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Career Coach

Dear Career Coach:

I'm a laid-off IT person and I've been having a less than enjoyable job search. Which methods and firms offer the best chance at landing a new position?

Seeker

Dear Seeker:

I asked Don MacVittie, an IT project manager for a major Midwest utility, and Jonathan Feldman, chief technical manager of the Chatham County government in Savannah, Ga., how they find hires.

Jonathan thinks Monster.com and its ilk are "vastly over-rated" and recommends networking. "Milk your contacts," he says. "Have lunch. Talk to people even if they have no immediate openings. That's how I got my job."

Don says his department uses Monster.com as its official application source and occasionally finds candidates there. He sometimes relies on employee referrals but says a lot of successful candidates come from internships. Finally, he hires as full-time employees contractors whose work is needed for the two or more years.