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How to Land an IT Job in a Troubled Economy - Networking, Relocation & Qualifications

written by: jeff•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/30/2009

In this second part of our guide to finding an IT job in times of recession, we explore more tools for finding those computer hardware and IT systems jobs that are in such short supply. This article includes some tools and techniques you may have overlooked.

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    Finding Employment in IT during recession

    Use word-of-mouth

    Leverage your contacts and peers in the industry – find out if they know of any openings that need to be filled. Make sure they are aware that you are in the market. If you've worked directly with them in the past, get their buy-in to act as references for you. Don't forget: In addition to job fairs, you should also utilize other social venues to find job leads, including get-togethers among friends and peers, industry conferences, church and golf or other sports outings.

    Use tools such as Resume-Blaster

    Although many people see this as a “last resort,” such tools can produce refreshingly unexpected results. Resume-Blaster is a tool to which a number of recruiters and/or employers subscribe, in order to receive qualified resumes in a quick, bulk manner. This service costs about $30 to $40 and it distributes your resume to hundreds of hiring companies (typically recruiters and staffing firms) who have agreed to receive resumes from the service.

    Be willing to negotiate

    Don't be “set in stone” regarding salary and other details. In a down economy, it is a “buyer's market” meaning, the hiring manager has the upper hand in choosing from a larger-than-usual talent pool of anxious, motivated, unemployed workers. In most cases, especially in a troubled economy, the manager is going to take the person who is most flexible regarding pertinent job details – including the person willing to start at the lowest point on the particular job's salary range; which leads to the next point:

    Be willing to take lower pay

    In a troubled economy, you must be willing to take jobs at the lowest point on the listed job's salary range. If the job states, “$70,000 to $80,000 per year,” tell the employer that you only desire $70,000 per year.

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    Be willing to relocate

    In a troubled economy, one rule you may need to learn to live by is: “Go where the jobs are.” Jobs elsewhere may be more plentiful and may offer higher salary ranges and more stability than your current location. Some jobs offer relocation assistance, typically $2,000 to $5,000 (sometimes more), to act as an aid and incentive for out-of-area residents to relocate for the targeted position.

    Be willing to travel

    If your previous jobs have involved a static office location, you might find better prospects if you are willing to take a job that involves 25% to 75% travel; some even involve close to 100% travel.

    Update your certifications

    If you are lacking an in-demand certification, such as CISSP, CCNA, CDP or MCSE, attend a bootcamp or take the appropriate training courses and/or preparation tests; then, once you are satisfied you are prepared, sit for the actual certification exams. Certifications are not an “instant ticket” to a job, but they do demonstrate that you likely have attained a certain level of knowledge in the desired area.

    Go back and get a four-year-degree (BA, BBA, BS) or an advanced degree (MA, MBA or PhD)

    If you are only a few classes from attaining the next-higher degree, consider finishing the requirements. This also includes taking on-line courses and “testing out” of classes for which you have sufficient knowledge and experience. Remember, “Brick-and-mortar” degrees (those taken at a physical university) still are preferred to on-line degrees.

    Consider switching job-type preference – Consulting vs. Full-time vs. Part-time

    If you typically consult, consider full-time permanent work as an alternative. If you are a full-time permanent employee, consider consulting as an alternative. Consider part-time or multiple part-time positions, until the economic tide turns. In a troubled economy, you might also consider short-term temporary work.

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    How to find those sought after IT jobs: Flexibility & Compromise - ConclusionIn this second of a two-part series on landing an IT job in a recession, advanced techniques, being flexible and able to compromise, are discussed. IT Job-search tips, Advanced IT job-landing techniques, recession-proof IT job-landing strategies
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    Target your niche market

    Apply to jobs that match as closely as possible to your qualifications and desired career path. The closer your qualifications are aligned with the specific job requirements, the more likely you are to land an IT job in a troubled economy. This statement also applies when trying to land an IT job in a good economy as well. If you have some unique or less-than-common sought-after skill, then you effectively have a 'niche market;' a limited, elite area of expertise on which employers place a premium.

    Use Recruiters and Staffing Firms

    Although most recruiting and staffing firms receive the same job requisitions from employers, some firms have “preferred relationships” with specific employers; so it pays to stay in contact with more than one recruiter – just make sure each one is aware if you've already been submitted to one of their clients. Be cautious here, because recruiters will ply you for information regarding which companies you already have approached - this often gives them "free leads," since they may not have all job requisitions, and may not be aware of all job openings. At the point where you are comfortable that you meet the qualifications, then the recruiter should have no reason not to disclose the name of the client to you. If she refuses, then she is simply "fishing for new leads."

    Review the Classified Ads

    Although jobs are not as prevalent in the classified ads as in the past, you may occasionally find jobs there that closely match your qualifications. Note: Review on-line classified sites as well.


    The bottom line on landing an IT job in a troubled economy involves two primary factors:

    1. Flexibility ... be flexible in your requirements and in what you have to offer.

    2. Compromise ... be willing to meet employers half-way on various points.

How to Land and IT Job in a Troubled Economy

This two-part series involves both basic and advanced steps for finding and landing an IT job in a troubled economy. Even in good economic times, landing an IT job can be difficult. Don't take any chances - use this methodical series as a sure-fire check-list to follow and enhance your job search.
  1. How to Land an IT Job in a Troubled Economy - Job Fairs, Resume & Contacts
  2. How to Land an IT Job in a Troubled Economy - Networking, Relocation & Qualifications