume that updates their previous edition. Names, addresses, and phone numbers abound. While this book has little in the way of strategies for attacking the search, it provides plenty of leads to pursue.

Tom Morton's "The Survivor's Guide to Unemployment" (Pinon Press, 224 pp., $10) gives practical advice about how to work through psychological challenges related to losing a job. The author uses some frightening scenarios, but outlines useful steps unemployed workers can take to return order to their lives.

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