Monthly Archives: January 2015

What to Cut from your IT Resume

If your resume hasn’t been attracting much attention from IT recruiting companies and IT recruiters, you may want to consider shortening it.  Sometimes, if your resume is too long, it obscures all the important experience and skills you have. Technical recruiters literally get lost in the maze of your resume– and usually IT recruiting firms will move on quickly if they can’t find what they want in a resume.  How can you make it easier for IT staffing agencies to see how great a candidate you are?  Here are two tips that are guaranteed to make your resume much easier for IT recruiting companies to navigate—and love.

Firstly, drop the objective and hobbies section.  Both of these sections focus on you and what you want.  While ideally a manager cares about this, they care much more about what the company needs.  IT staffing companies want to send hiring mangers resumes that focus more on what you can bring to a potential employer.  Take out everything else.  This means your objective and your hobbies.  You can make sure the position is what you want if or when you get to the interview stage.

Secondly, take out any extra awards or extracurricular activities from your school days that aren’t obviously relevant to the jobs you’re applying for.  If you’re listing activities or awards from school at all and you graduated more than a few years ago, consider removing these things altogether.  It’s more likely a hiring manager will be irritated you wasted her time making her read about your merit scholarship than it is that she’ll be impressed.  This is especially true if you graduated a few years ago.  Save the space on your resume for achievements at your past or present jobs.

Why You Should Cut the Flashy Things From Your IT Resume

If you’re posting your resume on boards like Monster, it’s easy to add flashy things to your resume like a special format or your photo. It might even seem like a way to attract IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies.  But the truth is, even if you’re a graphic designer, using flashy features on your resume isn’t going to appeal to IT recruiting companies and technical recruiters.  Why?

IT staffing companies and hiring managers want resumes with the right skills and experience.  When you spend more time creating a snazzy format or adding in your photo, you’re potentially taking way from your time to really craft and polish the content of your resume.  The worst case scenario is that even if you do take time to perfect and tweak the content of your resume and add flashy features, IT staffing companies might not know it.  They may skip right over your resume because often these kinds of gimmicks are used to hide poor experience and skills.  You may be running the risk of IT recruiting firms assume that your resume is actually worse because you’ve added a photo or unconventional format.  So don’t take the risk: save the time you would have spent picking and cropping a photo or creating a bright color scheme.  Use that time instead to focus on really editing your resume.  This is what will get you your dream IT jobs.

Do you Need IT Certifications to Land a Job?

If you’re currently searching for IT jobs, you may be wondering if IT recruiters, IT staffing companies, and hiring managers want you to have IT certifications.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct yes or no answer to this question.  You may not necessarily impress technical recruiters or IT recruiting firms if you have some IT certifications, while others could be a big factor in landing a job.  It’s easy to get confused with the 1900 plus certifications out there, so here are some tips for obtaining the right certifications to get IT recruiting companies and hiring managers to notice you.

Firstly, start by looking at job descriptions for jobs you’d like to hold one day.  Some of them will list the kinds of certifications they require or prefer.  Take note of them and how often they’re required or preferred.

Secondly, head over to LinkedIn and check out some groups that might be specifically catered to the jobs you’d like to hold one day.  Ask people about the certifications they have—or have chosen not to get.  Both are important to know.  If you don’t want to reach out to people directly, consider just checking out people’s profiles or the group discussions.  Both will probably show you a little bit about what certifications are useful and which ones are not.

Lastly, feel free to compare these notes with your IT staffing agencies.  Recruiters are likely to be happy to share their experience and what they’ve seen.  They can confirm if they’ve seen some of the same trends you think you’ve noticed in certifications.  It’s also a great idea to start a relationship with some IT staffing firms now, even if you’re not ready to search yet.  They’ll remember you when you are.

