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If you are looking to fill some skills gaps at your business, or if you are one of the many unemployed who lost an IT job during the recession, take heart. While it is unlikely that IT jobs and hiring will return at any great clip in 2010, employers who see a pickup in business will be looking for IT consultants and contractors and will be turning to those who are unemployed and working on a contract basis.

IT employment industry analyst David Foote of Foote Partners tells Channel Insider: “We don’t see many jobs returning in 2010 or much hiring happening until 2011, but that doesn’t mean companies aren’t spending a lot of money on IT. But this next year will be a great one for IT consultants and contractors and managed services.”

Foote says these companies have placed restrictions on headcounts, but will look to business and consulting services firms – an area where Foote Partners has noted growth for the last five months.

“That’s an opportunity that anyone who is any good can get involved with, even if they are out of work,” he says.

A tougher problem for traditional IT workers is knowing how to market themselves in a new age of social media. Foote says he sees many unemployed IT workers sending traditional resumes when they should be promoting themselves on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“People have to get out there and get themselves known,” he says. “The number of companies that are using [social media] for recruiting is something like 80 percent. We find a lot of good IT people who are underemployed or unemployed; they’ve got to go out and use these.”

It’s a basic disconnect going on in the industry right now, Foote says. He finds so many people at conferences who are highly skilled and unemployed. And then he finds so many employers who say they cannot find the right employees.

“For last couple years, we’ve been told by small boutique IT security services firms that their demand exceeds their supply of workers that they have to turn work away work. That’s crazy.”

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