Searching for Jobs in the Technology Sector

Monday, August 30, 2010; 10:00 AM

The technology field continues to be attractive to job seekers, but in a tight marketplace, how can you run an effective job search? Stay connected, advise the experts.

"A job search is always more successful when someone can hand carry your resume to the person in the organization who's doing the hiring," says Gary Cluff, Manager of Corporate Recruiting for MITRE Corporation. That means finding someone in the company you're interested in with whom you can establish a relationship.

"Don't rely just on sending in a resume," Cluff counsels, adding that job applicants are five times more successful with referrals than simply with resumes.

"Employees tend to refer people who not only have the needed qualifications but who also fit that particular corporate culture," Cluff explains. "They are looking for people they would like to work with." Cluff, who runs Project SAVE (The Staffing Alliance of Virginia Employers) says that in the past 19 years, 40 to 50 percent of individuals hired have been through referrals.

The second-best way to find a job? Not surprisingly, for tech jobs, is online. "Look on websites like washingtonpost.com, indeed.com, and simplyhired.com," Cluff advises. "These are excellent ways to research the marketplace and narrow down your search."

The Washington metropolitan area is a fertile source for job fairs as well, Cluff adds, but because of the current job market, you should expect a lot of competition. The employers who participate in these events usually have a number of immediate positions to fill. The job seeker who can confidently but concisely convince these recruiters of his or her capabilities has a better chance of finding success at one of these events.

Networking¿both in person and online¿is also a good way to get your foot in the door, Cluff advises. Join professional associations and attend meetings so you can build a "pipeline." And establish¿and update¿your profile on social networking sites like LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Twitter, and Facebook.

"But don't ask for a job per se," Cluff advises. "Ask for connections. The bottom line is not to put all your eggs in one basket. Who you know and who your friends know is the best way to get a job."

But don't overlook the obvious, adds Steve Hawkins, Vice President of Information Security Solutions at Raytheon Company. On any given day, for example, Raytheon may have at least 200 job openings posted on its Careers website, www.rayjobs.com. "Most companies list all kinds of open jobs on their website," Hawkins advises jobseekers.

Hawkins, who attends numerous conferences, also encourages prospective applicants to give him their business card or resume. "I encourage people to do that," he says.

Given that Raytheon is looking for tech-savvy employees, it also makes sense that it makes use of social networking sites and encourages jobseekers to do the same. Raytheon's Facebook page, for example, has a link to its job posting site; the company also posts jobs and searches resumes on LinkedIn, and "we have quite a Twitter following," Hawkins adds.

Hawkins also advises those looking for a job in the technology field not to feel constrained if they don't have a tech-y background. A financial analyst, for example, he explains, may make a good candidate because he or she has analytical skills, even if previous jobs were in the financial sector. "You might think your previous experience means you wouldn't fit into a tech-oriented environment, but that's not necessarily the case," says Hawkins.

"If you have the right skills, you can be successful in this environment," he adds.

This advertorial was contributed by Carol Sorgen (carol@charm.net) in conjunction with The Washington Post Special Section Department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.

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