Thinking through your job search strategy for Information Technology and Information Systems jobs
Do not let your emotions do the thinking when making a strategy for your job search.
You should have two strategies unless you are a seasoned IT professional: (1) A strategy to submit for jobs for which you are qualified and have the required experience with specific tools and skills for the job. (2) A separate strategy for submitting to jobs that prefers experience that you do not have. As a junior or intermediate level IT professional you will see many jobs where you have the confidence to succeed; however, most employers need candidates to come in the door and start without any delays due to lack of hands-on with the tools they are using. If you do not have the exact experience but you have hands-on with a few of the tools and you are in the geographical area then your strategy is to speak to their needs that you know best. Related skills may help, but hands-on experience with a few of the required skills will give you a hand up. Do your homework on the company and know what makes them a leader in their field. Not having the required or desired skill for a job but submitting just because the job is located in your back yard will get you zero RESPECT and may get you on a type of black list. When submitting for a job that you meet most if not all of the requirements then do extra homework on the company including reading what the media and individuals are writing about the company.
Target your Information Technology or Information Systems job search
Defining a search scope that is aligned with your skill set, interests, resume, and LinkedIn profile will serve you well and save time. Spending time on jobs that do not really interest you will take up time and energy. Your strategy should have an identifiable target, if not a narrow target, that is aligned with the content of your skill set and knowledge. As always, with each job expand your knowledge base by volunteering and/or getting involved with projects that expand your resume. Expanding your knowledge also includes taking online classes or reading a book on a specific IT/IS tools, and/or doing some volunteer work for a non-profit that will provide you with some additional skills. Most hiring managers are conducting a narrow search and targeting a subject matter expert in their searches. If you are currently employed, don’t leave just to make a change or because you are running away from a certain job situation. Leave because you are running to a new opportunity that excites you and gives you room to grow and be at your best.
Research all employers for Information Technology or Information Systems jobs
Now that you have a strategy and a target search method it is time to practice good research habits. A job description is not only describing an open position; it is also making a statement that the company has certain problems and/or challenges that need to be resolved. You may never be able to do enough research to identify what exact problems exist, but the job description provides key-words and guidance on what to look and listen for. There are many outlets for in depth research on a company; you should take advantage of all tools and people available to you.
Time to share a resume
You have a strategy, a specific target of jobs and/or employers, and you’ve done your homework on potential employers. If you are submitting your resume for a job posted job by a specific employer, then focus your resume on the job description and the keywords. You should use (modify) your resume to speak directly to the details identified in the job description, because – as we said earlier – the job description is also communicating the problems and/or challenges the company needs (or will need) to solve. If you just submit a resume without a focus on the employer’s needs, that resume will fall flat and eventually into file 13 (the trash). Ensure that your resume format is up to date and competitive. As an IT professional, you can easily quantify your successes, because you develop things that solve problems, save money, help the company to be more efficient, and meet company goals that are either customer related or bottom line related. The hiring manager does not want to read a list of duties and responsibilities but wants to see that you have quantifiable successes that suggest hiring you will be a good return on their investment (ROI). Do not be overly technical with your resume speak to the key-words on the job description.
Job search toolbox for IT and IS Systems Jobs
Keeping your LinkedIn profile and resume up to date is very important. Making those contacts in LinkedIn or other network groups, or past co-workers, is a tool in your toolbox. I recognize that some want and/or need a certain amount of privacy or security and want a limited internet foot print. I certainly respect those who have a need for privacy and security. I know many folks who are active military, police, sheriffs, rangers, secret service, border patrol and similar related services encourage their close family members to keep a low profile for their safety. Strategically think through your online profile to ensure you meet the need to advertise your accomplishments and skills as well as the need for safety and privacy for you and your family.
One size does not fit all when submitting a resume for IT or IS jobs
There are now many avenues where you can submit a resume. Many times, I remind people who live in very populated areas to learn what employers are in the area. Once you do your research on the employers that are aligned with your career path and skill set, don’t hesitate to try the in-person approach. Put your resume in an envelope that looks like an interoffice envelope designating it to the attention of human resources and drop it off yourself at the reception desk to get it into the company’s interoffice mail. Many times interoffice mail gets quicker attention, and paper cannot be easily deleted like an email. You also have many other potential options for sharing resumes with direct contacts, former co-workers, clubs, churches, contacts at sports events, and social networks. Speak to all levels of people and try to get the scoop on an open position: anyone from the facility janitor to outside vendors may know and/or overhear about new job opportunities. Even local daycare center workers or small local markets close to an employer know more than they should about local businesses. Job board postings are always in front of you. I suggest that you be very selective when submitting via a job board.
I will reiterate: When submitting to any posted job, use your resume to speak to the job description – using key words and phrases – so the reader can see that you read their job description and that you can assist with solving their problems and meet their needs.
What now – the resume has been submitted
At times companies get overwhelmed with too many resumes. To get the word out, let acquaintances who are associated with a targeted organization know that you have shared a resume with a specific employer and hope to meet and/or speak with someone within that organization.
What now – I received a reply that seems to show interest
Follow up with courtesy and energy if you get a reply that expresses any level of interest. Whether it is email or a letter, show that you are a positive communicator and a person who has genuine interest in the company and the position. A hand written letter sets you apart from others.
7SolutionsUSA.com is a recruiter network and has several thousand recruiter members working most job categories and industries. Most jobs do require a 2-4 year degree.
I would like to suggest this video for some related strategies.