Friday's jobs reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was once again a mixed bag of good news and bad news. In December, 103,000 jobs were added, disappointing some experts who had predicated a growth of 150,000 new positions. On the other hand, unemployment dropped from 9.8% to 9.4%.
Hot sectors in December were health care and hospitality, according to BLS. Also hot for job hunters is Information Technology, Jack Cullen, president of Modis, the IT division of staffing giant Adecco North America, told WalletPop in a telephone interview.
"The IT business has not only been steady, but increasing," he said. "A year ago, you could interview a candidate and three weeks later have that person come back. Today, that person will not be available. We've beefed up our recruiting side rather than sales side because we've found orders [for staff] growing."
Cullen said he's seeing a demand for software developers, project managers and business analysts. As businesses start to reinvest in their infrastructure, he predicts more requests for system administrators, network technicians and desktop support staff.
"There is also big buzz around cloud computing," he added. "It's been more buzz than reality, but this year will be different."
Beef Up Your Skills
While the hiring process is moving faster, companies remain picky about who they hire. Rather than hire someone with the intent to train them along the way, businesses want a job candidate to already have the necessary skill sets, warned Cullen. "They are looking for the latest in a person's job tool kit."
If you don't have real job experience in the area that is needed, do what you can to get it, he recommended. Take classes, intern, volunteer or offer to help out in areas peripheral to your expertise.
Become a Jack of All Trades
The days of being an expert in one system or language are long gone. Cullen said it is essential for job candidates to "have knowledge in a diverse area within their expertise. Companies want to know how you will solve their problems. They also want to know what other things you can do that they have not thought of."
Come Prepared With Solutions
During the interview, expect to outline solutions that take into account what is happening in the industry. "For example," Cullen said, "if you're interviewing for a WebSphere position with a health care company, discussing your experience with WebSphere is vital, but your knowledge and expertise about the health care industry, HIPPA and EMR/HER would make you a more viable candidate to your prospective IT manager."
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