If it looks like a RIF is coming to your door, David Waelde of Federal Research Service Inc., has these job-hunting tips:

Realize there are jobs available. "It's not a cemetery out there, but it's up to you to develop several sources for locating the job vacancies."

Once you locate an opening in the government or the private sector, tailor your resume or SF 171 -- the standard government employment application form -- to the job that is available. Be sure to give specific examples of your experience and qualifications to do that job.

Prepare for your interview. Learn as much as you can about the firm. If it's a government agency, call the public information office and get copies of the annual report, organizational chart and brochures about its programs.

At the interview, come in with a question list about the job. Show that you have researched the position.

Make a sales pitch. "A job interview is a commercial -- you're selling yourself."

Never speak in the negative about yourself. Turn your comment around and try to make a positive statement.

Job hunters, Waelde advises, must remember that their goal is to make a good impression with a prospective employer. "You should be able to answer what may be, perhaps, their unspoken question: 'Why should I hire you for this job?'"