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Make Your Job Search as Effective as Possible

Make Your Job Search as Effective as Possible

By Barbara Letvin, Special to the St. Petersburg Times

If you have recently joined the not-so-exclusive club of the unemployed, you may want to yell, scream, cry or all of the above. Not only have you been hit emotionally, but your wallet becomes your main concern. The impact is even greater if you are head of a household. But don’t be embarrassed. Here are some ways to help you achieve success in your job search.

Network every day

“Networking is a critical piece of the job search strategy, especially in this economy,” says Dr. Drema Howard, director of the Career Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She encourages candidates to cast a wide net for opportunities and make sure they have the skill sets and professional image to compete.

It is important to overcome being cautious about telling others you are job hunting. Give them an idea of your skills and achievements.

Keith Ferazzi's Networking Secrets

Check out networking sites like and, but don’t stay in a bunker. Cultivate a personal and professional relationship each day. In addition to relatives, neighbors and friends, talk with members of social, civic, faith or fraternal organizations; former supervisors and colleagues; school acquaintances and teachers; health care providers; and professional or trade groups.

If you have a degree, check your college alumni office for resources.

Caution: Avoid bad-mouthing your previous employer or company.

Gain new job skills

Savvy employers look for job applicants who show initiative to update their skills. If you are currently enrolled in classes, include them on your resume, job application and in conversation. Ongoing learning increases your marketability in a competitive workplace and provides a chance to network.

• Look for computer classes at libraries, schools, work force offices, community centers, social service organizations and colleges.

• Sit with a college adviser to learn your options. If you started a degree, try to finish it.

• Go to and the financial aid office of your prospective college to determine the level of support you might receive. Inquire about scholarships.

• Community colleges offer degrees in two-year programs as well as certificates that can be completed quickly.

• Ask your county’s work force office about retraining and paid education.

Caution: Remember scholarships and financial aid forms have deadlines, and loans must be repaid.

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