Although there are some honest recruiters out there who really want to help you land the right job, I'm finding that they are few and far between. A recruiter even wrote me recently(after reading my article) that he is fed up with what has happened to the recruiting industry. Too many recruiting firms have started up businesses whose sole purpose is to seek out and find human capital. Last time I checked the term human capital in the dictionary, it was right next to the definition for slavery. Since I am greatly disappointed with the recruitment establishment and what it has become over the years, I decided to write an article on how to circumvent the grasp of headhunters.
Many cities hold job fairs to give technical people a simple venue to see which companies are hiring. Of course, recruiters also attend job fairs, so if you're not sure if a company is is a recruiting firm or not, simply ask them, "Are you a recruiter?". Most will have no choice but to tell you. If you think they are not being straight with you, research the company on the web.
.NET User Groups
One of the best places to network are .NET user groups. and they host events in almost every major city. Events are targeted to specific computer skill sets or technology solutions. Many groups have web sites. All of them have members who attend meetings, and these people often know about job openings at their companies within or outside their departments. Members also have access to internal job boards, so they can do searches for you. Sometimes user groups will list jobs on their sites which don't go through recruiters.
Sometimes you can simply call the HR Department of a company and ask if they are looking for people with your particular skills. As long as the inquiry is well targeted for the type of work that the company does your call won't be ill received, especially if they are trying to find someone with your talent. One way to figure out who is looking is to search on Dice and Google to see if you can find out from the posting where the job is located. Although recruiters often posting jobs, you may be able to tell enough from the description to identify the employer. Then just call informatiion to find out the company number, and do a little detective work with the company operator to find the HR department. Keep in mind: this is something the recruiter is already doing. They make connections with the HR departments of companies with the promise of assisting them to find talent when jobs become available. By proactively calling the HR department, you are just beating them to the punch.
Friends and Connections
If you have friends that are technical and you are trying to find a job, let them know! Networking is the best way to land a job that you like. Jobs that are marketed by recruiters are jobs that nobody wants, which is why they are desperate to find people to fill these positions. The best jobs are often known by a few degrees of separation but are not heavily publicized. Sometimes friends (or friends of friends) may not have a job available for you, but they can create a position for you if they know that you can help on a project. By all means tell everyone that you are looking.
There are a few website portals out there whose sole purpose is to match a job to a client. A few of these are guru.com, e-lance.com and rentacoder.com. On these sites you can bid on a particular project. Although many of the projects are for little payment, sometimes long term jobs are listed, and sometimes the employer will be local. Try CraigsList.org. All Craig's list sites are broken down by city or country so you can hone into the jobs in your area.
Emailing to Companies
Often companies have sections on their websites for careers. If you look in the contact us section or about section, you should be able to find a place to e-mail the human resource department for the company. When you find a person or address to contact, write a friendly e-mail stating your objective and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Don't forget to attach your resume to the e-mail. Even if they don't have an opening for you right away, they will probably keep your resume in their database for future positions. It is a good idea to follow up periodically, just like recruiters do.
Recruiters are not the best avenue to a job. There are plenty of approaches which will keep you at the helm in your job search. I encourage people to post jobs on their own User Group Sites if they know of .NET positions, and also to create local web sites where technical people can network. I noticed one such site in Austin, Texas—a city that is paving the way for interaction among professionals involved in high tech. This site holds events for people in Austin where they can have fun while meeting other people in the technical community. Other cities would benefit by following this example. It would encourage us computer fanatics to come out from behind the screen, get out and meet other technical cohorts, and find out what is going on in the job world. Just think: if all of us made an effort to network with other techies to find job opportunities, technical recruiting would quickly become a job of the past!