3 Important Ways 2010 Changed the IT Job Search

December 22nd, 2010 | Job Search | No Comments »

2011 is just around the corner, and the champagne and fireworks are ready and waiting. But what about your job search plans for the New Year? Some important changes from 2010 will have significant effects on the job seekers of 2011, but are you ready?

The IT Industry

With an addition of close to 50,000 IT jobs over the course of 2010, growth rates that significantly exceed national levels, the dynamics of IT employment are changing, and you, the job seeker, should act accordingly.

As more positions are opening up, more people are looking around; so hiring managers are having a difficult time finding qualified IT professionals. To get their attention, you’ll have to step up and stand out. If you’re mass-mailing your resume to employers without catering it to each company and position, you’ll be easily dismissed. Spend more time researching the company, customizing your resume and cover letter, and even partnering up with a good recruiter, and you’ll soon get noticed.

Additionally, while IT hiring is up across the board, many employers are turning to contractors rather than permanent employees: The number of contract workers is reported to have risen 20% in the last 5 years and is expected to continue increasing. Why? The reasons for hiring contractors include advantages such as, no legal obligations to provide benefits like healthcare or retirement plans, lesser risk of hiring and firing related lawsuits, and lower training costs. Also, a generational shift in career values is also leading a significant number of workers to pursue contract and freelance positions, giving employers a greater selection of workers.

It’s definitely worth looking into contract opportunities instead of limiting your job search to permanent positions. Plus, giving your job search strategies a personal, customized touch will definitely help prepare you for the 2011 job market.

Social Media

While social media platforms are nothing new, 2010 did introduce new demographics and interaction trends to the web. Twitter alone reportedly added 100 million new users over 2010, and regular interaction of all users has more than doubled since 2009.

These kinds of numbers have peaked the interest of many employers, and a growing number of companies are entertaining the idea of using social media in the hiring process, if not already actually doing so. Whether it’s by posting job ads on these platforms, directly reaching out to job seekers, or generally building their employer brand through online community, employers have clearly taken social media in the hiring process to the next level.

And going forward, your job search will have to reflect that change. Keep in mind that social media in the job search will not lead to instant results; it’s a gradual process, and it’s about regular interaction and relationships. If you’re on Facebook, become fans of companies you’re interested in. Watch for updates regarding the company and open positions, and leave constructive comments on their statuses.

If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow companies and any relevant personnel who may tweet about the company and any open positions. Get familiar with hashtags that may lead you to announcements about job opportunities and helpful job seeker resources. Build your community, interact with fellow job seekers, share valuable resources you come across, and generally get your name out there.

If you’re on LinkedIn, join relevant groups related to job seeking, specific technologies and skills, industries, or specific companies. Make new connections with group members and don’t neglect aspects of LinkedIn like the Question and Answer sections.

Evolving Technology

This one’s to be expected since any good techie will know that technology is constantly evolving. But 2010 saw some massive changes that will push IT job seekers more than ever to stay up-to-date with technology and to keep an open mind as technology begins to evolve beyond their wildest dreams.

Opportunities in sectors like networking, data storage, and green technology are predicted to pop up at an alarming rate over the next few years, but bigger than anything is mobile technology. In 2010, sales of smart phones exceeded those of laptops and desktop computers. And with competitors like Apple and Android sparring for the number one spot, and mobile applications becoming more intense and allowing for greater user interaction, opportunities in mobile and web technology will flow in overwhelming numbers.

Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

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