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On Your Mark, Get Set for Job-Hunting Season

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-11-09 Print this article Print

For IT professionals who plan to change jobs next year, now is the time to prepare, experts say.

Thirty-eight percent of IT professionals surveyed said they were likely to look for a new job in the third quarter of 2006, and the number is expected to grow in the fourth quarter, according to a survey released Oct. 23 by Spherion, a recruiting and staffing firm.

"Job-hunting times peak here in the fourth quarter and the beginning of the first quarter of the year. This is the time that budgets are approved and new initiatives are commencing and there is a flurry of activity, as seen in the number of jobs we fill for our customers as well as the activity base.

"A lot of people are saying to themselves: I will be in a new job next year," Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh Services, a provider of talent and outsourcing services based in Philadelphia, told eWEEK.

If you're among those thousands of techies who want to change jobs in the new year, however, hiring professionals will tell you that Jan. 1 isn't the time to kick off your preparations—it's now.

"You need to start preparing about six months before looking for another job. It's almost like you are building a strategic plan for yourself," Lanzalotto said.

Starting to gather resources, credentials and goals in advance puts workers in the best position when opportunities come around.

"If you are reactive in the job hunt, you risk not being as smooth as you'd like, taking knee-jerk steps or jobs you don't end up wanting. The more planned out you are, the better place you are in to make the right decisions," Lanzalotto said.

eWEEK picked the brains of five technology workplace experts, asking them what IT workers should be doing to best align themselves and their career goals for the job-hunting season ahead. A surprising number of these tasks could be completed between Thanksgiving and Christmas, typically the slowest time of the year for hiring.

Furthermore, for workers who are not planning to embark on a job hunt at present, these IT career-enhancing tips could help to lay out the welcome mat for that dream job in the future.

Grab your compass, get your map

You can't drive somewhere without a map, experts said, and you can't get your dream job without first planning an ideal route to arrive there.

"Begin with the end in mind. Know where you want to be when you retire and build a plan backwards from there," Lanzalotto said.

Lanzalotto told the story of an IT professional who had taken pains to pinpoint every step that could lead him to a CIO position.

"The best career plan I have ever seen was from someone who wanted to be a CIO in his forties and asked, how am I going to get there? What paths can I take? You identify the types of jobs you will need to have and the amount of time you need to be in each. You'll probably want to be at the director level at 35. This type of plan enables job-seekers to be flexible when [they need] to be," he said.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: On Your Mark, Get Set for Job-Hunting Season.

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