Playing the find-a-job game at industry conferences

Information technology professionals often attend industry conferences not only to learn new skills and see the latest technology, but also to look for new jobs.

Even if you don’t have an ulterior motive, “attending a conference is a great way to network,” said Richard Wonder, president of Richard Wonder & Associates, a technical recruiting firm in New York. But using an industry conference as a job fair requires some finesse. Here are some tips on how you can win the game of landing a new job at your next trade show visit.

Object of the game: Generate job offers as a result of attending an industry conference.

How to play: Persuade your current employer to pay all your expenses for attending the conference of your choice. Once there, impress potential employers and subtly convey interest in “new opportunities.” Return to the office with plenty of useful information for the boss and colleagues. Deftly field follow-up calls from executive recruiters and hiring managers. Consider new job offers.

Players: The game is appropriate for one or more players. It’s open to IT professionals working in corporate settings as well as contractors, consultants and IT professionals at vendor companies.

Venues: Nearly any industry conference provides ample opportunity for job seekers. Some huge events, such as Comdex in Las Vegas, set aside floor space for career fairs. Other organizations, such as the Society for Information Management (SIM), don’t permit recruiters to join or attend events and discourage members from overtly seeking jobs or recruiting candidates at functions.

Weapons: Business cards, electronic personal information managers and r