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further random questions from the newly-unemployed

OK, now that I've had about a whole week to devote to this full-time 
job-hunting thing, I have a few questions, and perhaps people more 
experienced in the art of 21st-century high-tech employment search can 
answer them.

(1) When I'm applying for a job through a Web form, and the form has a 
TEXTAREA field for typing in a cover letter, what's the appropriate 
style for the letter?  My gut feeling is that since people's attention 
span for email/Web documents is even shorter than their attention span 
for a piece of paper, I should be briefer and less formal than the 
standard cover letter, so I've usually been writing something like this:

"I believe that my experience with X and my strong Y skills make me an 
excellent candidate for your Foobar Engineer position.  Please contact 
me at your earliest convenience, so that I can show you my portfolio of 
code, documentation, and design samples.  Thank you for your attention."

Am I shooting myself in the foot by being so brief?

(2) My headhunter suggested that I mark my (et al) resumes 
as "confidential" instead of making them freely readable by everyone, 
because then anyone who wants to contact me will have to go through the 
site as an intermediary, and if the headhunter proposes me to some 
company for a job, they can't screw her by turning her down, looking up 
my resume on line, and contacting me directly.  This smells fishy to me 
-- as long as both she and I keep track of the dates of our contacts, 
employers can't take advantage of her in this way, and I don't feel like 
there's any benefit for me to place any barriers between me and a 
potential employer.  (It's not like I'm so busy fending off requests 
from companies that want to interview me...)  Does she have a valid 
point, or is she just trying to lock me in to her service?

(3) At what point should I start looking for contract work *even if* I 
don't need the money yet?  As long as my wife keeps bringing in income 
from her job at MIT, that money plus severance plus unemployment plus 
savings could keep our household afloat until sometime in mid-2004, and 
I could spend every day from now until then looking for a full-time 
permanent job (and every night learning Korean by studying the spam in 
my mailbox).  Under what circumstances would the non-financial gain of a 
temporary job outweigh the loss of time to look for a permanent job?

   (that resume, again, is --
    call today!  operators are standing by!)

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