Looks like the employers now have the advantage again with so many workers looking for jobs. I was in high-tech and now I am waiting to get back in, but it is a daunting, frustrating and sometimes seemingly impossible task these days. With many people out of work, employers are now, more than ever, acting like the job prospects don't exist until they are interested in them. Sending resumes out to the proper channels, usually in email, is the preferred way unless you are filling out an online resume to be plugged into a database and called if you fit the mold.
The reason I say "It is a daunting, frustrating and sometimes seemingly impossible task" is that it looks like my resume falls into an HR abyss and I am lucky if I get an email thanking me for my submittal. If you use recruiters to have jobs they are filling or to find work for you, it seems like some recruiters aren't doing their job like they used to and *if* they do, you can be sure you are a hot item for them.
The qualifications for high-tech are very specific and incredibly hits a well-defined audience. A lot of times if you don't have the number of specific skills that they are looking for, they won't even talk with you. Hitting the ground running is huge these days since there are a number of candidates to fill the positions available. It also looks like the job qualifications are fluid and never seem to be the same when you interview. I can't tell you how many times I have applied and heard that qualifications were added or changed. I enter the interview process with 11 out of 11 qualifications, but when you change or add new ones I don't have at the last minute, I miss the moving target and I am instantly disqualified.
In my case, I work on the Quality Assurance (QA) side of software and hardware. I am finding that not many employers want to incorporate any training at all. *If* I don't have one (or the laundry list) of the particular GUI-based test tools, I am up a creek. The GUI based test tools are some of the easiest to come up to speed on once you have learned the testing infrastructure and framework. A lot of employers see QA as a necessary evil and want minimal downtime. Instead of hiring someone that can understand and has had experience in the whole QA life cycle, the employers are looking to hire someone to push out the metrics of opening and closing bugs at breakneck speed.
I believe at some point, this will turn around so that there is a little more equilibrium between employer and employee. How long that will take, I don't really know. In the early 80's we saw almost the same type of unemployment as we are seeing now and we came out of it. In the mid to late 90's it had shifted to an employee's market with record employment and salaries that were sometimes out of control. Then after 9/11, we saw the shift back to the record unemployment and back to the employer's dominance of the job market. Until we shift toward the equilibrium that the market need to thrive and grow, it definitely is an employer's market.