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What is the best way to find an IT Job?

By lgreene ·
With so many choices of job search engines and community sites such as Craig's List, I am curious as to the best way to actually find a job. Has anyone found a really good site or other type of media to search for jobs? Any kind of suggestion or comment is welcomed.

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I think

by Candy In reply to What is the best way to f ...

I think you may have answered your own question in part.. "with so many choices of job search engines and community sites.." The more places you can search, and present yourself, the broader the chance you'll see/be seen for something just right for you.

I used JobDango and set up notifications for any new postings for IT positions. It was a broad enough range that I saw everything coming and going on the site. Some days I'd send out a half-dozen to dozen resumes, some days there'd be nothing for me to pursue.
I also used Craigslist, as well as going directly to area employers' websites, checking out their employment links.
And then, there's networking - my partner put the word out that I was an available geek, and did anyone know of any open IT positions.

In all, I got hits.. nibbles?? from each of the above methods. The one that stuck in the end was via Craigslist.

"Craigslist? That's just stuff for sale and tawdry hook-ups! I'll never find a job there!"
Who knew? :)

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You may not like my answer, but. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to What is the best way to f ...

.....the best place to fnd a job is where one is not being offered. If you'd like me to elaborate, let me know.

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Damn

by drowningnotwaving In reply to You may not like my answe ...

That is quite possibly the single best thing you have ever posted Max.

{And that makes 2 in one day. Goddammit. Up really is down.}

lgreene - ask for clarification to get more on this point.

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Please Elaborate

by lgreene In reply to You may not like my answe ...

Maxwell,

I'm interested in what you mean by "where one is not being offered".

Thanks,

lgreene

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Pick an industry, any industry. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Please Elaborate

..... and I don't necessarily mean "the IT industry", per se, even though the same principles would apply.

They ALL use Information Technology to create and/or deliver their end product. All of them. Automobile dealerships, Insurance companies, lawyers, architects, engineers, real estate companies, private schools (public schools are a different animal, but are certainly a possibility), grocery store chains, breweries, larger restaurants, auto parts stores, department stores, car rental companies, and on and on the list goes. The list is as long as the Yellow Pages! It helps if you have a knowledge and interest in the industry, of course, but most people can intelligently discuss myriad things without being an expert in manufacturing widgets, so to speak. And like I said, the "IT industry" is no different.

Then pick a particular company within that industry, and research it until you can discuss with anybody what they do, the product they offer, who their customers are, the number of employees they might have, and so on. You don't have to get real particular about the details, but just get to a point so that you can intelligently tell them what they do instead of asking them what they do; just understand who it is you're talking to. (I'm amazed at the people who've called me asking for a job, and then proceed to ask what we do!) You'll also find the name of the president of the company, by the way, and that's your contact.

You're gonna' call that person -- by name -- and offer your services in a way that will clearly show that you can apply your skills with information technology issues that will help the company improve its product, its process, or its profit. You'll know what kind of computer network would accommodate their needs -- for example, whether or not they might use remote access for a sales staff and such, whether or not they have satellite offices, the kinds of end users they might have, the kinds of software they might use, and you'll know their Web site inside and out. You'll know what kinds of computing and IT challenges that industry might be having. And you will not "ask for a job", but rather "offer your services". There IS a HUGE difference.

But they don't have a job posting, you might say? Great! All the better! You have absolutely NO COMPETITION! Companies never really want to talk to someone who calls "asking for a job" anyway; but they ALWAYS want to talk to someone who they believe can make their company better, more productive, and more profitable. And if they don't have a "job opening", but here they have, sitting right in front of them, a person that they want on their team, they'll either find a job opening or make one. Not only will you be selling your knowledge and skills, but you'll also be selling yourself in a way that gives them a loud-and-clear message that you're a real "go-getter" -- AND you understand their needs. All good companies understand the win-win philosophy, and that will be your approach and mind-set.

It won't work, you say? Yes, it will work. It's worked for me -- many times. Since I've been in my current industry, (one that uses information technology, but is not a stereo-typical "information technology" industry), which is about twenty five years, I've had jobs with five different companies -- the current one for over fifteen. I've never answered a want-ad or job posting -- not even once -- and none of the companies were actively looking for someone to fill the position they eventually hired me to fill. In my current case, they literally created the position just for me.

