Job hunting can be scary, even after Halloween has passed. A good hunt gets the equivalent of a full-size candy bar. An ineffective search hits closed doors. Here's a collection of tips from job clubs, recruiters and human resource consultants to improve the odds of a good job offer. Diane Stafford, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers
• Use LinkedIn to connect with people you've worked with, and join the site's relevant online groups to get your name in their networks. Recruiters are scavenging names from LinkedIn because they know that people who know people are the best resources.
• Spend only a fraction of your time answering online ads, then try to focus on specialty niches, trade publications and corporate websites.
• Get out of your house. Attend professional and association meetings in your field. Ask others for information, not jobs. Let people know what you're looking for.
• Don't pass up doors that don't seem inviting at first glance. In this economy, it may not be wise to reject jobs because they don't pay what you used to earn or aren't a step up. A lateral step or a step down may be the foot in the door you need.
• Go to job clubs, community career offices at community colleges and large public libraries, where you'll find excellent job search resources. These are free handouts, often equal in quality to what you'd pay for.
• Don't masquerade as someone you're not. Have an accurate self-perception of your talents and your market worth.
• Study the landscape. Don't waste your time hunting in depressed areas or industries that have nothing to offer.
• Make your own goodies. If you aren't getting a job dumped in your lap, create one. Sell your talents to an employer who didn't even realize he or she needed you. Or research entrepreneurial opportunities.
• Remember your manners. Thank anyone who helps you. And wear a happy mask.
Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.