Houston (and Texas) IT Jobs Blog

Thursday, August 04, 2005

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4:55 AM     The Best Sources for Jobs

Today, I wanted to talk about some of the best places to find jobs.

Before I start, let me clarify: I don't mean the locations where you can find the most jobs. That's easy.

No, what I'm talking about here is where to find the "highest percentage" jobs. That is, the place where you're most likely to find jobs that:

A) Are real
B) You can talk to a real person about
C) There is less competition for

In other words, the best places to put your time and effort when job searching.

We all know about the famous, seemingly pointless major job sites out there. Monster, Yahoo / HotJobs, CareerBuilder, DICE. The "Big 4" of Technology Job searching. And, many times, a huge waste of time.

So, here are a few alternatives that not a lot of people use, but are very useful. Some require work on your part and, while it usually pays off eventually, you may or may not want to do that. That's up to you and how actively you want a new job.


#1 - THIS WONDERFUL BLOG
The jobs that I post here on my Blog (click here for the latest postings) all are useful to you, the technology-oriented professional looking for a job in Texas. These are the criteria that 99% of the jobs listed here will have all of:

a) Located in Texas (preferrably a major metro)
b) Have the majority of job information that you need (some good detail)
c) As many as possible have salary / contract rates (around 75% at this time).
d) Have a person's name, direct e-mail address, and phone number that you can contact.

If they don't have all of these features, I usually won't post them. Exceptions are made every now and then for really good opportunities!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I take great pains (okay, maybe it's just pretty good aches) to make sure that there is a phone number with each listing. If you don't call this number and talk to the person about the job, you might as well be throwing your resume into the Internet Jobs Black Hole. CALL! It makes a huge difference.


#2 - YOUR OWN NETWORK!
As you probably know, the best place to find jobs is from people you know or people they know. That is, if you're looking for a job, you should let people you know in on it.

If you're unemployed, let everyone know. Tell the dry cleaner when your picking up dry cleaning. Tell the cashier when your scrounging for change at the grocery store. Tell everyone you know at your Bridge Club.

Most of them can't help you, but they probably know someone who can. So tell 'em!

NOTE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: You'd be amazed at the number of people that your friends / aquaintences / associates know who are looking for people just like you to work for them. You don't have to believe me, you just have to do it. You will get some of the most wonderful, out-of-nowhere calls you can imagine.


#3 - THE LADDERS / TECHNOLOGY LADDER
Frankly, I'm not a real big advocate of paying for job hunting resources. But there are a precious few that are worth it. IF you're the right kind of candidate, Technology Ladder is one of them.

Of course, there's that big "IF..." Basically, "The Ladders" is a job listing service for all sorts of jobs (Sales, Technology, Finance, Marketing, etc.) that are over $100K in potential salary. You subscribe to your specialty (in this case, Technology Ladder) and they send you a weekly update of new jobs every Monday.

Up until recently, these were jobs that you could find on your own if you knew where to look (corporate career pages, etc.) other than it would take a ton of time to go through them all. Recently, however, they've had more and more companies and recruiters advertising directly with them. And many of these jobs aren't posted somewhere else.

It's not super-cheap, but at $100 for 6 months ($18 a month) or $150 for a year ($13 a month), it's also not bad. You can sign up for a free trial (they only show a few positions with all of the details) - but I'm convinced they pull your geography and don't list any free jobs in your area.



#4 - LINKEDIN
The next best thing to having high-ranking friends is an online community of people connected to those high-rankers. LinkedIn, in my humble opinion, does this the best. They even have a Job Search capability where people who are in your network can list available jobs.

The only trick is that you need to be invited in order to join. So, if you want an invitation, click here to e-mail me and I'll invite you. I've got a pretty large network there that you can tap into for jobs.

In fact, I have the largest network of anyone in Houston and San Antonio. I'm still behind in the Dallas and Austin runnings, but I'm working on it! And everyone that goes into my network, if you're connected to me, you can get an introduction to. Pretty cool, huh?


#5 - COLD CALLING!
First of all, I know what you're thinking: "It's easy for an (ex) Headhunter to say 'Cold Calling', but I freeze up / can't do it / am uncomfortable with it!"

Here's a little secret: Nobody likes to Cold Call. And that's exactly why YOU should. In other words, there's not a lot of competition.

I'm not going to give a full course on Cold Calling for Jobs here, but these are the basics:


  • Make a list of technology managers in town - This could come from people you know, the Houston Business Journal, searches for "Houston" in trade magazines, or any number of places.


  • Call the main number at their company and ask for them - No big deal here. Main numbers are in phone books or online versions, such as SmartPages for SBC/AT&T.


  • Talk to them - This, of course, is the hard part. Usually, you'll be leaving voice mail, but in any case you need to know what to say. Practice (before calling) a short version of who you are and why you're calling. I GUARANTEE that most Technology Managers A)Are impressed by you calling and B)Will try to help, even if they don't have any open positions (ie, "I heard that they're looking over at JP Morgan Chase... you might call Jim over there...")


As to what you say, specifically, just try a very short version of your situation (we tech guys tend to either not talk at all or talk WAY too much). Something like, "Mr. Frankeloo, (hint: don't laugh when you say funny names - it'll kill the deal!) my name is Jimmy Jones and I'm a technology professional who is currently looking for a job. My last employer went bankrupt / had a massive layoff (whatever is the case - usually those two handle 90% of it) and so I'm looking for a new home. My specialty is SAN Management (or whatever - but you must have some specialty), are you the right IT Guy / King / God (take your pick - a little humor never hurts) to talk with about this?"

You'll be amazed at the response to this. JUST TRY IT!

#6 - CRAIGSLIST
If you're technical, you probably already know about CraigsList. But, you probably haven't looked there for jobs.

You should!

The nice thing about CraigsList is that it's a scaled down community that is specific to your city. So the jobs posted there (admittedly, there aren't a ton, but several new ones a day isn't bad) are usually posted by people, not HR Departments.

The (usual) result is that you at least get a response from a real, live human being if you send in your resume. Most of these companies are going to be smaller, but they've got IT jobs!

Find your city of interest below:

CraigsList Houston
CraigsList Dallas
CraigsList Austin
CraigsList San Antonio




These are just a few of the lesser utilized sources for jobs out there. There are some of the best around, but by no means the only ones. E-Mail me with your favorites and I'll keep posting them as I get them.

Dan



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3 Comments:

  • Dan,

    This was actually a great artical.

    I currently have a job but watch your job blog to see what going on in Houston.

    Do you have any more information on how to locate and contact potential customers.

    Thanks

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 AM  

  • Thanks for the feedback!

    When you say that you want to know more about how to locate and
    contact potiential customers, tell me a little more about what you're
    looking for. Is this in the process of looking for a job or selling
    something.

    Give me an idea about size and scope and I'll be glad to help out!

    Dan

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:01 AM  

  • Dan,

    Thanks for mentioning LinkedIn--we've worked pretty hard to integrate networking and job search, and the results are starting to show it is not just creating a lot of buzz, but that it really works.

    As for your first point, working your own network off-LinkedIn, there is definitely an opportunity to succeeed by going broad. However, I think it is also worthwhile to make a list of the 10 people you think are most likely to know people who have a need to hire someone like you.

    Then, think of what you can do for them. Once you offer help to them and deliver on your words, they will help you.

    BTW, when you search for jobs on LinkedIn, you can find out which of your contacts know people who are currently hiring, so it is a good place to start making your list of 10.

    By Blogger Konstantin Guericke, at 4:48 PM  

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