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Job Hunting Tips in Tough Times

Job hunting can be emotionally exhausting, especially if the search lasts for a long time. You can increase your chances of finding a job by casting a wide net, writing an effective resume, practicing your interview technique, and brushing up the fundamentals. If you rely only on advertised positions through newspapers and online job sites, you are not only expending 100% of you effort on 25% to 60% of the possibilities, but also will be competing with many other professionals who use the same avenue. It is better to diversify your job search by trying through different channels. A real job search has following main markets:

  • Published Job Market: Review job leads via offline advertisements in printed news papers, journals, etc and online advertisements through job banks, job networks, recruiter websites, Java forums, etc. This is a very important, but highly competitive and most common channel.

  • Hidden Job Market: This channel allows you to apply for a job that has not been advertised, and can improve your chances of getting a job by tapping into 40% to 75% of the market. If it has not been advertised, then less people will know about, which means that you are competing against fewer people. The hidden job market is a numbers game and more people are working on your behalf (e.g. friends, former colleagues, former managers, former acquaintances, recruitment agents, etc), more applications you send out, more phone calls you make, and more targeted your efforts are, the better chance you will have finding a job. You can tap into this market in a variety of ways as described below.

  • Networking: Start by asking your existing network, past employers, recruitment agents, past colleagues, friends, etc. It is vital that you build up your network as you progress in your career. Next, expand your network through paid or unpaid work in your field, registering with online network sites like http://www.linkedin.com/, joining relevant professional associations, attending conferences, attending user group events, taking part in Java forums, attending career (or job) fairs, etc. Here are some Java related links to start with:

  • http://forums.dzone.com
  • http://www.nofluffjuststuff.com/home.jsp
  • http://javasymposium.techtarget.com/
  • http://community.java.net/jugs/
  • http://www.springone.com/
  • http://www.javacom.co.nz/
  • http://www.cafeaulait.org/usergroups.html
  • http://community.java.net/jugs/listing_country.csp?region=apac
  • http://www.javaranch.com/  (go to "Careers" forums)
  • http://forums.java.net/jive/forum.jspa?forumID=61

Also, do your research by searching on Google for "Java community", "Java symposiums", "Java user groups" , "Java discussion Groups", "Java Career Forums" etc. Unless there is an urgency to fill the position, employers prefer to try their networks first and rely on referrals to find the right person. Referrals are basically the most popular method in the hidden job market and recruitment agencies’ worst nightmare. Referrals can not only save money in advertising cost and commissions, but also can save valuable time in advertising and finding the right person. The resumes brought in via referrals do get a better attention. While networking, remember to apply dedication not desperation. 

  • Unsolicited applications: Make a list of employers you would like to work for and send your cover letter and resume to express your interest in working for them. If you wish to use this method it’s important to target each application carefully and remember to follow up with a phone call or call before sending the application to ensure that some contact has been made prior to your details appearing before someone in print.

  • Cold calling or direct contact: Cold calling (over the phone or in person) means approaching employers directly and preferably by establishing relationships with people who work for the organization through previous networking activities, to make this technique less daunting. I generally prefer building up a good rapport with selected recruitment agents who had represented me in the past. Alternatively, you can contact a number of recruitment agents in your local area and sell your accomplishments along with an impressive resume to perform door knocking on your behalf. This can result in a win/win situation for both. Carefully prepare what you are going to say and be ready to answer some preliminary questions about what you have to offer the organization. Have your resume up to date and tailored to the job you’re targeting.

Looking for a job is a long term investment and it is important to develop all the required experience and skills not only in your chosen career, but also in job hunting like writing an effective resume, self-promotion, telephone technique, high-level researching ability, and networking. Remain positive and get busy with applying all different techniques and tips. Perseverance and action are critical to any job hunting efforts and learn to accept rejection. At times it may be necessary to settle for a job that is unpaid, entry-level, less challenging, temporary, less convenient, etc to get your foot in the door. Once you get a foot in the door, you can work harder and smarter with confidence, enthusiasm, and positive attitude to fast-track your career to be where you wanted to be. 

Like to hear more tips and stratetgies from the fellow professionals to help others in tough times.More info on Java/JEE Career Companions, 400+ Java/JEE Interview Q&A at http://www.lulu.com/java-success

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