Looking for IT Work in All the Right Places

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Working the Job-Search System

The IT job-search game may not have changed entirely, but job seekers realize they must revamp how they play to get ahead.

Networking has always been a staple in career building, but now the Internet enables networking on steroids. Expanding the job search beyond career sites could also help IT professionals find more postings relevant to their skill set. Nina Buik, senior vice president of MindIQ, an e-learning and IT training company, says joining user groups for specific technologies such as those from Cisco, HP or Microsoft could help IT professionals identify more jobs suited to them and companies looking for such talent.

"Joining an association targeted at specific technologies puts IT professionals in touch with peers at companies that might be looking for their skills. These associations are like fraternities, it is a brotherhood of sorts, and people will help each other if they have established that relationship," says Buik, who also serves as president of Connect, the newly named independent HP user group.

Even with sites such as Twitter and Friendster, for instance, members can pose questions to the community at large, track other members' activities and learn more about events they may find of interest, such as job fairs in a particular industry. Also the 24-7 nature of today's career sites can give members an edge when looking for work.

"Check all of the job sites you are looking at at least once per day. With companies posting new jobs different times of day, getting your hat in the ring earlier might help in getting selected for an interview instead of hoping that you stand out from the crowd when the rest of the heard has applied for the same job," says Ron Nutter, Network World Help Desk Editor and an IT professional who blogged about his experience looking for full-time work in the Kansas City, Mo., area.

Some sites such as Dice will allow candidates to pick and choose the resume they want to submit for a particular position without much effort, according to job seekers. For instance, Monster requires users to create a new profile for each resume, a time-consuming process that negates the added speed applying online offers.

"The only way I can change the resume is to go back to my profile page and upload the one I want to use -- replacing whatever was there," reports Terri Morgan, a principal at Wudang Research Association. With Dice, "Whatever resume you want can be used," she says. "And they have a pretty good tracking system for who's looked at your profile and which jobs you've applied for."

Others have embraced the process of targeting their resume for specific positions online. David Currier, a member of the infrastructure team for Perot Systems/Owen & Minor Medical in Richmond, Va., says typically his experience with online sites is disappointing. For one, he finds that he gets too few responses -- "like none usually" -- to applications, and the postings on the sites often seem stale. But when he ventured beyond the standard job boards, he had a better experience.

"I did hear that posting on Dice got more attention so I revamped my resume to provide more detail [not less like usual], a motto [some said they really like my motto] and I also indicated what languages I used during development and the phone started ringing off the hook," Currier says. "I got more contacts in three days than I had previously gotten in six years."

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