Job hunters, of course, should have a sharp resume, dress well for the interview and try to avoid that speck of spinach sticking to your front teeth.

Job hunters, of course, should have a sharp resume, dress well for the interview and try to avoid that speck of spinach sticking to your front teeth.

That’s the easy part.

One expert strongly suggests a longer term, intentional and informal process. Get to know that potential employer, and let the people there get to know you.

“We all know hiring is done mostly through word of mouth,” said  Alexandra Levit, author of “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College,” “How’d You Score That Gig?” and “New Job, New You.”

Say you want to work – or at least think you want to work – for Corporation A. Set up an informational interview with someone who works there. This is outside the formal HR process, but it gives you an insight into the company and it gets your foot in the door.

“Put a personal face on what tends to be an anonymous process,” Levit said in a phone interview last week.

Other advice includes thinking long and hard about what industries to go after. She’s not high on manufacturing – “Manufacturing keeps going up and down” – but points out that health-care management and technology is projected to account for one job in 10 nationwide by 2018. She also sees rising demand for accountants and in “informtion security” (not quite the same thing as information technology).

Levit also is associated with DeVry University and notes that it has programs in all three of those growing fields. The training is specific, and DeVry programs are flexible, she said. “You can really do it at your own pace,” she said.

The recession, of course, has changed everything. There are still about five job seekers for every opening, she said, but it was double that a year ago. The coming labor shortage that economists and business leaders have fretted about for years is being delayed, but even in an era of high unemployment some businesses are having finding workers with the skills they needed. Job seekers often either lack those skills or don’t fully know how to assess and market the skills they do have, Levit said.

“I still hear that from employers every day,” she said.

Need to upgrade? Sure, but first things first. Keep that job that you do have, she says, and then weigh the costs and benefits of a specific training program – and remember that looking for a new job is about as demanding as having a full-time job.

Bear in mind what employers are looking for. Those include a workforce with a spirit of service – think about community volunteers – and also include good interpersonal skills, which often turn up in surveys as being more important that education and training.

And remember that the employer has to turn a profit.

“They’re looking for people who can make a contribution to the bottom line right away,” Levit said.