I will admit, this approach isn't for everybody. Some people actually believe they can't sell themselves. But they'd see it if they'd only believe it. And while this approach is extremely successful when one focuses on smaller companies, it may not be as effective with an industry giant. But even with an industry giant who ALWAYS has "job openings" along with a huge HR department to filter candidates, if you're introduced to the middle-managers or HR folks by the corporate officer that you called instead of walking in the door along with everybody else, you've increased your chances exponentially.

The bottom line is this. Don't wait around and settle for some bone ..... I mean some job that somebody might throw your way. Instead, define the job that you want, locate where that might be, and pursue it with confidence and passion. Oh, and by the way. Once you get your position, you'll have to deliver what you promise. But that's never a problem for someone who has such an extreme interest in what they're doing. In fact, you're gonna' deliver MORE than you promise -- and then you'll be well on your way to a very long and satisfying career.

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That is exactly how I got my last three jobs

by drowningnotwaving In reply to Pick an industry, any ind ...

Don't mean to make this a love-fest Max.


It's may SEEM scary to do but you "lgreene" will be surprised that the first call is the hardest and you'll actually find that people WANT to hear from you and listen to you.

If you can overcome the initial fear you will find it is so much more rewarding than the lottery of the resume and job ads.

Max's critical point - you have NO competition. If the company genuinely can't fit you in then you've lost nothing anyway (and invariably you've made good future contacts that WILL ALWAYS remember your name, even in 10 years time). But if they are impressed with your go-getting attitude, and your skills work with them, more often than not they will make a position for you. Entrepreneurs are impressed by 'junior entrepreneurs'.

Here is a couple of practical to-dos that follow up Max's points:

--> How do you find the name of the specific individual? * ask a friend (or friend-of-friend) who works in, or does business with, said company. A firm referral is worth a hundred cold calls. * get on the web site - they often have key individuals listed there. * On Monday, call the company and ask who is the CEO, or at least the director (or in USA, the VP) of the division that you wish to work for. Never go for anything less than that level. But DO NOT ask to be put through to that person on the first call. Get back on the web and research them. Then make another phone call when you are prepared for that individual. I usually do it the next day as you have less chance of the receptionist remembering your voice.

{Even if the CEO / VP are not the people who would decide on a job at 'your level', by calling them first you instantly get an internal referal. When you find out who the proper person is, you call them and tell them that "the CEO (insert name) said it is critical that we speak about an opportunity for (insert company name)". You just effectively guaranteed your first interview.

{That's a repeat of what Max said - I just re-read his note, but it is worthwhile repeating (ha hah hah).}


--> PRACTISE your initial call. With your mother. Your cat. The mirror. Make sure that you are prepared TO SPEAK PROPERLY.
Think about this - actors are amongst the best speakers in the world. If they practise and practise and practise before an important scene, isn't it an example of the right thing to do? I practise to myself. I laugh at myself. When I can do it without giggling I know I've got it down.


--> Really (no, really really) do your homework on the company. Find out what you can about the people, their current affairs, industry-specific issues happening at the time, recent large sales, recent acquisitions. google-search it. Yahoo it. Look on wall street sites for information about them or parent companies. Who are their competition? read the annula reports - not for the dollars and cents, but to get the company vision and objectives for the future. What is the CEO's vision and how can you use the exact terminology in your resume and introduction? Whatever. Go in prepared. then use that information judiciously.

{I have had a person walk in and their first sentence was "well you guys truly f-cked up that sale to XYZ". Since it was actually me who had indeed f-cked up the sale it didn't hit my nice spot immediately. If you want to show your knowledge, err on the side of positive things. It probably has less risk!!}.

Remember, a web-based recruiting agent does not give a $hit about you or if you are the 'best' person for a particular role. Like real estate agents they are after a 'quick' response. So they search the resumes for 'quick' fixes and matches to a criteria list. Quick responses are quick dollars. Detailed examination is just too much work for most of them.

A good recruiter who actually calls you before the ad is placed, well that is a different matter. Sometimes. Maybe. Handle with care. Bloody sales people.

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Knowing the other company

by JamesRL In reply to That is exactly how I got ...

I never asert I know everything in an interview. But what I will do is ask a question that will give me an opening to show them the research I've done and more importantly how my ability to interpret it can help them.

I will give you an example. For my last interview, I googled alot and found a sales presentation on the companies products and background. I then googled for more general information about the industry to see what the challenges are in the industry itself.

So when I was in the interview I asked, "whats your company's biggest challenge" Of course I had thought about a few of them and had considered the options they face. So when then answered : Challenge A, I could talk about possible approaches, asking them what they had tried how it had worked out. It sounded to the person that was interviewing me that I really wanted the job because I had both done some research and put some thought into it.

