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Job hunting in 2009–it’s a whole new world

Ah, the good old days. When you could find a job in a day or two. Sometimes within hours. 2009, on the other hand, sucks big time.

My last contract ended on May1, and I’ve been looking for a job for 3 months now. I keep a spreadsheet of jobs I apply to, and I’m now closing in on 65.

The funny part is that I had two job offers in the same day, 3 weeks ago, and it looked like my job troubles were over. I was on my way to a job interview with a new team at GEICO, my previous contract site, and since I had only left there two months before, and I had the exact qualifications they were looking for, it was pretty much just a formality. On the way to DC for the interview, I got a call from a contracting company in Richmond that Bank of America also wanted me. This was a no brainer, since I wanted to stay in Richmond, and this would keep me local. The money was less, but it was close enough to the GEICO rate where I could make do.

As I said, this was 3 weeks ago. And still, I wait. For some reason, there are multiple layers of approval, and I keep getting feedback that still someone else has to approve something,  and it should happen “any day now.” I certainly have wished at times, that I had kept on driving to DC that day.

Anyway, back to job hunting in general. Here are some of the things I would recommend:

  1. Get your resume on dice.com. My last three out of four jobs have come through recruiters calling me after finding my resume on Dice. You can set up a job agent on Dice, just like Monster, and most companies out there, and you will be deluged by so-called job opportunities daily. But not one of them has ever panned out for me. I think companies put stuff out there just to build up their resume database.
  2. Let ALL your friends know you’re looking. This is no time to be bashful. My last full time job came about through a friend.
  3. Maintain or join a professional organization like AITP (Association of Info Tech Professionals). You should do this even if you have a job. The networking potential is easily worth the money and time investment. And sometimes, you can actually learn something new and useful about IT.
  4. Be visible on LinkedIn and Facebook. Use Twitter, but more for searching than advertising. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in finding a job through LinkedIn and FaceBook, but this is more a matter of covering all your bases than anything else.
  5. Bombarding the internet with your resume is a waste of time. See #1 above.
  6. Work on finding a job EVERY day. This is no time to relax. Also use Indeed.com and any other job web sites that you hear about. And track the ones you apply to. It’s easy to forget what you did two days ago. This will also help you meet the job search requirements for unemployment.
  7. Have multiple versions of your resume. If you can do analysis and P/A work, have a version for each one.
  8. If you can work out of town, do it. It increases your chances of finding something. Especially if you live close to a major city, like Washington, DC. That worked for me, as I got a 6 month contract there with GEICO for my last assignment.

And then cross your fingers.