November 19, 2013

The current job market is an intense environment with multiple generations fighting for the same positions; and IT is increasingly competitive due to the integration of technology into business strategy. Here are a few tips and guidelines for millennial IT professionals on the job hunt.

Start with Some Preparation

Before you do anything else, you should do some research. Start your job search knowing what positions you’re qualified for, an average starting salary for those positions, and a bit about the current environment of the industry. Knowing this information will give you a better understanding of what positions you want to apply for, what job boards to post your resume on, etc.

Let’s Talk About Your Resume

Your resume has 5-15 seconds to make an impression. Make sure you stand out by tweaking your resume for each specific job you apply for. You can do this by using keywords and phrases that will attract the hiring manager’s attention (i.e. rephrasing previous job responsibilities to better reflect the prospective position).

As an IT professional you may be tempted to load your resume with all of your technical skills. While these skills are important to highlight, your focus should be on how those skills have generated positive business results.

The question you may find yourself asking: Do I need a portfolio? Not necessarily, but it’s a good idea to have one. You can include code you’ve written, performance reviews, recommendation letters, etc. Even if a portfolio is not required, it’s beneficial to offer it to the hiring manager as supplemental information.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

As a member of the millennial generation, you’ve probably had social media accounts for years. Before you start applying for jobs, you should search yourself online and see what comes up. Delete any photos/posts that could reflect negatively on your character.

That’s only half the battle! An important (and usually overlooked) aspect to your online presence is to create positive content. Write blogs and/or post articles that show interest in the industry and post about your accomplishments to boost your credibility. It may be a good idea to get a personal website to use as a digital resume. You can include much more information and detail about your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Don’t Spend All Your Time Searching for a Job

Supplement your time by expanding your skill set. Do some freelance work, volunteer, or get an internship to gain some more experience or continue your education by taking some classes. Link to Leadership, for example, is designed for IT professionals with career goals in IT leadership and each course is led by senior IT leaders. Taking the initiative to expand your skill set shows potential employers that you are willing to learn and want to grow within in the industry.

Congrats – You Got the Interview!

Whether you think you’re good at interviewing or not, you absolutely need to practice. Ask family and friends to sit down with you and do a mock interview. When you practice, you should wear the suit you plan to wear to the interview so you get comfortable in it.

You should never speak negatively of a former boss, company, or co-workers. It reflects poorly on your character, and the prospective employer will only think of how you will speak negatively of them when you leave. You don’t need to lie about your experience, but rather you should highlight what you learned from it; even if what you learned is that you don’t favor doing a particular job or working in a certain industry.

After the interview you should follow-up with each individual who participated in the interview. Send a personalized thank you note, even just an email, thanking them for their time and referencing a specific moment during the interview that you thought went particularly well. Take the opportunity to bring up anything you forgot to mention during the interview.

Get Down to Business

The current goal of business and IT alike is to align IT with business strategy. Therefore, companies are looking for business-savvy IT professionals. You need to understand the business side of the conversation and how business and IT affect each other.

What are your job search tips for millennials?

Posted By: Sarah Brown

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