Ask Andrea…I am a Senior Level candidate and can’t seem to find a job – what should I do???

August 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Job Qualifications are changing as rapidly as the markets themselves. A year ago everyone was desperate to hire the most technically savvy candidate they could find. If you made less than six figures you were quickly dismissed because it was assumed that you didn’t have the skills to fit these high tech roles. In the last year, like many markets, that paradigm has changed. Budgets are cut, firms are folding and suddenly the most sought after candidates of yester year are plentiful. Every day I speak with senior level candidates that can’t find work. Clients are indicating that they would prefer a more junior candidate and salary ranges are shrinking. The once expert is now looking for work and wondering what to do while they wait for their skill set stock to rise.

Be open
Consider jobs that you might not have considered before. I am starting to see an increase in companies that are hiring consultants, as they are viewed as less expensive than a permanent employee. Consider doing a job that you might have done a few years back. This may not freshen your technology skills, but will help round out your expertise in the long term. Sometimes you need to take a step back to move forward. Firms may only hire one manager to every five developers. The odds show that you would have better shot at a position as a developer. This may not be ideal and perhaps a bit of a hit to the ego, but it will pay your mortgage. Interestingly, taking lower level or consulting positions does have its advantages. As a consultant, you have flexibility to interview and look for other positions, in addition to filling in those taboo “gaps” on the résumé employers loathe. It will also expand your technical knowledge and process base. Often times, taking a lower level position can provide you with valuable insight that will also make you a better manager in your next role.

Know your bottom line
Figure out your bottom line. Look at your expenses and life style and determine what a reasonable salary expectation is. Look for short term contracts to supplement your income while you are looking.

Value your skills and get your resume and online profile in check

Write your resume to fit each job that you apply for. Don’t cloud your resume with experience that isn’t relevant to the job. The first person that will see your resume is most likely a recruiter or coordinator and all they are looking for is the specific requirements that are listed on the job. Write your resume for a recruiter. Remove any reference to your years of experience. Assumptions are often made about salary expectations skill level etc. based on years of experience. Don’t give prospective employers a reason to reject you. Look for industry trends and become knowledgeable on them. Today, a lot of firms are utilizing Agile/SCRUM methodologies and are willing to consider candidates without tactical experience that are familiar with it.

Work your intangibles
People want to hire people that they like period. Not much more to say there.

Market your Personal Brand
Get to know recruiters in your industry- yes a plug for me- but we are a necessary evil. Some firms don’t have recruiting departments and only use recruiters. My firm, once contingency-only, is currently expanding into the consulting world and is constantly working on positions that are not advertised on CareerBuilder or company websites. If you haven’t already established your personal brand, it is time to start. Next week we will talk about discovering and building your online brand.
In the interim here are few quick tips:

Social Networks and Twitter are the new Job boards. If you think there isn’t a place for you on LinkedIn or Facebook, you are wrong. Employers are posting positions to LinkedIn, in lieu of job boards. Twitter and Facebook job sites are steadily increasing.

Don’t be afraid to network. I am not a proponent of these out of work events which work well in other industries. Avoid looking desperate, rather attend industry specific events and present yourself as a “consultant”. Many events can be found on LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate on a “good” opportunity. For the time being think twice before you turn down any opportunity, in a few months you might be thinking- no “coulda shoulda woulda”.

For more tips attend our online event on August 20, 2009. “Ask The Recruiter” will be conducting a free one-of-a-kind, real-time webinar to answer job search questions LIVE! We’ll have one session at 11AM on Twitter and another on Facebook at 11:30 CST. Click here for more information and registration.

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