Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Write Thank You Notes that Get IT Jobs

All IT recruiters and IT staffing firms are adamant that IT contractors write thank you notes to interviewers and IT managers.  However, a shocking number of IT consultants don’t do it.  While it’s hard to say why some IT professionals would choose not to use this huge advantage in their search for IT jobs, but one reason may be that they’re unsure how to write effective thank you notes.  Here are some tips that will transform your thank you notes.

1. Use them to head off any concerns: If you detected any concerns from your interviewer(s) you can use your thank you note as a way to address them.  Avoid coming off as defensive, but simply acknowledging the concern and giving a response to it will go a long way.

2. Reiterate why you’re a great fit: You can give your interviewer a strong impression of why you’d be a great candidate in your thank you note.  Explicitly list relevant skills experience, and past achievements. Drive home your point one more time, but this time, do it in writing!

3. Share resources: If you spoke about an article, a business solution, etc, use your thank you note to share it.  This is a moment to show off your resourcefulness, your research skills, and thoroughness.


How IT Professionals Can Make Their Commutes Productive

Having a long commute on top of their IT jobs can really start to drag down IT professionals.  However, there are a few ways IT contractors, IT managers, and IT recruiters stuck on the bus or train can make the most of this time.  Using some of these techniques in really effective ways could even result in cutting time in the office.  Read on for ways IT consultants can be more productive during their commutes.

  1. Make your to-do list for the day as you ride into the office in the morning.  Creating this list will give you purpose and jump-start your ‘work’ mindset.  It will also make you more efficient all day long.
  2. Use the bus or train ride to catch up on emails.  Don’t waste time in the office when you could be interacting with people face-to-face.  Get emails out of the way before you get there.
  3. Start to set aside tasks you can do on your commute during the day.  Be honest about this and make sure you can absolutely do the task well, no matter what’s going on around you.  This is key to making good use of your time!


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Recent Study Proves IT is the Best Field to Work In

University of California, San Diego’s recent release of their fifth annual list of “Hot Careers for College Graduates” underscores information technology’s consistent wealth of IT jobs for IT contractors and IT managers.  While other fields are very slowly recovering from the recession, IT professionals have enjoyed robust economic opportunity—and this trend seems likely to continue. IT consultants can look forward to growth in the IT industry for at least the next 6 years, according to the study.  The field also boasts higher salaries and better workplace environments. Combined with the fact that the study is done by an objective, trustworthy source, the perks of IT should have recent grads running to IT recruiters and IT staffing firms.



Are You a Trustworthy IT Professional?

In a field like information technology, where teamwork is often so imperative, trust becomes necessary between IT professionals and their coworkers and IT managers.  IT recruiters can’t help IT consultants get IT jobs when they merely have perfect resumes.  They must be the kind of employees and coworkers that everyone can really trust will get the job done and help to keep the company’s culture positive.  So how can IT contractors make sure they’re trustworthy?  By honestly evaluating themselves in these categories, as suggested by Dr. Paul White:

  1. Competence: Can you perform your responsibilities without more than the occasional issue?  Do you fulfill your role on your team to meet expectations? This is the more obvious part of what makes a good employee.
  2. Character: Are you not only good at your job, but also a good person to work with?  If you’re reliable, honest, and pleasant to deal with, this makes you much more trustworthy.
  3. Consistency: Do you perform at a high level all the time?  It’s hard to trust an employee or coworker who doesn’t always meet expectations.  If your competence isn’t consistent, it may well not even exist.


Why Starbucks’ Tuition Program is Important to IT

Though they’re by no means the first company to do it, Starbucks has brought a lot of attention to the trend of companies paying for their employees’ college tuition.  Programs like this bring a lot of attention to some hot-button issues, like the cost of college and the worth of a college degree, as well as the standards employers are held to in the treatment of their employees.

However, the most fascinating part of these stories about Starbucks are how they relate to the IT industry. Since information technology companies already feel the pain to offer perks that will attract great IT professionals, the trend is in full force in the industry.  IT contractors in IT jobs in notable companies like Intel or Apple.  This perk is especially relevant for IT consultants, too.  Since many IT managers are looking for resumes with specialized skillsets, having a BA or BS isn’t always a prerequisite.  This means that a significant portion of IT professionals don’t have a college degree yet, simply because they haven’t need it thus far.  Tuition programs are also particularly relevant to many IT professionals because they’re recent immigrants.  Getting a degree in the US adds a great deal of value to their resumes.  For these reasons and more, tuition programs are really impactful in the IT world.


