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9 Lessons Learned: IT Job Search

I recently have received a job offer and I will be starting soon.  I know there are many people who are looking for their next career opportunity and I wanted to share some lessons learned that I have personally experienced during a job search over the years.

  1. Know what you are looking for:  It is important to do your homework and know what type of job you are looking for.  Do you want to find a job as an employer or a contractor?  Do you want to continue doing the work you have been doing or do you want to change career paths?
  2. Use your Network:  It is important to engage those in your existing network and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.  Statistics show that 70% of people find jobs from people they know.  I made a mistake earlier in my career not keeping up with people from previous jobs.  Luckily with social networks such as LinkedIn, it makes keeping up with your network much easier.  Even though I did not get my new job from my existing network, I did receive many job leads.
  3. Keep your Resume current:  It i important to review your resume every 6 months and update it.  It is much easier to do a periodic update rather than update it after you have moved on to another  job.  Also, it might be necessary to update your resume to match the position you are applying for.  If the keywords that are relevant to the job you are applying for aren’t on your resume, you aren’t going to get that initial call especially if the company is using automated tools to screen resumes.
  4. Job Fairs are a waste of time:  I recently attended a job fair.  I had printed out 15 resume copies but when I went from table to table I received the same answer: Please go to our website and apply for any positions you are interested in, we aren’t taking any resume copies.  Statistics also prove that only 2-5% of people find a job at a job fair.
  5. Education or Certifications matter:  I had been putting off getting certifications, so I used part of my time to study and get two certifications.  It was well worth it.  It might also be time for your to go back and get a degree if you don’t have one or would like to improve your skillset.
  6. Third Party Recruiters are important:  I networked with many third party recruiters and I found my new opportunity using this approach.  There are often many jobs that aren’t published on job boards and companies trust this method.  Third party recruiters receive compensation if you are hired, so it is in their best interests for you to get hired.
  7. Finding a job takes time:  It took me 3 months to find my next opportunity.  When you are interviewing, especially big companies, the interview process can be extremly long.  A job search from beginning to end can last 6-8 weeks. Be patient, the offer will come.
  8. Don’t count on one job:  This one is critical.  Don’t stop pursuing other job opportunities because you are confident that you are going to get a particular job.  There are many things that might cause you not to received a job offer.  It is a good idea to have several job opportunities in the works.
  9. Be willing to turn down a job offer:  During my search I turned down a job offer that didn’t exactly meet my needs.  I turned down a few other opportunities that weren’t a good fit for me.  It is important that he next opportunity be a good fit for you.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I hope that it will help you as you look for your next job search opportunity.

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