10 Steps to Technology Employment
There are many elements that can cause one person to stand out over another person in the job search process. Let’s examine 10 areas that when focused on, can cause one technology professional to stand out from another in a large crowd of job seekers.
- Build Specialty Recruiter Relationships – The best time to look for a job is when you have a job. The best time to build a relationship with a recruiter is before you need the recruiter’s help. You build relationships with doctors and dentists before you need them in an emergency. Don’t wait for an employment emergency before locating and getting to know recruiters who specialize in placing professionals who possess your skills. In fact, knowing the right recruiter or recruiters when you’re gainfully employed could position you to hear about stellar career building job opportunities when you’re employed and have the luxury of considering a career move rather than a job change.
- Resume – Your resume is the document you should invest in to make sure it makes you stand out. For nearly 20 years, I’ve been reading technology resumes. First it was general IT resumes and more recently Information Security, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity focused resumes. A busy executive who is the recipient of your resume when you’re in job search mode very likely does not have time to actually read your resume. Can your resume be scanned quickly? When scanned quickly, will the reader be able to ascertain who you are, what you’ve done well and how you’ve added value to your prior employers?
- Verbal and Written Correspondence – Do you know that every email you send and every voice mail you leave is giving your audience an impression of who you are, how well you write and the overall quality of your work. This impression can form long before your resume is ever considered. In a cover letter, whether it be in the body of an email or a letter that accompanies your resume, be sure your cover letter is written in bit sized pieces and that it is well-written enough to catch the reader’s attention. By all means, learn how to use spell and grammar check in your word processing software.
- Personal Brand / Know Yourself – It is critically important to show up for an interview knowing who you are, knowing what you’re passionate about doing and knowing what value you’ve created for past employers. Yes, there are many people interested in the job you’re interested in pursuing and you might think you can’t be choosy. Land a job that you can’t be passionate about showing up for every day and you’ll be looking for a new job in the not-too-distant-future. Land a job that energizes you because it aligns well with your passion and your odds of being employed for a longer period of time increase dramatically.
- Know How To Present Yourself – Today, as opposed to two decades ago, it is very easy to do research on most companies before you arrive for an interview. For smaller privately held companies, you won’t find their financial figures anywhere on-line but you’ll be able to learn about the company by way of their website, press releases, articles and the by the industry company they keep. Don’t arrive empty handed. More important than knowing everything there is to know about a company is your ability to articulate who you are, what you do and why you’re interviewing. Know what it is that you want in a new job. Be able to articulate how your past accomplishments align well with the needs of your prospective new employer. Ask questions that are both business and technology focused. Employers need business professionals who understand technology more often than they need technologists who only understand technology. Show your business savvy by asking strong questions.
- Business and Social Networks – On-Line networks such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, Spoke, facebook, etc. can be highly beneficial to a job seeker while also being detrimental to a job seeker. Build and manage a network on LinkedIn for instance and you can expose yourself to approximately 35 million users worldwide. Build your LinkedIn profile like a keyword loaded resume. Get people who have worked with you to write endorsements of your work for your network members to see. On the flip side, be cautious when inputting information into on-line networks that you might like to retract later. Some employers will research you on-line as part of a background check. I’ve seen job seekers disqualified more than once by way of information an employer found on-line that somehow disqualified the job seeker from being hired.
- Networking – Networking can be done in many ways. You should consider being part of industry groups and associations long before you are searching for a job. Today, you can be part of virtual groups such as groups again on LinkedIn or facebook, etc. The key here is to approach your choice of groups strategically. Know what you’re objective is in joining a group. What value can you add to a group? What value are you looking for in a group. The more you put into a group and the more you network with its members, the more you’ll get out of the group. Don’t do all of your networking electronically. Go to meetings, build relationships over the phone. Connect with people so they’ll remember you when you need help. Be a giver of help when you can so that when you need help, you’ll be remembered as a giver.
- Job Boards – Read carefully because what you’re about to read will likely be information you haven’t considered before. I’ve recently run into several employers who will not take 3rd party recruiter referrals if the recruiter is presenting a candidate whose resume can be found in a major job board’s resume database. Sure, you can find job postings on job boards but think twice about posting your resume for all to see. Doing so may not always be in your best interest. Not only could you be precluding yourself from a recruiter’s consideration if they’re hands are tied but there are also security issues to consider.
- Ongoing Training / Certification – Certifications help employers to weed out those who have expertise from those who may not have reached the same level of professional accomplishment. No, certifications alone don’t make one person more talented than another. However, when employers have a choice between candidates who are not certified and those who are, there is a psychological comfort knowing that a job candidate has gone the extra step to become certified in their areas of subject matter expertise. Technical certifications alone are not necessarily the best choice. Technology professionals who desire to one day rise above their hands-on technical skills to deal with strategy, leadership and management of others should strongly consider training and certification that is more business oriented such as Project Management Training, Dale Carnegie training or Toastmasters public speaking involvement.
- Thank You – Go out of your way to thank people who take the time to help you. In the past 10 years or so of recruiting, I can think of only a few times when a candidate stopped to create a hand-written thank-you note. Believe me when I tell you that the hand-written notes stood out and made a strong impression. Technology is great in many ways but relationships are not built around technology. Relationships are built around going out of your way to show appreciation for those who took the time to help you. You don’t believe me? Try it!
Jeff Snyder is the President of SecurityRecruiter.com, a search firm highly specialized in information security, corporate security and physical security recruiting. Jeff’s recruiting career started in 1990 in the general IT recruiting space. His first information security recruiting assignment landed on his desk in the 1995 - 1996 timeframe. SecurityRecruiter.com provides recruiting services, full-time job placement services, contract placement services, professional resume writing services and is a gateway to various kinds of security certifications and training opportunities.
< Back to Articles Page