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Add a staffing firm to your job search arsenal

By Katherine Spencer Lee
November 18, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Today's turbulent economy has made job search efforts more challenging -- and nerve-racking -- for those in IT.

Even under stable economic conditions, job searches can be frustrating. Networking nonstop, pursuing leads that don't pan out and keeping a constant watch on job boards can become draining and stressful. In the tech industry, an additional challenge is finding a position that takes advantage of your skills and allows for professional growth.

Whether you're actively seeking a new position or are just having doubts about your job security, a staffing firm can provide peace of mind as well as practical career assistance.

If you're unemployed, registering with a staffing firm can ease the pressure to produce results on your own (though you should continue pursuing your own leads). In most cases, you visit the firm once, register and take appropriate skills tests. Then, assuming you've chosen the right firm, a team of well-connected staffing professionals works to find you a suitable position. Because of their long-standing relationships with employers, they often can open doors to opportunities that haven't been advertised or announced. That gives you an advantage over the legions of job seekers scouring publicly available listings.

If you're employed, working with a staffing firm can improve your career's overall health. A good staffing firm doesn't just link you to a job -- it also provides free training to help you fill any gaps that may limit you now or in the future. For example, a recruiting professional might help you identify a key skill that employers seek, or help you revamp your résumé to showcase your most marketable strengths.

Avoid career dead ends

For IT professionals concerned about their long-term career growth, finding an attractive position is only half the battle. All too often, an initially appealing job reveals itself to be a career detour or dead end. By connecting you to part-time or project-based work that can lead to full-time employment with the same employer, staffing firms enable you to make better-informed career decisions.

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