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DON'T WASTE TIME ASKING WHY YOU WEREN'T HIRED

Dear Joyce: As a finalist for a job, I thought I had a pretty good rapport with the inside recruiter. But then I received an e-mail they went with the other finalist. I was so perfect for the job that I asked the inside recruiter for an explanation. to improve my future searches. All he would day is that the other candidate was better qualified for the position. Why?

-- K.R.

Dear K.R.: Two words: legal liability. The vast majority of people would be grateful for constructive tips, but there's always the chance that a disgruntled rejected candidate will sue and company lawyers can't have that.

That's why you are told that another candidate was a better match, or that the company has decided to pursue other candidates, or a pro forma automated response like the one Microsoft uses:

"Thanks for your reply. While I realize you want feedback for career development, I am not allowed to disclose specifics related to our selection process. I would encourage you to continue applying for positions of interest (at our Web site)."

A third-party recruiter is far more likely to tell you why you aren't being hired. Even so, remember, career coaching is not the recruiter's mission: finding the best person for each job opening is.

Another route: If you keep losing out, consider working with a career coach.

Lesser work

Dear Joyce: I am a marketing manager forced by unemployment into lower-paying sales work. Aren't there any good jobs left in this so-called recovery?

-- C.S.
Dear C.S.: The magazine Business 2.0 in its November issue ("Who's Hiring Now") takes a crack at listing 100,000 good jobs by employer. Banking giant Wells Fargo is reported to be looking for 20,000 sales people to collar more of the home-financing market. Defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing are in the market for thousands of new hires, the magazine says. The list goes on. Take a look.

Free e-mail

Dear Joyce: I plan to set up two different free e-mail addresses because I'm looking for two related but different types of jobs. Other than Yahoo.com and Hotmail.com, what other sites now offer free e-mail addresses?

-- D.P.
Dear D.P.: Google's Gmail -- gmail.google.com -- is the big shout at the moment because it offers a gigabyte of free storage, but privacy advocates object to scanning of e-mail to determine what ads to display.

Two other free e-mail contenders include accounts in the Ask Jeeves group: myway.com and excite.com.

If you need help organizing your job search in other ways, look at the free Web site jobfiler.com.

Forensic scientists

Dear Joyce: My teenage daughter says she wants to be a forensic scientist like the ones on CSI TV programs. What must she major in at college? And -- more important -- where is this dad going to find the money to pay for her college?

-- G.J.
Dear G.J.: Beginning forensic scientists usually must have at least a bachelor's degree in forensic science, chemistry, biology, physics or physical anthropology. Advanced degrees are needed for advancement. Continue your investigation at the Web site of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, aafs.org.

As for the wherewithal, a fee-based Web site may be a substantial help: FindTuition.com, which is a division of CareerBuilder.

According to a professional newsletter, College Spotlight, the site claims to have the largest scholarship database, including merit-based, need-based and athletic-based financial aid offerings.

You create a profile based on such qualifiers as major, state, gender, race, religion and test scores. Then software searches for money based on your profile data. A three-month subscription is $40.

Although I have co-authored a book on college financial aid, I have no comments on the site's usefulness because it's too new.

E-mail career questions to Joyce Lain Kennedy at jlk@sunfeatures.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007

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