How to land that perfect IT job
Landing the perfect IT job is impossible.
Says who? Consider these handy tips below to ensure you put your best foot forward during your tech job search.
Apply to your level
You have to figure what type of role you want – read here about crafting your work pitch.
But more importantly, are you qualified for the job? If you’ve been applying for numerous positions with no response, it’s time to critically examine your qualifications and experience.
Do you have the basic qualifications in Networking but lack the industrial certification? You’ll need the CCNA certificate, so perhaps it’s time you go about looking into that.
Research IT recruitment agencies
There are some decent IT recruitment agencies out there so take a shop around. Look at their website for recent IT roles and see what’s on offer. Also, view the list of clients they’re affiliated with, and see if they can give you more opportunity at interviewing for your dream IT company.
How do they rate on social media? Do they offer reliable candidate testimonials? Also, double-check that they’re affiliated with the National Recruitment Federation (NRF).
CV and cover letter
If you’ve found a decent recruitment agency website that has a few potential role advertisements, time to look at important weapons in your artillery: the CV and cover letter.
- Personalise your cover letter to each IT application. Do NOT write one generic cover note and press ‘send to all’. First impressions are crucial and lack of attention to detail sends the wrong message. Examine the role spec and in two to three paragraphs, include examples of projects and work responsibilities that match the job requirements. This showcases your work skill-set; way more important than just listing technologies. Anyone can do that. Show ownership of work and examples of those technologies.
- A clean and concise CV layout should be no longer than two pages. Recruiters will be looking at multiple versions of you. Your mission is to make the process easy for them. Place the most relevant information pertaining to the role description at the top. Even if a prior role ticks the boxes to the role spec, a brief summary before your most recent position is important.
- Wipe your CV and cover letter of cliché and buzz words such as ‘team player’, ‘hard-working’, ‘unique’ and ‘good fit’. Show rather than tell as eloquently as possible, and remember to keep it short and sweet.
- Include keywords. Keywords, unlike buzz words, are words that will jump up from the page as the recruiter scans your application. Keywords can be found on the role advertisement and look closely at requirements. Examine what type of language they’ve used and apply this to your cover letter.
- Contact two work references and let them know to expect a phone call from prospective employers so they have time to prepare a personalised reference.
- Remember to give an available time to take a call for your recruiter on the bottom of your cover note.
Wow your recruiter
Employers will want to know as much as possible before the interview, so what you can’t fit in your CV, you tell the recruiter when they call.
Strong, robust information is what IT recruiters are on the look-out for. Be forthcoming with the recruiter; building a relationship with them is important.
And don’t hold back on information. Chances are if you’re not right for this role, you’ll be right for something else. So be as honest as possible.
If a recruiter asks you to alter your CV or provide more details, they’re doing it because they know what prospective employers look for in a candidate.
To really impress the recruiter and your prospective company, show interest outside of work in your chosen field. Be able to demonstrate this through hobbies and self-interest. For example, building your own home lab or following publications in your field. Show activity, join groups on LinkedIn or commit your code to the likes of GitHub or Stack Overflow. That’s going the extra mile, which will help you stand out from the pack.
- Dress your best – This isn’t cutting-edge style advice but it’s important to put your best foot forward. Navy, black and grey suit pants or skirt matched with shirt or blouse is best. Neutral colours such as grey, royal blue and white work well. Wearing a suit jacket and tie doesn’t hurt but avoid patterns in general. And stay away from that brash red lipstick. Know your office environment and dress accordingly.
- Body language – The subtle undertones of body language perform the crucial tasking of making a lasting impression. Make sure to smile and hold good eye-contact. Open body language showcases you as an enthusiastic candidate. Sit up straight, avoid folding your arms and keep those hands away from your face. Also, there’s just something about a firm hand-shake upon meeting the interviewer that really makes a person stand out.
- STAR – You’re a star and now it’s time to show exactly how with: Situation, Task, Action and Result. Competency-based screening is part and parcel of the interviewing process nowadays. In IT specifically, your potential employer will put your technical problem-solving to the test. Prepare to showcase specific work examples. Emphasis on specific; include stats and numbers, don’t be vague.
- Add value to the role – They know you’re able to do the job on paper, you’ve gotten this far. The face-to-face interview is the arena to show your professional worth – how you will add value to the role. Get creative – don’t rattle off the usual ‘team-player’ and ‘people’s person’ they’ve already assessed you on this. What’s a quirky quality of yours? How did you stand out in your previous role? What is your version of going above and beyond the call of duty?
Have you any kernels of advice on searching for the perfect IT job search? Do you hold some insider tips for IT hopefuls? Tell us about it in the comments below or get in contact with the team at itContracting.