Words to Never Say at Your IT Job

IT professionals, especially ones that deal directly with clients, need to maintain an air of competence at all times in their IT jobs.  Because computers, phones, and the internet have become so imperative to most companies’ operations, information technology requires highly competent individuals.  There are plenty of ways to do this, but one of the best is for IT contractors to cleanse their vocabulary of some particular words when speaking to IT managers, IT recruiters, their IT consultants coworkers, and clients.  These words will all undercut your confidence and the confidence of the people you’re speaking in you.

  1. Partial time words like ‘usually’ or ‘often’: These words leave room for sometimes.  As in, sometimes I’m wrong.  Don’t leave that room if you can help it, because it’s better to leave the person you’re speaking to with the impression that you’re ‘always’ correct.
  2. Negative emotional words like ‘feel,’ or ‘concerned’ or ‘worried.’  At work, it’s better to leave obviously emotional words or statements to the side.  They give people a negative impression of your competence and sometimes they even make them uncomfortable.  Better to just state what’s going on, just the facts.  Your emotional reactions shouldn’t be part of the conversation.
  3. Noncommital words like ‘might,’ ‘likely,’ or ‘probably.’  There are times when these words have to be used, but as a rule, just don’t do it.  The employee everyone loves to work with and for is the one who has all the answers and can give them quickly and confidently.  When you add in these words, you waste time and look less than sure.  Leave them out unless you absolutely have to use them.


Should All IT Meetings Be ‘Stand Up Meetings’?

Recent studies show that IT professionals could benefit from making all their meetings stand up meetings—literally.  Recent studies show that when employees hold meetings while standing (versus sitting) they are far more creative and mentally engaged.  Everyone in the information technology industry, from IT recruiters, to IT contractors, to IT managers, could benefit from applying this information to their IT jobs.

Beyond simply applying this information to meetings, it’s worth noting that IT contractors and IT headhunters may benefit any time they stand at work.  Particularly in projects that require a great deal of creativity, it’s worth considering standing for at least part of the work you’ll be doing.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new idea pop out of nowhere!


Does Being Late Always Hurt Your IT Career?

For things like interviews, all IT recruiters require their IT contractors to be on time– or preferably, early.  But when it comes to day-to-day events or meetings, can IT professionals be late without hurting their reputations or losing their IT jobs?  The answer seems to be less than straightforward.

While no IT recruiting agencies would recommend that IT consultants be late on a regular basis, or really ever, it seems to work out alright for some IT managers.  Yahoo star Marissa Mayer is said to be constantly late for meetings.  Most Google execs are also often late to meetings, according to urban legend.  So perhaps the lesson here is that lateness is ok– if you’re a superstar.  Then again, maybe not!



Things You Should Never Say at Your IT Job

IT professionals are highly sought after in an information technology market with too few IT contractors and too many IT jobs.  However, this doesn’t make them infallible.  IT consultants still need to maintain high standards of excellence on the job.  IT recruiters and IT staffing firms can only place IT professionals who really wow their IT managers consistently.  To make sure you wow your manager start by avoiding saying these 3 phrases.

  1. That’s not part of my job description:  While some IT jobs will have very detailed job descriptions, it’s not acceptable to follow them to the letter.  The best IT professional is the one who is a true team player.  Doing your job description well is step one.  Stepping up and doing whatever else will help your team is also imperative.
  2. I haven’t gotten to that yet:  This, or any indication that you haven’t had time to get to something, is a big no-no.  You want to give the impression that you’re able to manage your time well and hit all your goals.  If you’re having trouble doing so, you may be able to seek out some help prioritizing.  However, it’s better if you couch things in those terms, rather than just looking like you’re overwhelmed and unorganized!
  3. So-and-So didn’t get that to me:  This, or any indication that it’s somebody else’s fault that something hasn’t been handled correctly should be avoided at all costs.  Being a team player, especially in IT, is crucial.  When you blame others, you make yourself look irresponsible and difficult to work with.


Are Vacations Becoming Extinct in IT?

As vacation season approaches, more IT professionals than any year since the recession started will be going on vacation.  This is a great sign, but there’s a slightly more unfortunate trend going on, as well.  The IT recruiters and IT contractors who are all taking these vacations will still be in touch with their IT managers or doing remote work for their IT jobs.  Why?

Though smartphones, wifi, and featherlight laptops and tablets aren’t new, they’re becoming more and more widespread in all fields (and of course especially information technology).  Employers have slowly begun to expect workers who will respond on a 24/7 basis, or at least near it.  There are plenty of benefits and cons to this change in the workforce, but the way employees spend their vacations is probably the most remarkable.  Only time will tell whether employees will continue to accept this kind of 24/7 standard of availability, or vacations will become extinct all together.