Next Move: Qualified, experienced, but no job

I am a 33-year-old IT manager with 10 years' experience managing support and technical teams. I have managed large projects and...

I am a 33-year-old IT manager with 10 years' experience managing support and technical teams. I have managed large projects and have a good understanding of networking, telecoms and MS/Novell platforms. However, I have been unable to get a job in the past seven months. I have worked for blue-chip multinationals and have excellent references, so what's the problem?

Convincing agencies to put me forward for positions appears to be the main issue, so what should my approach be? Those that have interviewed me think I have a lot to offer, and no one has suggested changing CV. I am currently studying for an MCSE2000.

Typically my approach has been:
1. Call the agency for more details
2. Sent my CV in, after tailoring it towards the focus of the job
3. Call the consultant back for feedback.

Dramatic jobs market slowdown
The problem is simply a dramatic slowdown in the jobs market. Thus you will be competing with many similarly or better-qualified candidates for each post you apply for. The agencies will be struggling to find enough vacancies to fill, and will be forced to put forward only perfect candidates for these positions.

Your approach should be to register with only one or two agencies whose approach you like, so that they do not find your details being put forward by another agency which has maybe not taken the trouble to talk to you about the vacancy first. Make sure you are interviewed by your chosen agencies, so that you become a personality rather than simply a name. Thereafter keep in regular contact by telephone ("Hi, just a quick call to let you know I am still looking. Has anything of interest come in?").

An alternative is not to go through agencies, but to reply to vacancies advertised directly by employers. This saves the company an agency fee (several thousands of pounds) and therefore makes you more attractive to the firm. You may also face less competition this way.

Solution by by Sheelagh Flowerday, BCS
The panel: MSB International, Best International, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Computing, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK

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