Monday, December 14, 2009

7 Job-Hunting Tips during the Holidays

Note: I apologize for the lack of frequency with my posts. I didn't want to go too long without posting, so I decided to write this article containing some great career tips.


Although all signs point to a recovery, the economy is still shaky when it comes to job creation. That said, according to economists and the US Department of Labor, information technology (particularly network management and software engineering) is the #2 fastest-growing career field for 2010 (#1 is healthcare). I still wanted to talk about finding a job during the holidays because:
a) you may be an out-of-work IT professional searching for a job
b) you may be a student who's graduating very soon, so you are searching for a job
c) you may be an IT professional searching for a better job

The Article

This article from MSNBC provides some fantastic tips for searching for a job during the holidays.

My Thoughts

I completely agree with the article, especially the three points: Your Resume is So 2009, Be a cyber elf! Build a better online image, and Rock around the Christmas tree.

In this century, having a professional on-line presence and portfolio (Your Resume is So 2009, Be a cyber elf! Build a better online image) separates the most valuable players from the bench riders in IT. If you don't have any online presence, this is the time to do so. For example:

If you are going to post examples of your work, be sure that you are not violating your company's confidentiality agreements. If you can, modify or "tweak" the project to make it more neutral.

  • Set up a blog with examples of the kind of work you do.

  • Set up a LinkedIn account and use LinkedIn regularly. You can sign up for LinkedIn for free at

  • Set up a Facebook account and use it to publicize the work that you're doing in Information Technology.

  • Use YouTube to make instructional videos or demonstration videos of what you have done or are doing in IT.

Once you set up your on-line presence, mention it in your resume.

If you do have an on-line presence, this is the time to make sure that it's professional. While your non-professional pictures and posts may make your peers laugh (or better yet, may get you an audition to be a participant in one of VH1's fourth-rate "reality" shows), some hiring manager or other manager with a C in his or her title may not find it amusing, and they pass you up for a candidate who can represent the company's brand a little better. It's okay to have a picture of you and your friends skiing in the Rocky Mountains, but it's not okay to post a picture of you and your friends in your undergarments getting drunk in the ski lounge. Start using your social networking sites to highlight your projects, or use the sites as a portfolio of your work.

It's also very important to network (Rock around the Christmas tree), and going to holiday parties give you a chance to expand your social network. The reality is that 80% of the people who found a new job found it through someone in the social network (for the students: yes, your career services department counts as a member of your social network). I'm about to tell you a "well-known" secret - most companies who are looking for employees will use their social (and business) network to find qualified workers before paying money to post an ad on the job websites or the classifieds.

Supplemental Reading

In a few past blog articles, I talk about a few of the tips in the MSNBC article in much more detail, as well as add a few tips of my own. Read my blog posts from January 2009 andfrom October 2008 talking about getting a job in a tough economy.

If you have any tips, please share your tips by commenting.

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