Any IT contractors looking for new IT jobs know that their LinkedIn profile is almost as important as resumes are. IT recruiting agencies and new potential employers alike are drawn to IT consultants with concise, effective LinkedIn profiles that clearly demonstrate their experience in the information technology industry. Here are some key words to scrub from your profile (and resumes) so technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies start calling you nonstop.
Buzzwords: People-pleaser, synergy, team player, go-getter, etc. Just hold back on these. They don’t actually do you any favors because they’ve been used so frequently that they’re pretty meaningless. It’s also far more effective to show you have these qualities through any achievements at work or recommendations you get from previous bosses, etc.
I, Me, My, She, He, and other pronouns. Generally, you don’t need to be speaking about yourself or others directly. Doing so can get awkward at best and look downright narcissistic in the worst case scenario. While it wasn’t always true, IT companies currently tend to really value hiring somebody with a great personality. Don’t risk making it look like you don’t have one by using pronouns in your LI profile.
Ninja and other ‘creative’ titles. While these might fit into your culture at work right now, they may turn off IT headhunters or potential new IT managers. Better to keep your profile pretty conventional—your skills and experience is what will really turn heads.
For IT contractors hunting for new IT jobs, sometimes it’s hard to think critically about the questions interviewers ask. IT recruiters and IT staffing companies can prepare IT consultants for the questions they’ll be asked. However, there are always some questions that seem to come out of the blue. Sometimes, these questions veer away from legal topics, like resumes, technical knowledge, etc, and into the illegal. IT Professionals can review the below list so they won’t be caught off guard when they’re asked about one of these off-limits topics.
Criminal history: In some states, while a background check is legal, asking about criminal history is not. Even if it is legal, this kind of question isn’t really appropriate for interviews.
Marital status: Again, marital status isn’t always illegal to ask about, but it’s pretty much always inappropriate. Employers may be trying to fish for a few pieces of information that just aren’t fair to judge you on as a potential employee.
Religion: Like marital status and criminal history, this isn’t always illegal. If you think you’re being asked the question out of discriminatory motives, this is important to note and probably discuss with your IT headhunters.
Age: Sometimes interviewers slip and try to ask about age. There are plenty of reasons why answering this question outright can be harmful to you as a potential employee. Check in your state’s laws to see if this question is illegal and consider how you’ll protect yourself if it is.
There are some fields, like information technology, where mistakes can make a big impact. When IT contractors make large mistakes with big consequences at their IT jobs, how should their managers respond? Here are some tips for both IT consultants and IT managers about how to handle big mistakes.
For the IT professionals who made the mistake: Start by taking action. Don’t hide the mistake, because it will make things far worse—both for your company and for you. IT recruiters and IT staffing firms will want to work with somebody who is honest with their bosses and coworkers. Hiding mistakes looks very dishonest. Secondly, make sure that in addition to fixing it, you pay attention to why the mistake happened in the first place. If you don’t know why the mistake happened, you can’t avoid it in the future. Lastly, make a plan for how you’ll ensure that the mistake is fixed and will not happen again. If you can handle it with grace and competence, you may even be able to bolster your reputation with IT headhunters.
For the managers dealing with the mistake: Start by removing any emotion from the situation. Investigate the mistake and seek employees’ honest responses to questions like ‘what happened?’ Accusations may seem like the best way to go, but if you approach employees with a more collaborative attitude, you’ll get more help solving the problem and more information about why the problem occurred. This leads to the second and most important point: don’t just solve the problem, figure out exactly why the mistake was made. You need to know if your employee needs more training, if there are other factors at play, or if the employee isn’t able to meet the job’s expectations. After the mistake is fixed, do some analysis and figure these things out. Then work to fix these issues so you never have to deal with the same large mistake again.
Most IT consultants have had to do phone screens or phone interviews at some point or another in their information technology careers. While IT contractors should always be able to count on their IT recruiters to help prepare them for phone interviews, there are a few things they’ll have to do on their own.
1. Schedule (or make sure your technical recruiters schedule) the interview for a good time. Make sure you’ll be able to get to a quiet place (with good cell reception) for the call and that you’ll have extra time in case it goes over. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll be interrupted, distracted, or rushed. Double confirm the time, phone numbers, and who will call who with your IT headhunters if they schedule the interview for you.
2. Be just as prepared for this interview as you might be for a face-to-face one. Research the company, look over the job description, and refresh yourself on all relevant technical knowledge you’ll need to know. If possible, have hard copies of relevant info, like your resumes and notes on relevant technologies that you can refer to if you get stuck. Phone interviews might seem like they’re going to be less rigorous, but being the prepared candidate will really set you apart.
3. Be a little more enthusiastic than you might be in person. You don’t have to go overboard, but keep in mind that the interviewer is only experiencing your voice. Make sure it conveys plenty of personality and is just as engaging as you’d be in person.
For seasoned IT contractors, the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ isn’t new territory in an IT job interview. While it may seem like a simple question with no wrong answers, IT consultants can definitely blow this question (and in turn their shot at the IT jobs they’re interviewing for!). What’s the correct way for IT professionals to respond to this question so they impress the interviewing managers, IT recruiters, and IT staffing firms they’re speaking to?
When faced with the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ your best place to start is with your research on the company. Start by reciting some of the awards, perks, and anything else the company might brag about. Next, consider what the company values and find ways to match up your strengths with these values. You may want to talk to your technical recruiters to get some ideas for this. Lastly, take the opportunity to mention any connections you may have at the company. If you know somebody who works there, name drop them and mention it if they said good things about working there. Having connections within the company, in addition to meeting its needs with your strengths and appreciating the benefits and achievements it tends to tout, will all create a great impression.
