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The Recruiter is a blog for workers in technology and professional markets to learn about hot fields and hiring trends from your friends at Yoh.
Yoh is one of the largest providers of talent and outsourcing services to customers in the United States. With over 374 million USD in total sales, Yoh operates from more than 75 locations and provides long- and short-term temporary and direct placement of technology and professional personnel, as well as managed staffing services, for the information technology, scientific, engineering, health care and telecommunications communities. For more information, visit yoh.com. Yoh is part of Yoh Services LLC, a Day & Zimmermann Company.

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Editor: Bill L.
Writers: Amy D., Anna M., Connie V., Roseanne D.

 

 

« October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

November 30, 2007

All I want for Christmas is a job

Here’s some seasonal competitive intelligence for you: The holidays are not the hiring wasteland everyone thinks they are.

Yes, HR managers and other decision-makers are popping in and out of the office for holiday vacation time. But usually somebody has to stick around, so you’re guaranteed to contact at least one human being if you reach out with a phone call, eMail or resume.

Plus, you’re probably catching the company at a good time fiscally. Budgets are finalized in December, and often allocate for new positions starting in January. Landing on the radar screen early can keep you top-of-mind for employers’ next round of hiring needs.

Besides, you never know when vacancies will appear in holiday staff. Rudolph stepped in when he was most needed—who says you can’t? If employers know you’re interested, qualified and available, they’re more likely to call on you in a pinch.

The best part is, these temporary gigs can turn into long-term positions once the holiday dust has settled. The key is having the right skills, abilities and certifications going into the role, so you can accomplish your projects in a true work environment, and demonstrate your value in real time.

Posted by Anna M.

November 27, 2007

The world is your oyster

If your ears perked up when we blogged about regional hot jobs recently, then you might be the perfect candidate for relocation. Indeed, IT pros struck with wanderlust have a wealth of opportunities before them, whether coast-to-coast in the U.S., or across the four corners of the globe.

Of course, finding that far-flung job can be difficult without the right help. Here, talent and staffing firms can help streamline the hiring process, and connect you with employers you might not find otherwise.

And when you do find that new adventure, carefully weigh your options and priorities. Will this move benefit you professionally? Financially? Personally?

It would be a shame to show up on distant shores, bags in hand, only to realize the new gig isn’t the right fit. So put in the evaluation and soul-searching upfront to make sure the risk is worth taking.

OK, your turn. How has relocation affected your career? Success stories and cautionary tales welcome!

Posted by Christy H.

November 21, 2007

Giving thanks for IT pros

Pilgrims and Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving worried about crops, winter and disease. Nearly 400 years later, we fret about airplane schedules, Internet access for online recipes and credit card verification on Black Friday.

Lucky for us then, that talented IT professionals work behind the scenes to make sure a cornucopia of modern marvels—Web sites, e-commerce apps, user interfaces, online ticketing, terminal security and more—run smoothly and safely during our holiday weekend.

So this Turkey Day, we’re giving thanks for the skills, expertise and talent of our IT workforce, the brains and brawn behind our digital age. Have a fun and relaxing holiday—you earned it!

Posted by Anna M.

November 20, 2007

Don’t just survive – thrive

Rat race, dog-eat-dog, corporate jungles … the workplace can be wild. But sometimes your most dangerous enemy isn’t a supervisor or coworker—it’s you.

That’s the premise behind ComputerWorld’s 10 Career-Killers list, a compilation of personal missteps, blunders and oversights that can sabotage your career. Examples include failing to have a life plan, surrounding yourself with yes-people and failing to deliver results.

We built on this sound business advice with some extra caveats specifically for consultants:

Not gelling with your coworkers. Demonstrate your value to your new employers by being the consummate team player. Engage with other team members, and keep all interactions visible and positive. And outside work, join others for lunch, happy hours or holiday parties to foster personal relationships.

Ignoring marketplace demand. Stay abreast of industry trends and hot skills to keep yourself relevant and applicable. For example, application development is in high demand right now, along with Java, .NET and SAP. Align your resume to the right skill set, and you increase your chances of matching employers’ evolving needs.

Focusing solely on tech. Technology acumen might get you in the door, but it probably won’t land you the job. That’s because the most valuable IT professionals understand their company’s strategy, operations and competitive environment, and align that knowledge with technical expertise to develop viable products and services. In other words, combine IT intellect with a business background for the sharpest competitive advantage.

Now for your thoughts. Any blunders we missed? Share with us here.

Posted by Jim L.

November 16, 2007

How to brand yourself without pain

Admit it. You’ve Googled yourself. Multiple times. Often in the same day.

Narcissistic as this might seem, you’re actually doing yourself a great service. Checking where you fall in the digital pantheon is a smart career move, because it helps you gauge the effectiveness of your personal brand, particularly online.

That’s because everything we write, post, comment or report becomes part of an ever-expanding Web, where links keep growing and our names/works/deeds are splattering across the Internet for anyone and everyone (including potential employers) to see.

As such, resumes and cover letters no longer express the whole of our being. You need to tighten the reins on your brand now, or get bucked from the bronco later.

To start, get your head in the game. Identify what defines you, and start aligning your activities, partnerships and communication to that image.

Next, protect your brand online. We’ve talked about keeping your social networking sites professional, but you should also be aware of what others might write about you. Say a journalist mentions you in an unfavorable news story, or a blogger leaves a less-than-friendly comment on your site.

