If you have decided to actively seek a new job, the following items are recommended.

1. Get a phone answering machine. Get one with remote control, so that you can interrogate it from work or while you are on the road. It is now an acceptable practice to leave a message, at least in the U.S.A. The recorded message should be functional and friendly without being flip or overly personal. The key elements are
Let the caller know that you have been reached
Let the caller know that you are not available at the moment but will return the call as soon as possible
Invite a message to be left
Thank the caller

2. Get access (buy, beg, borrow) to a PC with a word processor and a spell checker. Always spell check before sending any letter, resume out.

3. With the PC, get a letter quality printer. I'll stay away from dot matrix printers, their output do not look professional. A sheet-fed ink-jet printer is inexpensive and provide good quality output. If you have more $/�/�/DM, then get a laser printer. Also buy some good quality bond paper (25% rag?). Don't skim on the paper, it can make a bad impression. Also no colored paper (certainly not the orange paper in the "Perverse Guide to Getting Hired", A. Meiss, reposted by Ly), stick with white or linen.

4. Get a fax/modem. Buy the fastest you can for your budget, but any speed will do the job. You can get 2400/9600 fax modem for less than $30 now, so no reason not to get one with your PC. It is used more for sending faxes out than for receiving so you will need one of the software that allows you to use the fax-modem as a printer. My experience is that you get better quality output if you do not have to convert to paper. This is important because your resume may be faxed again and a third generation copy through two fax machines is barely legible if it was not good to start out with. You may arrange to scan your signature in by faxing a copy of your signature from a conventional fax to your fax/modem. A fax/modem card, provided you already have a PC, will pay for itself in no time. Fax outlets charge you $1-3 per fax, and you have to run/drive out to the place. If you have to send long distance, you can wait until late in the night to send out your fax and save a lot more $/�/�/DM in telephone charge. Remember that faxes work 24 hours a day and you can control when to send a fax, unlike a telephone call that can only be done during business hours. See below for a listing of bulletin board you can access.

5. Probably an unnecessary suggestion since you are already a member of VACET, get a computer account with access to the internet. See listing below for access to job bulletin boards and usenet groups where jobs are posted.

6. If you are not currently employed, have business cards printed with your name and home address, phone number, e-mail address. Again don't try a fancy design (this comment applies to engineers/ engineering managers). In general it pays to be conservative in the context of your job.

7. If you use a laser printer, you may want to buy lots of the large envelopes so that you can mail your letter flat. The ink on laser printed document has a tendency to flake off, so I am told. Besides it is nicer to receive a flat resume than one which is folded up.

The following was submitted by [email protected] and very timely too!


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