Hired! Do your homework, land a job

One job seeker proves it's still easy to find work - if you're willing to go the extra mile.

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By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Before David Hudson's last day with his previous employer, he put his job search in high gear.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Even in the current job market, getting a pink slip doesn't always lead to long-term unemployment - especially if you're willing to do the extra legwork it takes to get hired these days.

When David Hudson was laid off from his computer programming job, he sharpened his skills, did his due diligence and took full advantage of the resources available to him.

Hudson, 40, was lucky enough to get a heads up before his employer gave him the ax. He was notified in early February that his firm would have to make cuts and his last day would be March 6. He made sure to use the time wisely.

"I put myself in the place of the employer," he explained. "What would the employer be looking for, what would catch their eye?"

For starters, Hudson researched the key words and phrases that hiring managers were looking for now, like "computer programmer," instead of the more outdated "IT professional," and described himself accordingly on his résumé before posting it to Dice.com, Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com.

It worked. Hudson says he received 20 or 30 calls or hits from his résumé alone.

As for networking, Hudson reached out to his friends and former managers, joined LinkedIn and his college alumni association at UCLA to gain access to more job listings. He focused his search on programming jobs in the Los Angeles area. With a wife and two sons, Hudson hoped to make the transition smooth.

Meanwhile, he brushed up on his software skills through books and online tutorials. And prepared a loose-leaf binder with alphabetized information on the companies he applied to and recruiters he was in contact with.

One of the employers that contacted him early in his search was Edmunds.com, a Web site that covers the auto industry based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Immediately, Hudson familiarized himself with the company by watching the office video tour online. He also looked up current employees on LinkedIn and researched the relevant skills and current projects they listed.

When it came time for his interview, Hudson arrived in a suit even though he knew the office was business casual. He also prepared answers and anecdotes for every conceivable question he could think of in advance.

Jesus Robles, Edmunds.com's director of release management and Hudson's hiring manager, said the Senior Release Management Engineer position had been open for 5 months and they had received many, many résumés - "way more than normal," he said.

"When I saw David, it looked like he had done his homework; he was really good at responding to our questions, his skills were current."

Hudson got the job and started March 10. Technically, he had only been unemployed for three days.

Back in business

Our career experts agree that Hudson can credit his success to his analytic approach to the job search.

"This is a buyer's market out there right now," said Dan King, principal of Career Planning and Management Inc. in Boston. "Its not always the most qualified who gets the job but the one who knows best how to market their qualifications."

Like Hudson, job seekers need to sell themselves to potential employers. That means getting up to speed on relevant skills in demand, finding contacts with the company and putting your best foot forward at the interview.

Using job boards to get information on what employers are looking for, and incorporating that in your résumé with key words and phrases, is a smart way to get started, according to Barbara Safani, president of Career Solvers in New York.

Taking courses, webinars and tutorials to bone up those sought-after skills is also key - particularly for those that have been out of the job market for an extended period of time, she said.

"That's true in all industries but particularly in technology," she added.

Further, promoting yourself as a serious candidate during in-person interviews is not just about being prepared, but also presentable.

"Showing up in a suit communicates that it was important enough to him to make the right impression," King said.

Read updates on the people previously profiled in Hired! Join the Hired! group on Facebook.

Have you found a job recently? We want to hear from you. Send us an email and attach a photo. Tell us where you got hired and how you landed the job and you could be profiled in an upcoming story on CNNMoney.com. For the CNNMoney.com Comment Policy, click here. To top of page

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