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Pink slipped? Find work the smart way

Gerri Willis gives tips on how to find a job in a recession.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN

For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' "Home Rich," now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Everyday it seems businesses are laying off hundreds - even thousands of jobs. The unemployment rate is the highest it's been in almost 15 years.

If you're found yourself with a pink slip, here are four tips to help you find a job in a recession:

1. Make friends....fast

In this competitive job market, it's who you know. Not what you know. 80% of jobs are obtained through networking.

Your first step should be to reach out to professional organizations in your industry.

To find out what those organizations are in your field, check out Google or Yahoo! Directory.

Another good option is your college's alumni directory. Find out if there are old classmates who are working at companies you're interested in.

And don't forget social networking sites. Here are a list of social networking sites that could help make your entryway into your next job: BrightFuse, Facebook.com and linkedin.com.

2. Boost your profile online

Make sure that your image on the web is accurate and highlights your best work.

Check out Ziggs.com where you can post a free professional profile on the site.

If a recruiter is looking for a job candidate online, your name may just pop up at the top of a Web search. With a Ziggs profile, you'll be sent an e-mail alert if someone clicks and views on your page.

Sometimes, your professional profile is already online, without you even knowing it. ZoomInfo.com scours the Web, press releases and business Web sites for your professional information. If your profile is on this site, make sure all your info is correct, and supplement the information that's already there.

Companies may use these sites to pick out high quality job prospects.

3. Get in where you can

Freelancing, going part time or volunteering is a great way to make contacts in your field.

While it may not be the ideal work-situation, it will allow you to get more experience and expand your resume.

Here are some web resources to help you: guru.com and project4hire.com. If you're into volunteering, check out idealist.org or volunteermatch.org.

4. Prioritize your search

Sifting through large Internet job sites like monster.com and hotjobs.com are unlikely to help you out very much. Sure, they're well known. But everyone and their brother are looking at those postings.

Next, don't send in a resume that's more than a page long. The shorter and cleaner your resume looks-the better.

And finally, don't forget who you sent your resume to. Keep a list of names and contacts. After a few weeks, it's harder to remember exactly where you've applied if you've sent out dozens of applications. To top of page

Gerri's Mailbox: Got questions about your money? We want to hear them! Send e-mails to toptips@cnn.com or click here - each week, we'll answer questions on CNN, Headline News and CNNMoney.com.
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