Job Search Tips

We’ve got advice to help you land the perfect technology job.

We talk to hiring managers every day, and we understand what they want. Based on what we’re hearing and our own expertise, here are a few tips to help you in your search for a job in the technology industry.

1. Be a specialist

Right now, companies are looking for players with specialized skills. What are yours? Do you have lots of experience working in a hospital environment? Have you spent extensive time working in Ruby on Rails? Take some time to reflect on what niche skills you have, and make sure your resume and cover letter play those skills up. Then actively seek companies and job opportunities that match those skills.

2. Beef up your business and communications skills

The days of the heads down workers are gone. Organizations need professionals that can talk to the business side. Could your business and communications skills use some work? Now is the time to practice. Pick up a business book. Join your local Toastmaster’s chapter. Attend a networking event and vow to meet at least one new person.

3. Respect the role of the headhunter

If you’re working with a headhunter, that’s great. But keep in mind who pays his bills. Because it’s the client that pays a fee to get the perfect candidate, a recruiter is looking for the best fit for that client. Unfortunately, they’re not looking for the perfect fit for you, the candidate. So if a headhunter says they don’t have anything for you right now or doesn’t check in every week, don’t take it personally. They’re busy working on behalf of their clients. Rest assured that if you maintain a good relationship with them and check in occasionally, the next time they see something that is a fit – you’ll get a call.

4. Use LinkedIn as a networking tool

Millions of professionals are using LinkedIn. It’s the perfect way for you to maintain connections with people you haven’t seen in a while. It’s also a good way to let the people in your network know that you’re looking.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and up to date, and work on building your recommendations. Give recommendations to the connections you feel deserve it, and request recommendations from connections you know were happy with your work. You should also join LinkedIn Groups in your target areas of interest.

If you aren’t familiar with LinkedIn, see an overview here. To connect with us, visit us here.

5. Get out and network in real life

Just being on LinkedIn isn’t enough. If you want to make a real impression on people, you’ll need to get out and meet them in person. Get involved in a professional group focused on the technology industry. Many LinkedIn Groups also have real time networking get togethers. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while and let them know what you’re looking for. Follow up on all the leads your network gives you.

Remember, the majority of open positions aren’t listed on any job board. You’ll only find out about these by networking and making personal connections.

6. When you apply for a job

Don’t just send a generic resume and cover letter. Take some time to find out about the company and position. Tailor your resume and cover letter to their specifications. Include specific IT, technology transfer, and/or mainframe terminology to display your expertise in the technology field. Try to find out the name of an actual person to send it to. When recruiters are used to getting thousands of resumes every day, little things like these stand out.

7. When you get an interview

Spend some time before the interview researching the company and the person who will be interviewing you. Google their name. Look them up on LinkedIn. Try to find a connection with them. Do you have a mutual acquaintance? Grow up in the same hometown? Mentioning connections like these show that you’re someone who takes time to go the extra mile.

8. Know what you’re worth and say it decisively when asked

Do some research on what companies are currently paying for your skill set. When an interviewer asks you for a salary expectation, give them a solid number or range. Don’t umm and ahh around.

You should also be prepared with an hourly rate and an independent contractor (1099) rate. Here’s how to calculate these:

  • Hourly Rate: Divide your annual salary by 1800
  • Independent Contractor Rate: Multiply your hourly rate by 1.3