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An Easy Job Interview Mistake to Avoid

You probably spend valuable time prepping for your interviews.  You talk with your IT recruiters, you brush up on the relevant technologies, you prepare some questions about the job, iron a suit, etc.  When you go to all this effort to wow your interviewers, why hurt your chances by making small mistakes?  Here’s one silly mistake that IT staffing companies see candidates make far too often: arriving too early for the interview.

Arriving too early might seem pretty harmless, but there are a lot of reasons IT recruiting companies see this mistake hurt candidates.  Firstly, when candidates show up more than 10 or 15 minutes early, it can be pretty frustrating for the company.  Some companies simply don’t have the room to accommodate guests for long periods of time.  In the tech field in particular, IT staffing firms find that there are plenty of startups that don’t have much space for the reception area.

Another reason that IT recruiting agencies don’t recommend that candidates get to interviews earlier than 15 minutes is that it might suggest negative things about you.  When your IT staffing agencies give you a time to show up, you make a favorable impression if you show up on time.  Showing up 20 or 30 minutes early simply isn’t on time.  It’s obviously not as bad as showing up late, but your interviewer planned to see you at a certain time.  It’s your responsibility to be there for it.  Not being on time can make it look like you’re disorganized, can’t follow directions, are inconsiderate, don’t have reliable transportation, etc.  IT recruiting firms find that some candidates think people will only assume negative things about you if you’re late.  It’s not true.  The way to make the best impression is to show up at most 10 or 15 minutes earlier than the time your technical recruiters tell you to.

So what do you do if you are more than 10 or 15 minutes early to an interview?   If you’re meeting your IT recruiters to be walked into the interview, call them.  They may have you meet them at a nearby coffee shop or somewhere else to wait.  If you’re not meeting your recruiters, find a coffee shop yourself to wait.  Or take a walk around the area to kill time.  You might even find that the extra minutes are a good time for you to get ready, go over your notes one more time, or simply relax and ease your nerves.

 

On Time IT Job Interview
‘Too early’ isn’t the same thing as ‘on time’ to your interviewers! Photo credit: steinchen via Pixabay.

 

Do You Have to Write Thank You Notes When You Use IT Recruiters?

Many IT staffing firms find that candidates will assume they don’t need to write thank you notes after interviews when they work with IT recruiters.  This is absolutely not true.  Technical recruiters nearly always ask for their candidates to send along a thank you email. Here’s why, as well as how you can write a great thank you note for your IT staffing agencies to pass along to interviewers.

Firstly, here’s why your IT recruiting firms will likely ask you for a thank you note to give to your interviewers.  A thank you note is one of the best ways to strengthen your candidacy.  These notes are not only polite (though that’s a plus) but well-written ones let you provide a lasting, written impression of you as a great candidate.  IT recruiting agencies have seen notes that do powerful things like reiterate why the candidate is a great fit for the role or expound upon an interesting question from the interview.  Skipping a thank you note is like skipping the end of your interview:  you’re skipping a prime moment to strengthen your candidacy.

So now that you understand why you need to give your IT staffing companies thank you notes to pass on to your interviewers, how do you write a stellar one?  Start by making sure you take notes during your interview.  Don’t trust yourself to remember a moment when you connected well with the interviewer or to remember a question you could have given a longer answer on.  Take a note about it so you can use it in your thank you note later.

Secondly, IT recruiting companies would suggest you keep brevity in mind.  Don’t write the interviewer a novel and try to turn the note around as quickly as you can.  A great thank you note will be written promptly and will use every word to remind an interviewer why you’re a uniquely perfect fit for the job.  Don’t waste the interviewer’s time with a generic template, either.  This doesn’t do much to show how you are uniquely qualified for the role.  Every word in a generic template is a word wasted!

Keep these tips in mind and you may just land the job next time!

 

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Even when you’re working with IT recruiters, you still need to write a thank you note! Photo credit: condesign via Pixabay.

 

 

Don’t Ask These Questions in a Job Interview

Most IT recruiting agencies make sure their candidates are prepared with job interview questions.  If you come without any, you’ll definitely hurt your chances of landing the IT jobs you interview for.  However, it’s just as important to make sure that you have effective questions to ask.  IT staffing firms can attest to the fact that there are some questions that will hurt your candidacy.  Here are 3 types of questions that IT recruiting firms would definitely suggest you avoid asking.