I think a good searcher should devote some time to a number of approaches. Some headhunters are boutique types - they act as part of the HR department of a few firms and are on retainer versus fee for each placement. Find them and court them. I've had less of a good experience with larger placement firms that tend to be machines.

Personal networking works for some, targeted marketing letters for others, shotgun applications for others. The task of looking for a job is a job, and a difficult one at times. You really ahve to set clear goals and make plans on how to meet them. The big thing I learned is; if what you are doing is not getting results, change your approach. Your resume not hitting the spot? Change it. Not having luck with one industry - consider another.

James

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Therein lies the rub

by jdmercha In reply to Pick an industry, any ind ...

"...offer your services in a way that will clearly show that you can apply your skills with information technology issues that will help the company improve its product, its process, or its profit"

This is not all that easy to do. Especially if you are an honest individual, and are unwilling to stretch the truth. I have tried this and they ended up taking my advice, but not my services.

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An addition to my message

by maxwell edison In reply to Please Elaborate

Good companies are ALWAYS on the lookout for good people. And regardless of the doom-and-gloom reports you read in the newspapers or hear on the news, the USA is almost at FULL employment right now. (Full employment, according to labor experts, is measured somewhere in the range of 3-4 percent unemployment -- which equals 96-97 percent employment. Right now the unemployment rate's at around 5 percent.) What that means is, people are not beating a path to the doors of these companies looking for a job (or in your case, offering your services).

One of the things I hate the most is "advertising" for a position, and that's probably a typical sentiment. Getting bombarded with resumes and phone calls, and spending hours upon hours interviewing people is a real drag. The point here is to illustrate that good companies don't want to wait until they have to advertise for a position, thus my comment they're ALWAYS on the lookout for good people. It's always better to fill a position, so to speak, before the need to do so becomes critical. So when a good prospect DOES show up at their doorstep, it's not only a better environment to talk, but you have a better opportunity to "stand alone" in the crowd. After you leave the interview, the PTB are not asking themselves, "Who should we hire" from this pool of a gazillion applicants, but rather "This person seems pretty bright, and perhaps we should find a spot for him/her." (Or look at it this way. If it's you versus two hundred applicants, you might see your odds as 1 in 200. But if it's you versus you, there's a 50-50 chance for success.)

Disclaimer: Do ALL companies fit the picture that I'm painting? No, of course not. But in this environment, you don't want to work for those companies anyway. And as such, it's YOU who's in a position of looking for that good fit, not them. I might even say this. The companies that continually advertise for people are, by definition, not as good as companies that seldom do. Therefore, if you want to find the "good companies", look at the ones who don't continually advertise for people.)

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Another message addition: How to start?

by maxwell edison In reply to Please Elaborate

After you've done the research we've suggested, you're going to send your one-page resume (Did I say one-page resume?) and a cover letter directly to the person (President, CEO, CIO, etc.) you've determined is your best contact at the company. You WILL NOT start your cover letter with "To whom it may concern", or "Dear Sir or Madam", or any other generic nonsense. You'll address that person by name: "Dear Mr. Smith". You'll also mention the name of the company in the cover letter: "....The skills that I can offer ACME Widget company....". You'll use the best stationary money can buy, and the form of your letter and accompanying resume will be perfect. (Did I say that the form of your letter and resume will be perfect?)

Wait about two or three days after you've mailed the inquiry, and then follow up with a phone call -- asking for that person by name. The stage for the phone call will have been set. "Hello, Mr. Smith. I'm calling to discuss the resume I sent you a few days ago, and how I believe my skills and experience can help ACME Widget Company. Do you have some time this week to meet with me, or would another time be better?"

And to get yourself into the correct mind-set and in a real groove, contact several companies at the same time. Don't start with only one, but rather select several from the same industry -- even competitors. This will serve several purposes. First of all, that "mind-set" thing is huge; answers will become automatic, and your confidence will soar. Second of all, you'll be giving yourself more opportunities instead of just one. Third of all, the inevitable question, "Are you talking to anyone else" can then be answered honestly. "Well yes I am. I have an appointment with ACE Widget Company tomorrow morning." Fourth of all, after some time goes by and you've "offered your services" to several companies, it will be you who can then determine which company would be the best fit for you (Because you will, after all, get more than one offer!), and your starting salary can be negotiated more in your favor.

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