How to Get Hired
Even during an economic downturn, there are still many companies hiring good candidates. Here are a couple of tips I gathered from Fortune Magazine and other sources:
It helps to know someone. Employers like references from people they know and trust. Use services like www.linkedin.com or mass email all your friends and family. Also, try volunteering your expertise, you may meet someone who is looking for your skills. Make sure you add your volunteer work on your resume, it gives great conversation topics during interviews.
Practice your interviewing skills. Have a friend interview you, practice your answers, but also practice to make them not sound like you are reading a script. Make it stressful, set a very specific time, dress how you would dress (suit and slacks - doesn't matter if it is a casual environment) and act how you plan on acting. Have your friend critique everything at the end, not during the interview. There are professionals who can help with this, like your local unemployment office and companies like www.tunarez.com
Practice for behavioral interviews. The most common in larger companies are the open ended no wrong answer type questions, used by Microsoft and Google. The trick to these is to show your creative skills in solving the problem and how you solved it, not just what the answer is. Example, how much would you charge for washing all the windows in downtown Seattle? Search online for other examples.
Do research the company you are interviewing. Unless the company is desperate or your are very very good, they will not hire you if you can't show that you have done some research about who they are and were they have come from. Talk to customers if you can or even secretaries.
Don't make it sound like you did everything in your last job. You will often have to work as a team in your new job, so say "we" when it was a team and go into detail about your role. Don't just say "I did..."
If you moved around positions alot, prepare to explain why. As much as you can, don't jump around, a small salary bump may not be as important as longevity at a company. You will need to defend yourself as this doesn't look good on your salary.
Don't lie on your resume. It is really easy to tell if you have the experience you say you have, especially in database roles. Also, employers will check your references, and possibly some not on your resume.
Be open to learning new things. Don't declare you are an expert and know everything there is about a subject, unless you just came from Microsoft and wrote the software application. There is always something new to learn and you need to explain how you keep up with technology. Motivation to learn is key to a good employee.
Don't give up. Big companies keep your resume on file and consulting companies will definately call you even if you didn't make the initial job offer. Also, you need to put in about 40 hours per week if you want to make a change and try to do it while you are employed, but not during work hours as you do need references.
Don't choose a company based on benefits alone. You need to do alot of research to see if the company is ethical, does something you are excited about, decent pay, co-workers are easy to get along with, boss is not a jerk, etc... During an interview, don't say you want to work there just because of the benefits, ignore salary and benefits during interview and leave these until after they want to hire you (benefits may be okay to ask about if a major concern). It always turns me off if a candidate wants to know salary right off the bat. Greedy employees are never satisfied and are just a pain in an employers side.