July 27th, 2014
In information technology, email is often the most commonly used way to communicate between IT consultants and their coworkers, clients, bosses, etc. If your emails aren’t done well, you could be communicating poorly with any of these people. Worse, you might be ruining your reputation with various IT recruiters and IT staffing firms (and thus hurting your chances at getting new IT jobs in the future!). Even with stellar resumes, no IT headhunters can work with IT professionals with poor communication skills. How do you make sure your emails are making stellar impressions on your fellow IT contractors, etc and helping your reputation with technical recruiters (rather than hurting it)? Consider these factors:
1. Clarity and brevity. Are your emails short, to the point, and easy to understand? You might be speaking the same language as your recipient. However, if your thoughts aren’t organized, clear, and uncluttered, it might be the same as writing in a foreign language! Especially if you are providing information to somebody who needs it quickly or asking for something, it’s very important that your emails are short and easy to digest for the important points. Most people in IT just don’t have time to wade through long, unclear emails.
2. Speediness of your responses. While it’s not advisable to try responding for speed alone, it is important to answer emails quickly. If you’re waiting on something to be able to respond adequately, you can simply respond with an estimate of when you’ll be ready to give a final, complete response. Your recipient will appreciate knowing that their request or question is on your radar, even if you can’t take care of it right away.
3. Politeness and respect. Email takes away two of the best tools we usually have for communication: tone of voice and facial expression. Since you’re only using your words to communicate, tread lightly. Leave out sarcasm, most jokes, and anything that might look aggressive or rude. It’s too hard to explain later what your true intention was—make it hard to assume you were being anything but polite and pleasant from the get-to.
Are your emails helping or hurting your IT career?
July 24th, 2014
IT recruiting firms will always put plenty of time into prepping IT consultants and their resumes for interviews for IT jobs. However, there are some things IT contractors need to do to prepare themselves on their own. Below are some of the things that technical recruiters may not warn you about, but you should never say in a job interview—whether in the information technology field or any other field.
1. Coarse language. It’s obvious but it’s worth noting. Even if your interviewer lets a curse word drop, try to abstain yourself. It’s better to avoid anything but perfectly neutral, professional language in an interview.
2. Don’t portray yourself as a victim. Employers want to see potential employees who can solve problems themselves. Victims succumb to their problems and are overwhelmed by them. They tend to require a manager’s valuable time and energy to be ‘saved’ from issues. Don’t be a victim. Be empowered and an ideal employee.
3. Avoid placeholder words and imprecise words. Anything like ‘uh, um, whatnot, you know, etc.’ don’t do much to help you. The best thing to do if you’re having trouble completing a sentence or thinking of what to say is to pause. Your silence will connote a real attention to presentation and detail. Haphazardly throwing out a word so you can move on in the sentence says something a little less flattering about you.
Stop saying ‘um’ and other placeholder words in interviews. They’re hurting you more than you know.
July 22nd, 2014
All IT jobs require particular technical skills, but they also require soft skills that are beyond the usual content of resumes. IT recruiters can all attest to the power of likability in IT professionals. IT managers will always pick the IT contractors who not only have the ability to do the job, but also have these important soft skills:
1. An optimistic, happy demeanor: The happier and more optimistic IT consultants are, the more pleasant it is to work with them. It’s easy to demonstrate this in an interview. Make sure you smile and keep conversation upbeat and positive.
2. Confidence: Nobody wants to hire somebody who seems unsure of themselves. In IT, this lack of confidence can leave users feeling unsure about the quality of service they’re receiving.
3. Strong communication skills: In some sections of IT, this is absolutely imperative. If a client is involved, it’s very important for the IT professional to always be able to communicate well and maintain positive working relationships.
Are your communication skills stellar? It could cost you the IT job if they’re not!