1.    Questions that fish for compliments.  IT staffing companies would advise you to avoid questions like ‘Why did you like my resume?’ or ‘Why did you call me in for an interview?’  Even if you don’t mean to do so, your interviewer can assume you’re seeking some kind of compliments.  Besides seriously annoying your interviewer, you risk coming across as arrogant or insecure, as well as wasting the interviewer’s time.  Questions need to help you better understand the role, corporate culture, get to know what the manager’s style is like, etc.  These kinds of questions don’t cover these areas at all.

2.    Questions that you could have found the answer to yourself.  IT staffing firms would definitely advise that you do not ask any questions that you could find the answer to by researching the company or asking your IT recruiters.  You want to appear resourceful, competent, and prepared.  By asking a question that you could have easily found the answer to, you destroy all hopes your interviewer will see you this way.  Do your research on the company and don’t hesitate to ask your technical recruiters questions.  This is part of the advantage they provide, so use it!

3.    Questions that may feel disrespectful to the interviewer.  Don’t ask if the interviewer has seen your resume, if you’ll be speaking with their boss, or how long the interview will take.  You want to make sure the interviewer feels like you deeply appreciate their time and respect them as a professional. Be extra careful not to offend your interviewer or get too casual with them.  Your only impression on them will be what your IT recruiting companies say about you and whatever you say in this interview.  So every word, every gesture, every tone counts.  Don’t take any risks in this regard, or you may hurt your chances of landing the IT job!

 

Job interview questions
Job interview questions help you…if they’re good! Photo credit: GDJ via Pixabay.

 

 

Why Make a Resume That’s Less Technical?

When you’re getting ready to work with IT recruiting firms to find your next role, the most important part is probably polishing and updating your resume.  If you can’t hand your technical recruiters a great resume, you’ll severely limit the amount of IT jobs you can be considered for.   Your IT recruiters can help you polish your resume a bit, but the only person who can really update it the best is you.  You are the person who understands the projects you’ve completed and their impact, not the IT staffing agencies you work with.  So as you put in the time to really flesh out each major role, project, and professional achievement in your resume, remember that the best resumes are easy to read for both non-technical people and very technically adept people.

Why is it necessary for your resume to be easy for technical and non-technical people to read?  Firstly, it’s because your resume is a document for the hiring managers, HR people, and technical recruiters who will be involved in the hiring process.  Sometimes IT professionals assume that all of these people will be up to speed on the technologies they work with, but this simply isn’t the case.  In fact, it’s relatively often that IT recruiting agencies hand resumes off to a hiring manager or HR person who doesn’t have much experience with programming languages or troubleshooting, even if they’re the ones hiring for it!  If you can’t make your resume readable for these people, you may find that you lose out on jobs.  IT staffing firms can only do so much to sell you; if your resume doesn’t entice a hiring manager, it will get tossed.

Another reason you need to make sure your resume isn’t too technical for laymen to read is that doing so demonstrates great communication skills.  IT recruiting companies have a much easier time placing candidates who are not only great at C# or SQL, but can also communicate well with people who aren’t great at these things.  When you are adept with relevant technical skills, but you can also explain to non-technical people what you’re doing, you are infinitely more valuable.  One powerful way to show this skill is by making your resume easy for anybody to read.  This does more than a bullet saying that you’ve got good communication skills.  It lets IT staffing companies and hiring managers experience these great communication skills firsthand.

So when you go to make a resume for your IT recruiters, take the extra time to make it easy for everyone to read.  It may take extra time and effort on your part, but it will pay off quickly.  Your IT recruiters will have no trouble finding you your dream role if you can give them a thorough, clear, easy to read resume!

 

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Remember to make a resume that’s readable for everyone, not just people in your field! Photo credit: janeb13 via Pixabay.

 

IT Professionals Shouldn’t Write Objectives on Their Resumes

When you’re polishing your resume, you shouldn’t waste an inch of space.  IT recruiting firms and hiring managers are attracted by resumes that use every word to show why you’re an excellent candidate.  With this in mind, your IT staffing companies would suggest that you do not include an objective on your resume.

Why would IT recruiting agencies tell you to leave an objective off your resume?  Basically, an objective doesn’t accomplish the most important goal: showing technical recruiters and potential employers why you’d be an asset for them.  Objectives tell IT staffing firms and hiring managers what you want in your next IT jobs. Your resume isn’t the place to do this.  You can tell IT recruiters what you want in your next role when you speak to them (on the phone or in person).  Essentially, every word of your objective is space you could be using to better entice hiring managers and IT recruiting companies.

