Help me find IT work in Chicago area.
August 26, 2010 8:12 AM   Subscribe

What steps should I take to find an IT job in the Chicago metro area? Can LinkedIn help? And am I insane for even looking in this economy?

(asked anonymously as I don't want my current employer to know I'm hopefully leaving)

I am a senior level IT worker (programmer) and team lead. Due to family circumstances, I am needing to relocate to the greater Chicago area (the closer to the southeast 'burbs the better).

Given the status of jobs in general, and IT jobs in particular, I'm wondering about the various ways I could find senior-level IT jobs in the Chicago area, ideally some that may offer relocation benefits and not require a net cut in pay.

One thing I've considered is finding a headhunting firm, but in the past headhunting firms have approached me, not vice versa. Is it acceptable to approach them and, if so, any recommendations for some that service the Chicago region?

Many headhunters have found me through my LinkedIn Profile. Now that I am actively seeking employment elsewhere, I'd love to leverage LinkedIn to help me find a job; however, at least half of my LinkedIn contacts are my co-workers at my current company. I obviously can't state I'm looking for opportunities in Chicago without dumping all of them, but I fear dumping all of them will send up a red flag that I'm looking anyway. So: (a) is LinkedIn worth using in this regard and (b) how have you dealt with this type of situation in the past? (If you dumped your contacts, was there any reprisal; if you are a manager and your employee dumped you as a contact, would you be suspicious?)

Finally, in just looking on web sites I'm finding IT jobs to be available, but not plentiful, in the Chicago area (especially the more senior positions; plenty of entry to mid level stuff). Anyone have knowledge on what the landscape is like for IT in that area?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The IT job I had in Chicago (actually Evanston, but whatever) I got from Craigslist. I also had another offer (in the Loop) at the same time, also via Craigslist. These were entry level though. At least back then (2006), there were also quite a few senior positions in the listings.
posted by kmz at 9:11 AM on August 26, 2010

There are always plenty of IT jobs in Chicago, even in down times like this. The 37signals and arstechnica job boards often have listings in the area (it's hard to say with more precision since you've not provided a lot of detail about your expertise). You might also go to meetups/barcamps/etc. if you're willing to schmooze a bit.
posted by rbs at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2010

If someone is using LinkedIn so extensively that they'll notice that you dumped them, they're ALSO looking for a job. I doubt anyone would notice.
posted by micawber at 10:36 AM on August 26, 2010

Feel free to MeFi Mail me - I've found a few positions already (see below) and can provide more info if you'd like.

I know multiple people who wanted to move to Chicago found IT jobs in the past 4 months. You're not crazy. I think they were all analyst jobs, but not trivial ones. So I don't think you're crazy, the market in Chicago is alive.

Landscape: You're in luck. Hospitals, health insurance companies, and other healthcare organizations are in an IT hiring frenzy, and many of them (especially the larger ones) need programmers. There's tons of government money on the table for hospitals that use IT extensively, and there's a mad rush to get things up and running. Loyola Medicine, Northwestern Memorial, and U of Chicago all come to mind. Many of them would like knowledge of healthcare, but it's not really a requirement - healthcare can be learned as long as you're flexible.

Here's a programmer job at Loyola Medicine
Here's a web developer position at Northwestern Memorial

Linkedin is a potentially wonderful resource. It's overrun with recruiters right now, which is annoying unless you want to find a job - so it's perfect for you. If you're obsessed with avoiding suspicion, check everything under "Interested in." Lots of people leave everything checked there, but having those things set will tell recruiters they can contact you. And I don't think updating your profile is suspicious, lots of people keep them up-to-date just as a way to have a professional face on the Internet. Sure, you can't specify "Chicago" in your profile, but at least you'll have the shotgun approach going for you.
posted by Tehhund at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, I swear I'm not a recruiter, just a fellow IT guy who likes to network.
posted by Tehhund at 11:16 AM on August 26, 2010

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