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Important Job Search News, Views and Tips

The unemployment rate in April was little changed, at 5.0%, according to the latest U.S. Department of Labor report. Employment continued to decline in construction, manufacturing, and retail, while jobs were added in professional and technical services, and health care.

"Health care is one of the areas where there's a tremendous amount of hiring demand, in addition to the technology and energy sectors, which are still pretty buoyant," according to Paul Forster, CEO of Indeed.com.

Tip: The jobs are out there, but hiring demand is shifting from industry to industry. Changing labor conditions are among the only things that don't change in this, or any, job market.

Another thing that never changes is networking. It always produces employment leads. But only if you do it right.

"People who network and get hired through referral programs are usually successful, partly because they're a known quantity to employers and partly because they come with a built-in mentor -- the person who referred them," says Susan Joyce, Editor/Publisher of Job-Hunt.org.

Tip: If you're looking for a job, start networking by getting back in touch with people you used to work with, especially those who have moved on to other companies. Because referrals can count for a lot.

People you meet through associations are another rich source of employment leads. And one way to connect with them is to serve on a committee.

"If you volunteer to help at the registration desk at a professional conference, for example, you'll meet and get a chance to talk to a lot of attendees as they come through the door. I know people who received job offers after demonstrating their competence in volunteer roles, because other committees members were impressed enough to contact them," advises Joyce.

Tip: If you're employed and want to create long-term job security, join and get involved in a professional association. If you're unemployed, join two or three groups, but curb your enthusiasm so you don't appear desperate to people you meet.

Google "YOUR INDUSTRY professional association" and narrow your choices by geography. You can also locate people to network with at Meetup.com. Or simply call your local reference librarian.

Finally, it always pays to keep your options open. That means you should take a long look at the temporary job market.

"A number of companies are hiring employees full-time after first testing them out in contract or temporary roles," according to Lisa Stinespring, Area VP for Doherty Employment Group, in Edina, Minn. She says that your first 30 days on the job are critical, if you want to turn a temp assignment into a full-time position with benefits. The more you can exceed an employer's expectations, the better.

You can locate contract and temp-to-hire openings through agencies like Doherty, Kelly or ProStaff.

You can also land a temp position directly with employers who need someone to cover a maternity leave or extended absence, for example. This option can give you several months of steady income, along with a chance to network with potential co-workers. You can find such openings through your network, on corporate Web sites, and on sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com.

Tip: Whether it's applying through a staffing agency or directly to employers, expand your options to include contract and temporary roles. It might be the path to full-time employment you've been looking for.

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.