Skip the navigation

Still Can't Find a Job? Here's More Advice

By Katherine Spencer Lee
October 16, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - One of my most recent Computerworld columns, titled “Can’t Find a Job? Here’s Why ...,” dealt with the lingering frustration felt by some IT professionals who, though highly skilled and experienced, are finding it challenging to locate a new position in today’s employment market. The article drew a number of responses from readers who appreciated the advice but expressed continued difficulty with their job searches. If you’re among those in the job hunt, consider whether you may be falling into these common job-search traps:

Your focus is too narrow. There is no shortage of brand-name companies in the IT world, and many job seekers would love to work for a large, well-known firm. But keep in mind that for every big company that exists, there are hundreds of smaller firms. In fact, the vast majority of companies in the U.S. are small or midsize, and, what’s more, they’re almost always hiring.

Recent research from the National Federation of Independent Business indicates that nearly one in four small-business owners has one or more job openings. That group might range from a three-person bookstore in need of an electronic security system to a biotech start-up searching for a half-dozen help desk professionals. And, unlike high-profile firms that can attract thousands of resumes per job posting, you’ll likely compete against fewer candidates when applying for positions with smaller organizations.

Niche job sites such as or are good places to start for job leads, as are company Web sites. Also, consider direct inquiries or informational interview requests if you’re interested in working for a specific company.

You don’t make finding a job a full-time job. Sending out a handful of resumes each week is a lot like tossing a single bottle into the ocean and hoping someone responds to the message you left inside. To find a job, you must cast a wide net. It’s a numbers game, and the more inquiries you make, resumes you submit and employment interviews you go on, the better your chances of success. Of course, these activities all require a significant input of time and effort.

My advice is to set aside a few hours each week to focus solely on your job search. For example, you may consider scanning open positions and calling members of your professional network for two hours every other night and work on your resume each Saturday until noon. If you’re not currently employed, you should dedicate even more time.

You don’t network. The simple truth is that networking is the most effective way to find a new job. A referral from someone you know is likely to land you an interview with a prospective employer or, at the very least, move your resume to the top of the consideration pile. Even if your contacts are unaware of any immediate openings, they may be able to introduce you to others who do have job leads.

Our Commenting Policies
IT Salaries 2014
2014 Salary Survey

Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.