Finish Your IT Job Interviews Like a Pro

After preparing with your IT recruiters for IT job interviews, you’ll need to do some preparation on your own. Your best bet is not to just prepare to answer the questions your IT staffing companies tell you to expect.  You should also plan to be able to ask some questions of your own at the end of interview.  The answers to these questions can be important for you, of course.  But potentially more importantly, your technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies will be impressed if you can ask questions that leave a great lasting impression on the interviewers.  How do you ask a question that will land you the respect of your IT recruiting firms and possibly the IT jobs you’re interviewing for?  Here are some tips:

  1. Start your question by stating something that shows off your expertise in the field.  This will only work if you truly know of information that will impress your interviewers. For instance, you could say something along the lines of, ‘Since we’re seeing a trend in X, then how will it affect this role?’ You might try asking your IT recruiting companies if they think your question will be a good one to ask if you’re not sure.
  2. Use your question to show that you’ve done research on the company.  The trick is not to make the question feel like you already know the answer—or worse, don’t care about it.  Your interviewers will feel like you’re wasting time if your question feels like a hollow attempt to show off.  And your IT staffing firms won’t be too pleased with you either.
  3. Use your question to show that you’re excited about the job.  Again, the trick is to make sure your interviewers do feel like you’re interested in the answer.  Showing enthusiasm is important and so is asking good question that don’t seem like a waste of the interviewer’s time.

How to Be Likeable in IT Job Interviews

If you’re interviewing for IT jobs, you may be preparing for them by checking with your IT recruiting firms on what technologies to brush up on, what questions to prepare for, etc.  You may be talking to your technical recruiters about standard things like where the interview will be and at what time.  These things are important, but IT staffing agencies have found that it’s often equally important that you come across as likeable in an interview.  It’s hard to say exactly what makes somebody likeable, but here are two tips IT staffing companies would suggest you use that may help.

Be a little humble.  It’s possible to retain a confident, competent air but still show a healthy amount of humility.  The best team members, the ones IT staffing firms place over and over again, are open to hearing new information and new ways of doing things. They are far from arrogant, which makes them highly responsive to feedback, training, and acclimating to new workplaces and managers. Show off a little humility in your interview—it might just land you the job.

But don’t ‘humblebrag.’  A humblebrag is exactly what it sounds like: Bragging wrapped in an appearance of humility.  You’ve probably heard a few humblebrags before and disliked it yourself.  You’ll need to sell yourself in an interview, but it will make you come across as disingenuous and out of touch if you aren’t just direct about it.  IT recruiting agencies want you to be open and honest in your interviews.  If you’re good at something, say this directly.  It will get the point across better and will make you seem like the kind of person who is confident and socially graceful.  Both are imperative qualities in good hires.

How to Polish Your IT Resume: Part 2

Continuing the theme from our previous blog post, today we’ll continue to look at ways you can update your resume so you wow your IT recruiters, IT staffing firms, and hiring managers.  Last time we explored using more powerful words, but this time we’ll talk about why writing your resume with a different perspective will make it more attractive to technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies.

Often, a resume is written with the perspective of the person seeking IT jobs.  The objective is about what the job seeker wants. The bullets under each job are about the daily to-do lists the job seeker operated under.  While this all seems pretty natural, it’s not the best way to really grab the attention of hiring managers and IT recruiting agencies.  The best strategy is to write the resume from their perspective. Take out the objective—it’s hard to write about anything but what you as a job seeker wants.  This isn’t a hiring manager’s first concern—their first concern is what they want.  To really address what a hiring manager and IT recruiting firms are seeking, write out what you achieved under each job.  Give the most concrete results you can—even if you can give actual numbers like ‘Increased revenue by 10%.’  Talk about what your employer gained during your time there.  This makes it easier for IT staffing companies and interviewers to picture you in a potential job.  They can literally see you as a value-add for the hiring company.


How to Polish Your IT Resume: Part 1

If you’re searching for new IT jobs this year, January is a great time to start.  You may already have relationships with IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, but you should consider overhauling your resume.  Whether you’ve been at a new position, or it’s just been a while since IT recruiting companies have submitted your resume to potential employers, a sparkling new resume will get you far and impress your technical recruiters.  Over the next few blog posts, we’ll examine a few key ways you can update your resume and improve upon it so you wow IT staffing agencies and hiring managers alike.  Today, we’ll focus on using powerful words.

