Just because a company's laying off thousands, doesn't mean it's stopped hiring. In fact, some of the biggest names you see on layoff scorecards are actively looking to bring on new talent. I'm talking about companies like Boeing, IBM, Microsoft and AT&T.

What's going on? Where in the old days, companies would retrain employees as their businesses changed, now they're letting people go when their skills don't match business needs. As Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, told The Wall Street Journal, "They've discovered that you can restructure even faster by laying off and hiring."

And though the Labor Department reports 539,000 jobs were eliminated in April, about 4.4 million workers were hired in February (those most recent month for which those figures are available).

I'm not saying it's not a tough job market right now. It is. I'm pointing out you shouldn't write off your job prospects with a company just because it's laying people off. For instance:
  • Boeing is looking for more than 1,500 mechanical, electrical, software and other engineers.
  • Microsoft will add 2,000 - 3,000 positions in online search, cloud computing and other area
  • AT&T is bringing on 3,000 people in its wireless, Internet and television businesses
  • IBM will hire 4,000 employees over three years for its consulting division, and 1,300 more to manage customer IT systems.

It's just another reason why you need to thoroughly research the areas you're interested in, as part of your job search. If you rely on headlines alone, you may miss opportunities.

-- Mark Feffer