This spring’s recent college graduates in information technology are likely starting new IT jobs or just started them this summer. While IT contractors fresh from college may have resumes chock full of skills and experience using particular technologies, their skills as IT professionals may not be nearly as polished. Here are a few skills IT consultants should work on acquiring to excel at IT job interviews, in their first real jobs in the field, and to impress IT recruiters and IT staffing firms.
-Learn not to take things personally. Negative feedback about how you interviewed, your resume, or how you’re doing at work is all going to help you in the future. Try not to let it sting too much personally, because your feelings will get in the way of your ability to take that feedback and use it. You’ll also appear a lot less professional if you respond emotionally or defensively to negative feedback.
-Avoid looking entitled. Whether you’re old or young, this will rub people the wrong way. Having a humble, willing approach at work will make all the difference. Managers and coworkers want to work with people who are easy to get along with and don’t mind pitching in to help the team. Be that person and you’ll quickly gain a strong reputation in your field and ace your IT job interviews.
-Don’t give up easily. If you have a problem, work hard to solve it yourself. The best employees are the ones who don’t bother their bosses or coworkers over anything but the most imperative issues. Needing to have your hand held often won’t make you look good in the future—at your first job or others!
In a field like information technology, there’s no room for useless IT contractors in a company. Business is too fast and demanding for a company to continue to pay IT consultants who aren’t contributing to the bottom line and doing their IT jobs well. How do you know if you’re one of those IT professionals who’s just not cutting it at work? Here are a few signs: 1. You’re not sure if you’re meeting expectations. Sure, your resumes match up perfectly to the job description and your IT recruiters said you’d be the best candidate for the job. But you can’t tell how well you’re actually performing. Don’t wait to find out. Talk to your IT recruiters who’ve placed you and your managers if you can. Get feedback on how you’re doing and what you could be doing better. 2. You don’t feel confident about the work you’re doing. If you’re regularly asked to do tasks that you just don’t have the background knowledge to do (or at least figure out how to do), you may not be a good fit for this job. 3. You don’t like what you’re doing—and it shows. Even the most capable employees can be fired by their employers for having a poor attitude. Make sure you’re avoiding this easy problem.
A staggering percentage of American workers currently hate their jobs. While it’s unknown what percentage of them are IT professionals, it’s safe to say that there are probably quite a few IT consultants who do hate their IT jobs. When it’s time to look for a new job, IT contractors will really benefit from making sure they prioritize the right qualities in their search. Here are the factors that will make the most difference in how much you’ll appreciate your job.
-Does the job feel significant? It doesn’t matter who it’s significant to or on what scale, but if you feel like your job is impactful to people, you’ll feel good about it. Maybe as a desk support technician your work is important to the people you help all day. Maybe as a CTO at a big company, your work is imperative to people all throughout the company. Either way, it will mean you’re that much more likely to report back to your IT recruiters that you love your job.
-Did your IT headhunters place you with manager and coworkers you like and respect? Especially in information technology, when things are so often team-oriented, it’s imperative to like the people who you work with and for. If you don’t, you will probably call your technical recruiters seeking a new job soon.
-Lastly, does the job challenge you in a way that you can still succeed? If you’re challenged in a way that’s impossible, that will simply feel stressful and unmanageable. If your job doesn’t challenge you at all, you’ll become bored and tired of your job quickly. However, if you are learning new things often and constantly solving problems that interest you, you’ll enjoy your work. This might mean you should make sure you work with particular technologies or with a certain pace of work. Figure out if job descriptions are describing a job that you can succeed at, but is not too boring, and you’ll be ensuring that you really enjoy it for a long time to come.
Ever been in interviews for IT jobs and been asked about your hobbies? Most IT contractors have probably had to answer this question at least once in their careers. Maybe they even have it listed on their resumes. It seems like a softball, an easy question meant to put IT consultants at ease before having to answer the hard questions. But IT professionals can use their hobbies as one more way to show IT recruiters, IT staffing firms, and hiring managers how perfect they are for jobs. How?
Pay attention to a few things when you’re applying to a job. Try to figure out what the corporate culture is like at the company or organization the job is at. Also try to get a better idea of what kind of personal qualities would really help in the job functions (like being great at teamwork, for instance). Once you get a clear picture of these things, run through your hobbies in your mind. Do any of them give you qualities that would be an asset here?
Here are a few examples. For a team lead position, you may want to highlight an activity that very obviously helps you develop leadership skills (like being a team captain for a recreational sports team). Another example: perhaps you do something in your spare time that requires a lot of discipline. Don’t be afraid to mention that (although try not to spend more than a few moments mentioning it in passing!) when interviewing for a job that requires you to work independently and reach goals.
Your hobbies cannot miraculously make up for any professional or experiential deficiencies. They can add a few extra points in your favor if you find the right way to talk about them, though!
Recent studies seem to show that IT professionals lie far more often on their resumes than their counterparts in industries outside information technology. While this may seem like an extreme conclusion to come to, it’s actually not hard to find instances in which IT recruiters spot inconsistencies in their IT consultants’ resumes. Sometimes it’s a big lie, but often these lies are really just IT contractors seeking to impress IT headhunters or land IT jobs they are almost (but not quite!) qualified for.
What are some of these lies that IT staffing firms have found on resumes? They include things that seem harmless like embellished skills and job responsibilities. These lies are definitely not helping anybody, though—least of all, the job seeker. Landing a job you’re not actually able to do as well as you say you can is no picnic. Not only can it be stressful and unpleasant, you may wind up being fired from it and hurting your career overall. So think twice about lying on your resume—for your own good!