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Conducting an effective job search without a computer and modem is like crossing the country by bicycle instead of jet. You`ll get there, but it will take you longer and be less convenient and far less direct.

Through your computer and telephone lines you can become visible to employers around the clock (via resume databases); find job leads that others never hear about (using electronic mail and public message forums), and research potential employers quickly (with business and media databases).Other tools, like software, fax machines and cellular telephones, also will help you organize, communicate and complete standard job-hunting tasks more efficiently than traditional methods.

Here are ways to start updating your techniques.

- Don't assume that only computer experts in high-tech fields can use electronic job search techniques. All kinds of job seekers and employers already use them.

- Start small. Ask if your public or university library has the `Help Wanted USA' microfiche compilation of classified employment ads from about 60 major metropolitan newspapers, updated weekly. Ask for electronic listings of magazine and journal articles you can peruse to research industries and employers.

- Get software to help you define career paths, produce and mail resumes and manage job-search tasks. Select the best by scanning reviews in "Software Reviews on File" (a book) and Computer Select (a CD-ROM directory) in your public library.

- Get a modem to link your computer to phone lines (basic models start at $30 to $40). Then you can use an online service for a monthly fee (major ones are CompuServe: 800-848-8199; America Online: 800-827-6364; Prodigy: 800-776-3449, and Delphi-Internet: 800-695-4005). Use them to find job and resume databases, career guidance, discussion groups in your field, corporate information, and e-mail service.

- Find out if there is an electronic version of your local newspaper and its classified ads. It's a research tool.

- Use your phone. Call the Career America Connection, the federal government's employment information service (912-757-3000). Review "Job Hotlines USA," (Career Communications, Inc., Harleysville, PA, 1994-95), a national telephone directory listing moe than 1,000 pre-recorded employer job hotline telephone numbers.

- Buy a telephone directory on CD-ROM. For less than $30 you'll have millions of business names in your computer. Sift through them to find potential employers with the characteristics you want.