Out-of-town job-hunting tips from the professionals:
* Plan on at least one and perhaps three trips to the city you've picked. On the first visit, concentrate on making contacts and gathering information. Later, when you are well-prepared, make your approach.
* Keep good records of job-hunting costs; many expenses are tax-deductible.
* Attend career or job fairs, advises Shirley Levin. They are scheduled frequently in the Washington area, particularly by groups of firms in technical fields.
* Don't move to a new community on a whim. Unless you are a big risk-taker, cautions Ray Harris, find a job first.
* See what help your college placement office can offer, says USC's Gregory Hayes, even if you graduated a decade ago.
* If you are over 40, or have a skill that is in demand, contact at least one major executive-search firm.
* Join a professional association and become active to make contacts.
* On your early forays, carry along a brief (one-page) resume to hand out. When you have a clearer idea of a possible employer, prepare a more-targeted resume.
* Nurture your out-of-town contacts. Make sure they know they can call on you if they need help in Washington. Your insider's knowledge of the Nation's Capital, says Penny Garner, can be a valuable asset in building friendships.
* If you haven't looked for a job in years, brush up on career-change skills, such as the interview. You'll be more relaxed practicing first in Washington.
* If you can, get a friend or relative in the target city to take local phone messages. Consider opening a local bank account for a credit reference.
* When approaching a potential contact "cold," try to find something in common on which to build rapport. Says Garner: "People don't hire people they don't know."
* "And keep on going," say Harold and Marilyn Shook, "until you score."