By Robert Half Technology
When you started your search for an information technology position, you were optimistic. People you knew seemed to have no problem landing great tech jobs, or they were telling you about other people who had just been hired. But now that you've sent out many résumés with little or no response, you're wondering why no one is snapping you up. What's going on?
First, take comfort in knowing that the demand for skilled IT talent hasn't waned, so there are still opportunities to be had. However, the emphasis here is on "skilled:" Companies that are hiring generally seek experienced professionals with specific skills.
If your experience or area of expertise doesn't quite align with what many employers are looking for right now, it doesn't mean you aren't a viable candidate for hire. You may just need to confirm that you're doing everything you can to give yourself an edge in a competitive marketplace. Here's some advice:
Revive your résumé
You've sent out your résumé a bunch of times. But is it a good résumé? Does it underscore the skills, talents and credentials that make you marketable and valuable to an employer? Does it clarify employment gaps and accentuate the positive things you've done while searching for a new role? Does it highlight specific achievements?
One thing employers want to see from job seekers today is an explanation of how they solved a critical problem, increased efficiency or otherwise saved the organization headaches, time or money. If you have a great story, use your job application materials to tell it.
Another important question: Are you leveraging terminology from employers' job descriptions in your résumé and cover letter? For additional insight, look to the "2013 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide" for a glossary of common IT positions and their responsibilities.
Also include a professional summary at the top of your résumé that succinctly highlights your most relevant qualifications and accomplishments. That way, hiring managers will have a snapshot view of what's most important to know about you as an IT professional.
Critique your credentials
You're a technology pro, so no doubt you already understand the importance of having up-to-date technical skills and certifications. However, are you sure you have the best credentials for the jobs you're applying for? If you don't, that may be holding you back from getting an interview or an invitation to a second one.
Just like technology itself, IT roles are always evolving. Use your professional network to find out what skills and designations your peers landing employment offers have earned. You may need some additional training to increase your value to a potential employer, and this may require making that investment in yourself. Most employers are looking for IT professionals who can hit the ground running; they prefer you to come to the job with the in-demand credentials in hand.
Many firms are specifically seeking technology professionals who understand the challenges today's businesses face in harnessing the power of big data, seizing mobile opportunities and embracing a "bring your own device" approach. If you have relevant experience in any of these areas, make it known.
Expand your network
Professional networking, conducted both online and in person, can help you connect to relevant job opportunities faster. However, if your network consists primarily of your peers who are also looking for employment -- or aren't employed at firms that are expanding their IT teams -- you need to broaden your scope of contacts.
Reconnect with old business contacts, mentors, teachers or family friends who have some business clout. Take advantage of networking events and other activities offered by local business organizations or professional associations. Be active in online networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter -- just be sure to keep all content fresh and professional. Once you've expanded your network, focus primarily on cultivating contacts who can introduce you to influential and well-connected people at the companies you'd like to work for most.
Lastly, don't fail to consider the opportunities and connections that an interim work arrangement might yield. A specialized recruiter can assist you in finding temporary IT positions. Often, these engagements lead to full-time roles for talented workers. Working as an interim technology professional also can help you earn income -- and keep your skills sharp -- while you continue your search for full-time employment.
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at RHT.com. Follow Robert Half Technology on Twitter at @RobertHalfTech.
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