Tips on Getting a Better IT Job: Page 2

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He provides 3 key points for improving IT resumes:

• Keep it short and to the point, certainly no more than 2 pages. “People don’t have the patience to flip through more than that.”

• “Make it less about where you’ve been and your job responsibilities, and more about your job accomplishments. Nowadays in IT, it’s all about return on investments.” Companies want to know what you’ll bring to the bottom line, not merely your old job title. Describe what you’ve actually achieved, which indicates what you’ll be able to achieve in your new post.

• Those first few sentences at the top of your resume, in which you describe yourself and your goals in a nutshell, must be hyper-specific. Estes explains: “I want to be able to know two things within about five seconds: Who are you and what do you want to do? This business about ‘join a dynamic company and find opportunities,’ blah, blah, blah – that means nothing. Get rid of that fluff. People want to know [for example] ‘I’m a network engineer with 10 years experience looking for network architect role.’”

Some professionals purposely leave this top-of-resume summary vague, because their skills open doors to various jobs. Yet there’s a better solution to this rather than vagueness: “For the people who have multiple skill sets and might want to go down a couple different roads, create a couple different resumes with different objectives – target your resume toward a specific company.”

What’s “Hot”

As you contemplate job hunting – and your career in general – realize that it’s probably best to play to your own strengths, rather than attempting to following this year’s hot trends.

Corcodilos mentions a recent article about how analog design engineers are suddenly in high demand. But several years ago you never would have guessed that in 2008 this would be the case. For decades the emphasis has been on digital technology.

“Now, step back and think about all the articles you read about 'What jobs are hot?' Analog engineering is not hot. It’s a rarefied area,” Corcodilos says. “But you know what? If you’re a hot analog design engineer, you can make a mint and have a great career – and call your own shots.”

The point: “It’s not about what’s hot, it’s about: Are you hot at what you do? And getting hotter and hotter as you go along in your career." Long term, this is far better than leapfrogging from one trendy area to another.

On the other hand, when I ask Estes about what skills IT employers are currently seeking, he has a definite list: network administrators are in high demand; also needed are application developers, particularly those who focus on Web app development; infrastructure support and database support are also in demand.

A Well-Rounded Pro

Whatever your area of expertise, Estes advises IT job hunters to spotlight two qualities as they approach employers: 1) that you’re a well-rounded person with a full complement of skills; 2) That you understand the business aspects of technology.

“Once you’re in that interview, don’t just focus on technology,” he says. “Employers nowadays want more of a well-rounded person, they want someone with strong interpersonal skills, written and verbal as well. They want someone who can work well as a team member. The days of sitting at a computer and banging out code between 8 and 5 and not talking to anyone else – those days are long gone.”

Make it clear you know your job contributes to the bottom line. “Less focus on just the technology and more focus on the business,” he says.

“Also, the whole idea of project management: We’re not saying everyone has to be a project manager, but people who have a big picture view of the overall scope of this project, and what the ROI is on it,” tend to get hired more often.

You Are Wanted (And Needed)

Clearly, the mood of the business world is dark; headlines about recession, leaping gas prices and inflation are omnipresent. Few people would describe the job market as healthy – unless you’re in the home foreclosure business.

Yet IT has, so far, avoided the worst of this downturn. The good news (unless you’re a tech employer) is that there’s a shortage of IT talent. And reports like this one suggest that the short supply of tech workers will continue in the years ahead.

“Granted, you read the paper and it looks like it’s gloom and doom,” Estes says. “But we are not seeing that in the IT labor market. Companies are willing to pay for talent who they feel will help them increase revenue, decrease expenses, and improve customer service.”

“With the speed of innovation, they just can’t keep pace, so they’re always looking for talent,” he says. “Who know what will happens in 6 months or a year, but right now, clients are telling us, it’s full steam ahead.”

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