Agile Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

A mechanical engineer who changed his career to Java/JEE in 1999. Maintains a Java/JEE career website at Published 2 books on Java/JEE entitled: 1. Java/J2EE Job Interview Companion. 2. Core Java Career Essentials The above books are available via Arul has posted 15 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Job Hunting Tips in Tough Times

  • submit to reddit

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 the fundamentals. If you rely only on advertised positions through newspapers and online job sites, you are not only expending 100% of you effort on 25% to 60% of the possibilities, but also will be competing with many other professionals who use the same avenue. It is better to diversify your job search by trying through different channels. A real job search has following main markets:

  • Published Job Market: Review job leads via offline advertisements in printed news papers, journals, etc and online advertisements through job banks, job networks, recruiter websites, Java forums, etc. This is a very important, but highly competitive and most common channel.

  • Hidden Job Market: This channel allows you to apply for a job that has not been advertised, and can improve your chances of getting a job by tapping into 40% to 75% of the market. If it has not been advertised, then less people will know about, which means that you are competing against fewer people. The hidden job market is a numbers game and more people are working on your behalf (e.g. friends, former colleagues, former managers, former acquaintances, recruitment agents, etc), more applications you send out, more phone calls you make, and more targeted your efforts are, the better chance you will have finding a job. You can tap into this market in a variety of ways as described below.

  • Networking: Start by asking your existing network, past employers, recruitment agents, past colleagues, friends, etc. It is vital that you build up your network as you progress in your career. Next, expand your network through paid or unpaid work in your field, registering with online network sites like, joining relevant professional associations, attending conferences, attending user group events, taking part in Java forums, attending career (or job) fairs, etc. Here are some Java related links to start with:

  •  (go to "Careers" forums)

Also, do your research by searching on Google for "Java community", "Java symposiums", "Java user groups" , "Java discussion Groups", "Java Career Forums" etc. Unless there is an urgency to fill the position, employers prefer to try their networks first and rely on referrals to find the right person. Referrals are basically the most popular method in the hidden job market and recruitment agencies’ worst nightmare. Referrals can not only save money in advertising cost and commissions, but also can save valuable time in advertising and finding the right person. The resumes brought in via referrals do get a better attention. While networking, remember to apply dedication not desperation. 

  • Unsolicited applications: Make a list of employers you would like to work for and send your cover letter and resume to express your interest in working for them. If you wish to use this method it’s important to target each application carefully and remember to follow up with a phone call or call before sending the application to ensure that some contact has been made prior to your details appearing before someone in print.

  • Cold calling or direct contact: Cold calling (over the phone or in person) means approaching employers directly and preferably by establishing relationships with people who work for the organization through previous networking activities, to make this technique less daunting. I generally prefer building up a good rapport with selected recruitment agents who had represented me in the past. Alternatively, you can contact a number of recruitment agents in your local area and sell your accomplishments along with an impressive resume to perform door knocking on your behalf. This can result in a win/win situation for both. Carefully prepare what you are going to say and be ready to answer some preliminary questions about what you have to offer the organization. Have your resume up to date and tailored to the job you’re targeting.

Looking for a job is a long term investment and it is important to develop all the required experience and skills not only in your chosen career, but also in job hunting like writing an effective resume, self-promotion, telephone technique, high-level researching ability, and networking. Remain positive and get busy with applying all different techniques and tips. Perseverance and action are critical to any job hunting efforts and learn to accept rejection. At times it may be necessary to settle for a job that is unpaid, entry-level, less challenging, temporary, less convenient, etc to get your foot in the door. Once you get a foot in the door, you can work harder and smarter with confidence, enthusiasm, and positive attitude to fast-track your career to be where you wanted to be. 

Like to hear more tips and stratetgies from the fellow professionals to help others in tough times.More info on Java/JEE Career Companions, 400+ Java/JEE Interview Q&A at

DZone knows time is tough and good jobs are hard to come by in this down time. So we've come up with the perfect solution, check out our newly updated DZone Jobs page where we connect the world's best and brightest developers with great opportunities. Post your job openings for free now!

Your rating: None
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Arul Kumaran.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Code Chimp replied on Mon, 2009/02/02 - 10:49am

Unsolicited applications are a waste of time.  It's like going pigeon hunting and randomely firing shots into the air hoping you will eventually hit.  Waste of time and energy.  Instead, focus should be on finding actual vacancies.

Code Chimp replied on Mon, 2009/02/02 - 10:50am

Apologies for the spam, I hit the reload button by mistake. :)

Charlie Wilkins replied on Fri, 2009/02/20 - 5:27pm

Great advice. I have had some good success and feedback from utilizing a website called PersonaVita. It allowed me to create a portfolio of all the project that I have worked on in my past job. I was also able to send out trade endorsements - so I have credibility in the field. It has helped me more than other sites in creating interest.

Carl Williams replied on Tue, 2009/02/24 - 12:38pm

These are some good tips. We provide regular tips and advice on advancing your job search at our career blog.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.