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Senior-level executives and MBA students alike are experiencing the effect of a weakened U.S. economy, including Wall Street cuts totaling more than 40,000 jobs in the last year and retrenchment at banks and securities and consulting firms. If you count yourself among the laid off and unemployed, what can you do to land a job?

Don't necessarily restrict yourself to finding a job in your old industry. It may not be there. Instead, notice what other industries are flourishing. If you are out of work, you may do well to pay attention to the stock market - which stocks are flourishing and which are languishing is often a clue as to who is hiring. Go to the job-posting sites on the Internet (sites where employers post the jobs they're trying to fill), not just to look for particular jobs, but - as a part of your research - to notice which industries are now appearing on the job-boards again and again. However, it is extremely important not to limit yourself to job listings. Dick Bolles, author of the best-selling job hunting book "What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers", describes job-posting sites as "'Job-hunting slot machines' that are bound to pay off eventually for someone - often for a lot of 'someones,' but not necessarily for you. According to Bolles, "even the famous sites - such as HeadHunter.Net, Monster Board, Career Mosaic, Career Path, America's Job Bank, and Career Builder - each give you access, at best, to only .06 percent of all U.S. employers and 6 percent of all vacancies." Indeed, according to Bolles, one job-posting site that had 30,000 resumes posted had only 15 employers look at any of those resumes in a three month period!

You can also search want ads in the newspaper, trade magazines, and other publications to find the perfect job you've always dreamed of. However, your odds aren't much better here. Even during the best of times, experts estimate that 80 percent of the job market is "hidden" or "closed", meaning they're not advertised and you won't find out about these openings without some digging around.

If you have been responding to classified ads and have received a stack of rejection letters up to your neck, don't take it personally or think that it means there aren't any jobs out there for you. There are employers who want you - they just don't advertise.

First, some good news: The economy is picking up again, albeit slowly. However, even in a boom economy, it's possible for a hiring manager to walk up and down the street looking for a particular person while that very person could pass right by them, on the street, without the two of them ever knowing how close they had come to finding each other. To generate the kind of job leads you need, it is imperative to broadcast your qualifications to the largest market possible. Targeted mailing is the fastest way to do so. It is still possible to find something that's fulfilling both financially and professionally - you simply need to know your targets.

The following links may provide more insight into your job search.

Business Week online has articles on a variety of topics related to your job search, including employment trends, career advice, work & family, and career paths.