When you create your resume, you do yourself a disservice to use words that are too generic. Firstly, this means that you should stay away from buzzwords.  Nobody thinks much of it if your resume states that you’re a ‘team player’ because pretty much everybody says they are.  Ditto saying that you’re detail-oriented or a hard worker.  Focus on articulating the skills and experience you bring to the table instead of these generic qualities.

Secondly, to impress IT recruiting agencies and potential employers alike, make sure your bullets under each job tend to start with verbs.  The best statements give accomplishments.  Employers will be excited to interview you if you can document exactly what you’ve done for your previous employers.  They’ll be able to see the value you could add to their organization.

2 Questions to Ask in IT Job Interviews

IT recruiters and IT staffing firms can help you prepare to answer questions in IT jobs interviews, but a good candidate comes to any interview armed with their own questions to ask.  Technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies love working with candidates who can ask insightful questions because it really wows hiring managers.  Here are two questions that will not only help you ascertain if you want the job, but also impress your interviewer and IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting firms.

How would you evaluate somebody’s performance in this role?  This question shows that you’re thinking about how to succeed in the role.  Managers want somebody like this—somebody who asks the right questions so they can nearly manage themselves.  If you are aware of your own goals and hold yourself accountable for them, you make your manager’s job easy.  Asking this question makes you a very attractive candidate indeed and make you more in demand with IT staffing companies.

What do you really value in your employees? Asking this question provides a similar impression, but on a more macro level.  Instead of looking for information about how to be successful in this particular role, you’re asking about how to contribute well to the company and team in a more general way.  Pay attention to response here, because it’s important that you feel like you can truly identify with their response.  For instance, if they’re looking for long hours and you aren’t, this is a red flag.


NEVER say this in an IT Job Interview, Part Two

There are plenty of ways you can prepare for job interviews – both with your IT staffing companies and IT recruiters and on your own.  But even with the best preparations and tips from IT recruiting agencies, there are some ways you could still shoot yourself in the foot.  If you’re at interviews for your dream IT jobs, then make sure you never, ever, under any circumstances say you don’t think you’re completely qualified and prepared for the job.

Why is this a mistake?  Technical recruiters certainly want you to be honest about your abilities and experience, but this isn’t really about that.  Firstly, if you don’t think you are able to do a job, then you shouldn’t let IT recruiting firms submit you for it—it’s wasting your time and theirs.  However, if this is a case of a lack of confidence, or perhaps you need to learn a new technology, then it’s a different situation.  If you and your IT staffing agencies think you could succeed in a job, but you’re just unused to selling yourself, then it’s time to practice that.  Hiring managers don’t want to take a risk in who they hire, so confidence is key.  If you need to learn a new technology, you need to detail the steps you can (or perhaps already are).  The bottom line is to make sure you let the hiring manager know that you can see yourself as a rock star in the position—and nothing less.  You’ll sink yourself if you don’t.


NEVER say this in IT Job Interviews

If you prepare for IT jobs with your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, you’re likely to be ready to answer questions about technologies, your strengths as an employee, and to be able to demonstrate you fit well into the corporate culture.  But your technical recruiters and IT staffing companies may not even think to tell you this: Never ever say that a job is not your first choice.

Why is this important?  IT recruiting companies would advise that while honesty is important, it’s more important to let the hiring managers who interview you know that you’re interested in a job.  If you say anything that indicates that a job is your second choice, or perhaps that you’re equally interested in another position, they have room to doubt your interest.  IT recruiting agencies would never want you to lie, of course and you shouldn’t push hard for a job that you wouldn’t want at all.  It’s important to think about the fact that the few words you say will make a big impact on your interviewer.  If some of those words indicate that you might turn down a job offer, be give anything less than your best in a job, then you’ve hurt your chances.