There seems to be a contradictory thread moving through recent economic news. While many reports indicate the economy is in recovery, jobs just aren't coming back as things turn around. 

Opportunities in the Jobless RecoveryNot long ago, the New York Times reported one cause: Would-be retirees are reluctant to give up their positions because of the losses they've taken in their retirement funds. Consequently, the usual attrition among many jobs is much lower than historical averages. Even in Silicon Valley, jobs are still down. But, Computerworld points out, salaries are up.

The results may suggest that those who "continue to be employed in Silicon Valley are a higher skill-set people," said Mark Roberts, executive director of the TechServe Alliance, an IT services trade group. "Silicon Valley may well be shedding individuals that possess lower skills... "

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal's Alexandra Levit builds on this trending data.

Contrary to what many believe, most firms in most industries are hiring, even now. "In tough times, there is a flight to quality," says Jeff Schwartz, a partner with Deloitte Consulting's Human Capital Group. "Companies are out there cherry-picking the most critical players ..."

This isn't great news for large numbers of professionals, who are solid and experienced but may not be "stars." It makes paying attention to the basics of job hunting even more important. So, we think it's worth emphasizing two methods, described by Levit, that can leverage your seasoned background and skills during your job search.

  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->Take Advantage Of Your Network: Always, you should be networking. And, you should belong to trade or technical groups. Lean on these connections to get you "warm" introductions.  Having an insider's recommendation gives you instant credibility.
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->Show How You'll Fit: Careful research of a prospective employer will allow you to have more meaningful interaction during an interview. If you understand where the company has been, and its strategy for going forward, you can sell yourself by showing how well you'll fit the culture, and how your background can help the company attain its goals.

Are we being repetitive about the importance of networking and research? Sure we are. But you'd be amazed how many people resist pursuing these fundamental tactics. As few as they might be, some people are being hired nowadays, and you need to be as aggressive and knowledgeable as you can be if you want to be one of them.

-- Chad Broadus