So what do you write instead of an objective?  Use that extra space in your resume to show off your professional achievements, technical skills and experience, and contributions that you’ve made at previous IT jobs.  Make sure you’ve got all relevant technical skills listed at the beginning of your resume.  Or put a few extra bullets below your most recent position to show how you brought value to your team.  Maybe you consistently delivered or debugged code ahead of deadline.  Perhaps you provided exemplary customer service to the end users you worked with.  These are the kinds of things you want on your resume instead of objectives.

Especially in tech, hiring managers love to rely on hard data when they make decisions.  Provide these hiring managers with some hard data about why you’re an excellent candidate by listing what you’ve done for your previous employers.  IT staffing agencies and hiring managers will be able to easily picture you in the roles you want to be submitted for.  Thus putting this info on your resume will do much more for you than any objective would!

 

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Stop! Don’t waste space on your resume with an objective. Photo credit: Knerri61 via Pixabay.

 

2 Ways to Make Updating Your Resume Easier

Possibly the worst part of searching for new IT jobs is having to update your resume.  Even when you’re working with IT recruiters, this is still a task that you’ll have to deal with.  Here are 2 easy ways to make the process much less painful the next time your IT staffing firms ask for the most updated version of your resume.

  1. Take notes ahead of time. On a day when you have a little free time, create a document where you will keep notes about what you achieve in your current position.  IT recruiting firms would suggest you think about achievements that cement your value to your managers, your team, end users and clients, etc.  Add these items to your document as they occur.  Even if you love your current job so much that you could never imagine working with IT staffing agencies to leave it for a new one, you should still do this.  The reality is that most people do tend to work at more than one employer; thus you’ll probably actually need to job search again in the future.  Taking notes on professional achievements and contributions at your current position now means that you’ll have better information and more details than if you just try to remember it later.
  2. Always keep your technical skills section up to date. Again, even if you aren’t even remotely close to contacting your technical recruiters to look for a new role, it’s worth taking a few minutes of free time one day to add new certifications, skills, programming languages, etc to your resume.  If you don’t have time to add them to your resume in proper formatting, simply take notes on them along with your other notes about your current position.  Updating your resume can be a stressful, overwhelming process.  You wouldn’t want to forget a key programming language or certification as you rush to get an updated version of your resume to your IT recruiting agencies.

With these steps, whenever you are ready to update your resume for IT staffing companies, you’ll have all the information you need (together in one place, too).  Updating your IT resume will take half the time and you can get on with your job search faster!

 

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Relying on yourself to remember everything you need to update your IT resume with is a bad strategy. Photo credit: SolGar via Pixabay.

 

3 Questions About the Education Section on Your Resume

IT staffing agencies see a lot of confusion around the ‘Education’ section on resumes.  Here are some answers to questions that IT recruiting firms often get from candidates about how to write this section of a resume when you’re searching for IT jobs.

  1. Where Do I Put the Education Section? The answer  IT recruiters give here relies heavily on where you are in your career.  If you’re working with IT staffing companies to find one of your first jobs, your education section can be at the top.  This is because it’s your most significant experience.  You haven’t had much professional experience yet, so the years you spent studying technologies or languages are going to matter most to potential employers.  If you’re not a recent graduate, IT recruiting agencies would rather see your education as one of the last categories on your resume.  Your professional experience will be far more significant to IT recruiters and hiring managers than your degrees.
  2. What Should I Do if I’m Still Finishing a Degree or Certification? In the tech field it’s especially common for people to be completing an online degree or certification as they work.  IT staffing firms see a lot of candidates who return to school to brush up on technologies or learn new ones.  If you’re in the middle of learning a new programming language or getting a new certification, don’t leave it off your resume.  Your IT recruiters won’t know that you’re ready for new kinds of roles if you don’t add in these classes, programs, etc!  Instead, list the degree, certification, etc (and where you’re getting it from).  Give the date completed as ‘In progress.’
  3. How Do I Document it If I Went to More Than One College? This is a trend IT recruiting companies are seeing more and more as the cost of college rises.  Plenty of IT professionals will get an AS from a less expensive school and complete their BA or BS in a better (and more expensive) name brand school.  Technical recruiters won’t hold it against you if you just list the place you completed your degree in.  In fact, it’s better to streamline your education section a bit by doing this.  It doesn’t matter if you got your degree at 2 or more different universities.  Especially in the tech field, your experience and skill-set tend to matter more than your education anyways.  So save the space for the more important info and just list the final place you earned your degree (even if you didn’t start there!).

 

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Have questions about how to create the ‘Education’ section of your IT resume? Photo credit: Dalomo via Pixabay.

