THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Seven steps: Strategies that will get you a job

The job market is good, the Internet is buzzing, and optimism is high. Still, the best jobs require talent before you walk in the door-– you need to know how to search. Seven tips:

1. Understand keywords. Only three to five percent of job seekers find employment through online job sites. In order to be one of this small percentage, you need to tailor your resume to keyword searches. "Sending a resume to a big company's web site is like sending your resume into a black hole," says John Sullivan, professor of management at San Francisco State University. "In a big company, your resume is sorted by an applicant tracking system."

Sullivan tells of a study where researchers took a job opening and wrote 100 perfect resumes for that opening. Then the researchers added more info to the resumes. Only 12% were picked up by the tracking system as qualified. This means that even if you are the perfect candidate, there is almost a 90% chance that no human will ever see your resume.

So be specific about your skills.

2. Don't depend on your resume. The typical resume is linear, and makes people without linear careers look like a mess. Such resumes highlight work gaps and leave little space for achievements that did not contribute to corporate life.

Dana Zemack abandoned the conventional resume. She wrote a letter to a PR agency about how she had been throwing large, elaborate chocolate-tasting parties and charging admission. She had been generated great publicity for her parties– and ended up generating herself an agency job!

3. Go local. Smaller companies posting on smaller job sites look for employees who may not have a resume optimized for a computer screening. This is how Zemack found her job.

Another way to go small is to join professional groups on MySpace. These are people who will know where jobs are. Also, Millunchick says recruiters search through these groups for marketing and technical people.

4. Focus on the referral. Eighty percent of available jobs are not posted on job boards. But people who work at companies know what positions are available. And employers love referrals, because referral employees have such low turnover.

Many companies pay employees tens of thousands of dollars for a successful referral. Pander to that carrot system by offering yourself up to an employee at one of those companies.

Find people to refer you by looking on sites such as MySpace, Friendster, and Linkedin. Do keyword searches to see if your friends of friends have jobs at companies that interest you.

Offline networking works, too. It's just slower. There's is no keyword search when you walk into a party, but once you've made the acquaintance, you can Google the person to find their connections.

6. Stalk your dream job. If you know your dream job but have no connections, identify someone you want to talk to within a company and get in touch with them: Find an email address, phone number, a conference your target is speaking at. Then ask for an informational interview.

You are far more likely to get a job from an informational interview than from blindly sending resumes. Most people will be flattered by your request and will give you some of their time. Remember an informational interview is not when you ask for a job. But often, if you make a good impression, the person will help you get a job.

7. Make your own job. Zemack's career really took off with those chocolate-tasting parties. She is still genuinely touched by each person who turned out for those early parties where she bet her credit rating on herself. And in the end, she discovered something that is not a new rule at all: That believing in yourself and creating avenues for your own success attracts a magnificent network of supporters.