In today's economy, it may seem like every industry is shedding jobs. But there are bright spots in the current recession. In fact, some areas, like accounting and information technology (IT), actually become more important to firms when the economy slows.
Following is a guide to where work can be found in 2009 and advice for those interested in pursuing these positions:
1. Senior accountants
These professionals are being hired to handle projects ranging from maintaining general ledger systems to analyzing and preparing financial statements.
Career cues: Candidates for senior accountant positions should possess solid communication, technology, organizational and analytical skills. Companies hiring senior accountants generally look for a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance as well as accreditations such as certified public account (CPA) or certified management accountant (CMA).
2. Senior auditors
Changes in legislation related to taxes, financial reporting standards, business investments, mergers and other financial events continue to fuel demand for senior auditors.
Career cues: Public accounting firms seek auditors who can manage the audit process and troubleshoot problems. Strong interpersonal, communication and project management skills also are a must for this position. Employers look for candidates who can think strategically and identify, research and resolve tax issues, as well as work with other corporate functions to implement business plans and projects.
3. Web developers
The rise of social media and the expansion of companies' online presence, Web 2.0 initiatives and interactive Web functionality have fueled further growth in Internet technologies, creating a need for Web developers.
Career cues: Web developers should have an in-depth knowledge of Internet protocols and applications in addition to a solid understanding of business strategy. They need strong communication skills and the ability to work both individually and as part of a team. Employers typically seek individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, plus at least several years of Web-related experience. Candidates should be well-versed in Web technologies and tools such as Java, XML, ASP, ColdFusion, HTML/DHTML and others.
4. Programmer analysts
IT professionals with knowledge of .NET, SharePoint, Java or PHP are at a premium across companies in all industries, including health care, finance and manufacturing. These workers are needed to write code, test and debug software applications, and analyze business application requirements.
Career cues: Most employers look for a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or management information systems, in addition to relevant job experience. Programmer analysts must understand and conceptualize applications from both a technical perspective and a business point of view. They also need strong interpersonal and communication skills. Excellent programming abilities in common languages such as C++, Java and Unix are necessary for the coding aspects of the position.
5. Administrative health care positions
Even in a grim job market, the health care industry continues to grow and offer great career opportunities. Many medical facilities are seeking administrative professionals with health care experience. Positions in high demand include medical file clerks, medical secretaries, patient admissions clerks and credentialing specialists.
Career cues: Employers typically require previous office or business experience, a high school diploma or equivalent, and basic computer and general office skills. Because these positions usually require collaborating with other office staff, candidates should be cooperative and able to work as part of a team. In addition, applicants should have good communication skills and be detail-oriented and adaptable.
6. Project managers
Advertising agencies and marketing departments need project managers who can ensure that projects come in on time and within budget. Those with experience managing digital projects are especially valued.
Career cues: Because these professionals often serve as a liaison between creative staff and clients, and ensure customer satisfaction, quality control and timely delivery of final products, excellent communication and multitasking abilities are a must. Diplomacy also is helpful when assisting internal and external clients with production-related questions and concerns.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.
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