Landing an IT Job: Insights from a Recruiter
By Keith Millett | Nov 26, 2018 | Insights
There’s no way around it—you need a (new) IT job. Regardless of the motivation for your change, you want to stand out from your competitors and land the best possible IT job. Here’s the problem: so does everyone else. Short of publishing your resume on brightly colored paper or claiming you worked for Bill Gates when he founded Microsoft, how can you truly stand out from the competition while remaining your genuine self?
The Great Resume & Cover Letter Debate
If you want a job, you need to create a resume. While it can be tempting to unload your entire life story onto a resume, don’t—resist that urge, and work to ensure that your resume is no more than two pages long. In terms of formatting, make sure your resume is easy to understand with strongly written bullet points that highlight the technologies you’ve worked with and paint a picture of growth over the years. In addition to a well written and easy to read resume, you’ll want to ensure you have a digital profile on LinkedIn that recruiters can reference—and make sure that your information is up to date and matches in both places.
If you need or want a place to expand upon your accomplishments, we highly recommend utilizing LinkedIn. You might be wondering if you should also put this information in a cover letter, but you should know that cover letters have actually fallen to the wayside for IT positions. Most hiring managers in the IT space now focus on the bottom line: can you do the job or not? But if you find you do need a cover letter, ensure that you discuss how you learned about the opportunity, how your qualifications match the position, and any relevant skills you have.
As always, before you launch any documents into cyberspace, be sure to have at least two or three other people review what you’ve created—you never know what embarrassing errors you may have overlooked.
Job Hunting 101
Now that you’ve polished your resume and LinkedIn profile, you’re ready to apply for jobs! The Internet has undoubtedly changed how we search, but the best place to seek out IT jobs hasn’t changed: it’s in your network. Ask people you’ve worked with (and for) to see what they’ve heard in terms of open positions.
As for searching online, we’re major fans of LinkedIn—you simply have to learn to be a researcher. Target companies with technologies, industries, or missions that interest you—LinkedIn will be able to suggest similar companies to keep your search going, too. In addition, you should turn your job hunt feature “on” in LinkedIn. This way, recruiters will know you are looking and will be more willing to reach out to you directly.
Another way to job hunt is to attend events. Whether at a bar or at the company, mingling and networking with people is a great way to get your foot in the door of a new opportunity.
How to Sell Yourself in the Interview
Now comes the interview. Before you meet with anyone, first do your research on the company and the people you’ll be meeting with. It’s crucial that you understand your audience as well as what they’re looking for. As long as you thoroughly prepare, you’ll find that any pre-interview jitters will quickly dissipate in favor of confidence.
As you go into the interview, remember that you’re simply having a conversation. While it’s easier said than done, try to relax and be yourself. You got the interview because you have qualifications they like—run with that confidence, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Even if you don’t get the job in the end, think of this and every interview as practice for your next one. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get at interviewing.
Don’t Make These Mistakes
These mistakes might seem self explanatory, but they’re worth reiterating whether you’re a novice or expert in the interview world:
- Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Honesty goes a long way in an interview, so admit it when you don’t know something; it’s a big step in building trust with your employer.
- Don’t be more than ten minutes early. Even if you arrive 30 minutes beforehand, pass the time by sitting in your car and practicing.
- Don’t badmouth past employers—seriously. Even if they’re the Guardians of Hell, it makes you look bad when you speak ill of others, especially if the people you’re talking to happen to know the interviewers personally.
- Don’t leave without asking questions. This is especially true at the end of the interview. Asking questions shows that you’re eager to learn!
- Don’t come in with your cell phone—leave it in your car, and give your interviewers 100% of your focus.
If you follow these tips (and avoid making these common mistakes), you’ll be sure to find success. Best of luck in your job hunt, and feel free to reach out to us for more information on searching for a job in the IT industry.