We often hear engineers say that their boss said "you can do it in your free time". Please consider what free time means--if you don't have much to do, it means one thing. But if you're working a lot of overtime, free time is your time the company doesn't pay for. What makes it worse is that you can, in a sense, buy time by licensing an easy to install, solid and reliable software module. However, its often difficult to convince your boss to spend more money for a quality product, even though you know it will save your time and aggravation.
One good way to convince your boss is to get references of the software from people you know. Social networking sites, like LinkedIn, are excellent tools for this.
The best references are from people you know. Again, LinkedIn will give you a list of people who know a potential new employee. Just search for that employee's name, and you will get a list of connections if you have a second or third degree connection to them.
If you have a first degree connection, then click on the number of connections in the "connections" section of the blue header box, and you'll get this information. There may be two tabs--"All connections" if the person shares that info, and "Shared connections" which is there only if you have at least one contact in common.
Linked In -- the "gold standard" of networking sites.
Yahoo People Search -- If you know where they live, you can find them.
Google -- Often you can find past associates by searching in google, or in the Usenet groups archive.
Plaxo -- An automated utility to keep your outlook and outlook express address book up to date. I haven't used it because I don't use outlook, but a couple of my contacts have.
A list of job search sites and hints has been added at Job Search Resources.
Please email any websites or other information you think should go on this page to: Nine-9s