Avoiding potential pitfalls
Despite the advantages the Internet affords job seekers, IT professionals need to be strategic in the sites they visit, smart in how they present themselves online, ready to maintain their profiles and careful not to share too much information.
"When looking for online, you have to think big but go small. Never discount the niche sites. Dice, Juju and Monster may have a higher volume of postings but a regional Craigslist may have the most relevant postings for you," says Robert Half Technology's Lee.
"While people are looking for a permanent position, these sites offer good resources for contract work, which can help IT professionals bring in income but also make connections while they are looking for a full-time position," MindIQ's Buik says.
Another pitfall could come in how job seekers use social networking sites. While Forrester's Thomas explains that employers are embracing social networking sites in their candidate searches to learn more about a potential employee's likes, dislikes, hobbies and location, he warns IT professionals need to keep that information up-to-date and relevant.
"As much as stale information on career sites upsets job seekers, the same can be said for potential employers finding out-of-date resumes when they go looking," he says. "Paper resumes could be a thing of the past so the online profile needs to be the best representation of the candidate it can be."
That also means limiting the amount and type of information included on social networking sites. Job seekers should list hobbies that could be viewed as complementary or relevant to a potential job, not likes that may be more personal in nature.
"Use social networking sites intelligently. Don't put anything up there you don't want potential employers to see," Lee says. And don't tweak the resume in such a way that it provides a fabricated representation of experience or skills. Updates to career sites are designed to help candidates accentuate the skills they have to offer, not mislead potential employers.
"IT professionals know they need to be savvy with social networking in the workplace and looking for work, but you walk down a dangerous road when you start looking to present yourself or your resume in a specific way," Lee says. "Don't do anything that would make a potential employee question the validity of the information in your profile."
This story, "Looking for IT Work in All the Right Places" was originally published by Network World.