No Foot in the Door? Work on Those Contacts

You've got the picture by now - companies need workers, and you need to work.

But if you attend a small, rarely heard of college, where corporate recruiters show up about as frequently as new features at the on-campus cinema, landing a job takes some work.

So how do you get a foot into the hottest market of the decade?

In a nutshell: networking.

It isn't quick. But it will yield results - and impress employers.

"The most effective method to get a job is to talk to your friends, your parents, your neighbors, even your minister," says Jerry Falco, director of the career development center at Lycoming College, a small liberal arts school in Williamsport, Pa.

One student who graduated from the school last year, he says, used a friend of the family to land a broadcasting internship with the Philadelphia Eagles. The student is now on the football franchise's permanent payroll.

The holidays provide one of the best times to network. So pour two glasses of eggnog, saunter over to Uncle Fred, and pick his brain about life as an accountant.

Talking to alumni is also key.

Most people willingly help someone from their alma mater. Your career center should have a list of alums, their employers, and their telephone numbers.

Your mission is to place your rsum in the right hands - preferably of a manager in the department where you want to work.

Then there are career fairs. If your school doesn't hold them, bigger colleges nearby will. Find them, and ask your career counselor to sign you up. Also, professional associations sponsor their own recruiting fairs.

And don't forget the Internet. Companies post job openings (even recruiting schedules) on their Web sites as well as whom to contact.

Be persistent. Mr. Falco says one senior last year landed a broadcast internship with Sally Jessy Raphael through sheer determination. "She called them so many times, they got tired and finally said, 'You've got it.' "

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