Information technology work is often project-based and IT contractors usually have to have their resumes polished and ready to present to IT recruiters and IT staffing companies. Most IT consultants are well-versed in what makes a great resume—or if they aren’t, technical recruiters usually set them straight pretty quickly. However, there are some mistakes that people always seem to make in creating their resumes—and they’re not inconsequential. Avoid these mistakes at all costs, because they’ll sink your chances of getting IT jobs!
Don’t use gimmicky formats. It may seem like a great way to make your resume stand out, but the truth is that IT managers want to see pretty conventionally-formatted, clean, concise resumes. If you are the right person for the job, you’ll stand out. Don’t let a weird format throw off your potential employer and distract them from all your great qualities and experience.
Don’t give away confidential information, including your references. If your resume is the first impression a manager or IT headhunter has of you, don’t let it suggest you’re disloyal or untrustworthy. Putting confidential information on your resume, including the contact info for your references, demonstrates that you’re not willing to or capable of keeping sensitive information to yourself. Nobody wants to hire that person, so make sure that’s not who your resume suggests you are!
The information technology industry in the US has had a dearth of talent for a long time. The story of too many IT jobs and not enough IT consultants to fill them is a familiar one to most companies, IT recruiters, and IT staffing firms in the US. Some companies are working on new solutions to deal with this problem and to ensure more IT contractors in the future.
Though it’s a long-term investment, some companies are working with educational institutions to sponsor programs that will help graduate young professionals with resumes ready for the IT world. There are still plenty of sticky issues, like making sure these programs are not only good for the companies, but good for the students. However, these programs are a good start to dealing with a big problem. As time goes on, technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies will only have more jobs to fill. If schools become one more ally in the work of expanding our IT workforce, all the better!
While the information technology field has still certainly kept afloat in the past recessions, it looks like things are about to get even better for IT consultants, IT recruiters, and IT managers. Recent projections show a probably uptick in hiring IT contractors for this quarter. What should IT professionals do with this information? Act on it!
If you’re looking for new IT jobs, or have even vaguely considered the possibility, now is the time to make yourself available to technical recruiters and IT staffing firms. Polish up your resumes and contact your favorite IT headhunters today. Even if hiring takes a week or month to actually pick up, you’ll be ready when it does.
The question of how long resumes should be has been debated by IT recruiters, IT contractors, and IT staffing firms for a long time. While it’s unlikely there will ever be one answer for every in the information technology field, Google has recently given an interesting answer to the debate. IT consultants and technical recruiters should obviously take many factors into consideration when polishing resumes, but here’s the excellent advice Google has given on resume length.
Resumes don’t necessarily have to be confined to one page, but they shouldn’t be novels, either. The more concise a resume, the better a consultant looks. A resume that is well-edited reflects well on an employee. It doesn’t hurt to leave out details on a resume, as these can be filled in during interviews. So take the time to edit and remove all the details you could fill in later in the hiring process—it may be key to getting you your dream IT jobs.
IT consultants, whether working on their own or with IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, must all rely quite a bit on their resumes as they search for IT jobs. Beyond job interviews and good IT recruiters, IT contractors should consider their resumes to be the most important asset they have in their job search. Here are 2 mistakes that will sink even the best resume to the bottom of the pile:
Typos. Depending on the company, typos can be a huge deal. Google, for instance, always tosses any resume with typos in it. While typos on a resume could be a big deal for any profession, in information technology, attention to detail can be crucial. Typos on your resume make it pretty easy for potential managers to question how detail-oriented you really are.
Sharing confidential information. If your resume is the place to prove your value as an employee, it’s certainly important to prove that you are trustworthy. The worst way to do that is to include confidential information about an employer on your resume. Just don’t do it. Additionally, avoid giving contact information for your references. While it’s not the worst mistake you could make, giving out all their contact information on your resume could and probably will be considered a breach of your references’ trust. You’re revealing all their confidential contact information on something you’ll be sending out to a lot of people. Save references’ information for later in the job process—they’ll thank you and it may just help save your chances of getting the job!
IT contractors may encounter some tough questions in interviews for IT jobs. One of the toughest questions IT consultants may have to answer isn’t about their resumes and isn’t one that IT recruiters or IT staffing firms are likely to prepare them for. It is (or is some form of) ‘What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?’
While IT staffing agencies and technical recruiters can remind you to study up on relevant technologies or to practice basic interview questions, it’s up to you to practice a good response to questions about your long term goals. The key to answering this question well is making sure the job you’re interviewing for is a part of it, but not just a stepping stone. Giving the impression that you’ll be in and out of the company quickly would be a bad way to respond to a question like this. Practice answering this question with your IT recruiting companies and IT headhunters or perhaps just with a trusted, knowledgeable friend or family member. If you have a basic answer practiced, you’ll be ready to answer any iteration of this question well.
Most IT consultants hunting for new IT jobs know a lot about how to polish resumes and ace interviews. However, it’s almost as important for IT contractors to do something they rarely do: write excellent thank you notes after interviews. Here are some pointers that will help you write thank you notes that wow IT recruiters, IT staffing firms, and hiring managers.
Write a timely thank you note, but take your time writing it. Whether you send the thank you note yourself, or your technical recruiters or IT recruiting agencies send them for you, make sure the note is free of errors and thoughtful. It will make a far worse impression to just dash a note off for the sake of doing so—no matter how good the interview may have gone.
Don’t cross any boundaries. Being overly friendly or familiar in your note will make the hiring managers uncomfortable and your IT staffing agencies upset with you. Remember to remain professional in the note.
Make sure the note highlights not only why you’d be a great candidate, but also shows that you paid attention and learned more about the company. Making the note all about your own candidacy will make you look like less than a team player.
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.
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.