Though situations like this are outside your control, you can counter with a response. Ultimately, it’s up to you to offset any (hopefully) false claims or buzz with your own positive reporting, above-board affiliations and most importantly, the truth. No one can tell your story like you can, so get out there and sell yourself.

Check out Wendy Marx’s personal brand expert blog at FastCompany, as well as Dan Schwabel’s Personal Branding Blog, for more information about making your mark. And if all else fails, you can always outsource the process! ;)

Posted by Roseanne D.

November 15, 2007

Back from the brink—with Yoh in tow

ComputerWorld’s 2007 Jobs Report: Back From the Brink hit virtual shelves today, with Jim’s analysis hot on its heels.

If you’re fast out the door today, and can’t read the articles in-depth, here’s the main takeaway: IT salaries are up. So are hourly wages. Both outpace the general work force’s wage gains. (Just what we’ve been saying for a while.)

Or, if you have time between coffee chugs for a slightly longer recap, check out Ben Worthen’s summary over at WSJ. He encapsulates the points from the in-depth articles accompanying the study, such as info about the gender wage gap and the need for “soft skills.”

Anything we missed? Drop it here. Thanks!

Posted by Christy H.

November 12, 2007

When stress balls won’t cut it

Stress is not always bad. Good stress can improve efficiency and memory, spur people to accomplish their goals and even boost immune systems. But, as with anything that’s good, too much stress can be harmful, especially when it rears its head in the workplace.

So says a study by the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Meritain Health, which surveyed 411 employees with medical benefits about work-related stress.

A whopping 94 percent said stress affects job performance. Yet 52 percent of employees said their employers do not address stress, work/life balance or mental/behavioral health with employees.

That’s a major oversight that can snowball through a workplace, affecting attitudes, co-worker relationships, productivity and work quality. The surprising thing is, many employers do have mental/behavioral health benefits, but don’t promote them. And over a third of the survey respondents said they’d be more likely to access those benefits if they knew about them.

So if you’re experiencing major stress, start your week right by looking into your company’s benefits, and seeing what works best for you. Now that’s what I call a “mental health day.”

Posted by Anna M.

November 08, 2007

Silicon Valley or bust

Actually, make that Silicon Valley won’t bust. For all of you shivering in your boots that the current start-up boom is doomed to fail a lá year 2000, put those fears aside. WSJ reporter Rebecca Buckman says this cycle will eventually turn down again, but it won’t have the same crushing economic impact the dot-com crash did.

Why the relative optimism? Well, the conspicuous consumption of the 90s is less du rigueur now, so companies are requesting and using less venture capital. Plus, the start-up marketplace is cheaper. Equipment is more affordable, many software apps are open-source and it’s easier to offshore jobs.

That means fewer investors and less money are tied up in tech start-ups’ fates. And that will be a blessing when (not if) the market goes south, because the shift won’t take so many dollar signs with it.

Now let’s look at what this macro view means for your micro working world. While not the runaway trains of the 90s, Silicon Valley companies are still hiring and growing at a strong clip, which can create excellent job opps for IT pros who fit the bill.

I did some regional breakdowns for in-demand skills based on the latest Yoh Index, and I think my Silicon Valley segment will give you some helpful insight. Let me know what else you’d like to know about this market, and I’ll do my best to get the answer!

Posted by Jim L.

November 05, 2007

Keyword on the street is …

Human eyeballs rarely see resumes at the first pass anymore. Instead, the documents circulate in cyberspace, courtesy of online job boards and networking sites, until a search engine plucks them from relative obscurity for an actual person to review.

But who wants to wait that long? How can you rein in your resume, target its reach and speed its results when technology is the first to find you? In a word, keywords.

Optimizing your resume with keywords means making it more searchable. The process correlates the document to the most likely search terms, which in turn increases hits in a list of results.

If you are fairly certain your resume wouldn’t rise to the top of a bucket, much less an online search, it’s time for a redo. First, figure out the keywords (or buzzwords) for your field. It also helps to take keyword clues from job descriptions, and work them into the document.

Another tip is to use specific job titles (software engineer), industry acronyms and terminology (C++, RAD), and certification names (MCITP). In addition, include multiple keyword iterations and synonyms throughout the document to account for search terms’ variability.

Plus, action verbs helps electronic scanners pick up your resume, while also giving it punch when the HR person gets a hold of it. And definitely avoid keywords for jobs you would never take in a million years.

While this approach is not a silver bullet against faceless online recruiting, it certainly helps you play the game according to modern technology’s rules. At the very least, you’ll sharpen your competitive edge in an expanding marketplace, and stand out better in the cyber-crowd.

Posted by Roseanne D.

November 02, 2007

IT is the future’s “It” industry

Circle 2014 on your calendars, job-seeking IT folks. That’s when the tech industry expects to have created 368,000 new jobs, mainly in computer software engineering, analysis and administration.

This good news is courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose most recent data says nine of the 10 fastest-growing jobs are in the information technology or health care sectors.

Small wonder, considering that our ever-expanding global economy has created an ongoing need for computer networks that need to be international, intricate and impenetrable, all at the same time.

The report also supports last week’s Yoh Index findings, which pointed to growing demand in the upcoming year. So let’s hope the momentum—now, and seven years from now—goes as predicted, and takes our entire industry along for the ride.

Posted by Christy H.