 

 

Don’t Forget to Bring These Items to Interviews

There are a lot of ways to prepare for your IT job interviews.  You can role play answering important questions.  You can study up on the technologies that your IT recruiters say you’ll be quizzed on.  You can do research on the companies your technical recruiters send you to interview for.  But here’s one thing that IT staffing firms find candidates often forget to do: bring a pen and notepad.

In a digital age, especially in the tech field, why would IT recruiting firms suggest you really need to bring a pen and notepad with you to interviews?  There are 2 reasons: it helps show that you’re engaged and interested and it helps you write a killer thank you note after the interview.  To start with the first reason, IT staffing agencies want you to take notes because it helps a manager see you as organized and engaged in your interview process.  Perhaps more importantly, taking notes helps your interviewers picture you bringing these qualities to the IT jobs you’re interviewing for.

The second reason IT recruiting agencies want you to bring a pen and notepad to your interviews is to make sure you take down the information you’ll need to write an excellent thank you note.  IT staffing companies see too many candidates underestimate the power of a great thank you note.   You’ll want to bring a notepad and pen to write down details that you can use in your notes.  You could jot down are reminder of important topics you discussed, perhaps a question you wanted to expound on a bit more, or maybe just something that you really liked about their team or corporate culture.  Considering how long, stressful, and overwhelming a job interview can be (especially a technical one where you might whiteboard an answer, get quizzed on technical skills, etc) it’s a bad idea to assume you’ll remember these kinds of details.  Bringing your notepad and pen lets you prep to write thank you notes that go beyond the generic ones that IT recruiting companies are too often given to pass on to interviewers.  Why not take this chance to differentiate yourself?

 

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Don’t forget this item on your list of steps to prep for your IT job interviews. Photo credit: inspirexpressmiami via Pixabay.

 

Unconventional Titles on IT Resumes

IT recruiters come across plenty of candidates who have odd job titles in IT.  IT staffing companies find that especially in the tech field (and particularly startup companies) titles can include words like ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’.  If you have one of these creative titles, here’s how to handle it on your resume so you attract IT staffing firms and hiring managers.

Firstly, try to figure out what your title would be at a more conventional company.  If you’re having a hard time coming up with this, IT recruiting agencies would suggest you check out the titles other people use on LinkedIn, reach out to people in your network, or consult with your technical recruiters. Next, list your official title on your resume.  Then in parentheses, list the conventional title next to it.

The last thing IT recruiting firms would suggest you do if you have an unconventional title is to make sure the bullets below that job represent your duties and accomplishments clearly.  Good bullets will work with that conventional title to clear up any lingering confusion about your title and role.  As your write your bullets (under this and all other IT jobs on your resume) keep in mind that sometimes IT staffing agencies might be sharing your resume with less technical hiring managers.  Try to write your bullets so they can be understood by a variety of readers.

 

ITJobSearchNinja
Are you a Coding Ninja? You may need to add a bit more info on your IT resume. Photo credit: OpenClipartVectors via Pixabay.

 

Will an Online Degree Help Your IT Job Search?

IT recruiters are sometimes asked by candidates if an online degree will increase their prospects for IT jobs. On one hand, online degrees used to have a certain stigma to hiring managers and IT staffing agencies. On the other, these programs are becoming more and more popular, rigorous, and respected by IT recruiting firms and hiring managers in the tech field.   So are they worth the money, time, and effort now?

If you’re considering an online degree, it may be far more useful in helping you land and be considered for more IT jobs now than 10 years ago.  You just have to be careful about how you choose your program.  Start by researching the reputation of the online degree program.  There are plenty of programs that are widely known by IT staffing firms and employers as reputable, strong programs.  There are also plenty of programs that are so worthless, IT recruiting companies would just tell you to take them off your resume.  Make sure you find out exactly where the program you’re thinking about stands before you invest and time, money, etc in it.

The second thing to consider is how much interaction with clients, end-users, managers, etc your ideal roles require.  When you’re getting a degree to increase your options for roles with a lot of communication, you probably want to avoid an online degree program.  Doing real classes that help you practice working with others will be far more useful to you.  (This will also be something you can bring up in interviews.  You can demonstrate that you’ve not only studied certain technologies or skills, but you’ve also gotten to hone valuable communication skills.)  For certain positions, IT staffing companies have the easiest time placing candidates who can boast both a strong arsenal of technical skills and communication skills.  Why not pick a degree program that helps you develop both?  When you’re not seeking roles that require a lot of communication and interaction with various people, an online degree may be just as valuable to your job search as a more traditional one.

 

OnlineDegreesITJobSearch
Thinking about an online degree? Make sure it’s a program IT recruiters and hiring managers will respect.