If the market is hot, a well-rounded candidate with a decent resume and little or no experience could easily walk into an interview. But, during a difficult job market with economic melt downs, one needs to explore other avenues. Job hunting can be emotionally exhausting, especially if the search lasts for a long time. You can increase your chances of finding a job by casting a wide net, writing an effective resume, practicing your interview technique, and brushing up on the fundamentals. If you rely only on advertised positions through newspapers and online jobsites, you are not only expending 100% of you effort on 10% to 30% of the possibilities, but also will be competing with many other professionals who use the same avenue. Finding a job is a numbers game, but you must also have a marketing plan. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people sending e-mails to every recruiter in the country or mass-mailing resumes to hundreds of companies hoping that they will find an opening without a plan to sell themselves effectively. You need to somehow standout from the rest with a good marketing plan (i.e. a resume & a cover letter) or try to get a foot in the door through networking. Even with networking, you need to have good resume/CV. Your resume must highlight your technical and softskills. It must also address how you can add value, and how you differ from someone who has done the same thing and have similar qualifications as you. If you are not sure, check my Java/JEE resume companion.
A real job search has the following main avenues. Tap into both published and hidden job markets.
Published Job Market: Review job leads via printed news papers, journals, online job banks, recruiter websites, Java forums, etc.
Hidden Job Market:
Networking: Start by asking your existing network, past employers, recruitment agents, colleagues, friends, etc. Next, expand your network through paid or unpaid work in your field, registering with online network sites like http://www.linkedin.com/, joining relevant professional associations and attending conferences. Here are some Java related links to start with:
Reseach the market
Research the market to identify the sought-after technologies/frameworks and gain some familiarity or hands-on-experience on those.
Give yourself an edge on the market place
Develop an online portfolio and a persona (e.g. blogging, networking via LinkedIn.com, etc) to give your prospective employers a complete picture of who you are -– your experience, your education, your accomplishments, your skill sets -– and what you have the potential to become -– much more than just a cover letter and resume can provide. You can use your career portfolio in job interviews to showcase a point, to illustrate the depth of your skills and experience, or to use as a tool to get a second interview. You can provide a link to your blog (if it is professional enough) on your resume to showcase your capabilities, true potential, values, and most importantly the passion.
Creating your portfolio:
Building an online persona
- Starting a blog at WordPress.com
- Starting a blog at Blogger.com
- Contributing at Javalobby
- Contributing at the JavaRanch
Develop your soft-skills
The technical know-how needs to be complemented with good soft-skills.