Where do I start?
How do I find the perfect role?
IT is a fast moving Industry evolving at an amazing pace. This means you will never stop learning.
The key things a potential employer is looking for is
- Attitude towards Learning
That is before we get onto any technical skills.
- Some of you will already know exactly what you want to do
- Some of you will have a vague idea
- Some of you will have no idea!
It may be, that what you will end up doing may not have even been invented yet. This is why it is important to keep up with new developments in the Industry. Embrace new technologies, adapt to them and be receptive to new ideas.
However, we all need to start somewhere.
Research roles and positions that may be of interest Google or maybe go to an IT specific Job board such as CW Jobs. Look at the requirements for these roles so that you know what skills you will need to obtain.
You may also notice trends that companies are starting to look at technologies that are only just emerging
How I don’t know anyone yet?
It is never too early to start Networking. Start today by starting your LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com
LinkedIn is essentially a summary CV online.
- Include a picture but makes sure it is professional. Not at a wedding, with other people or holding a pint of beer.
- Whilst you are at it, tidy up your online profiles make sure your privacy settings are on high and don’t be showing any content that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. They will search for you online and they will find out as much as they can. Make sure it’s the good stuff they can see.
Just like you use Google to search for information you need, companies that are hiring use LinkedIn to search for job candidates. The way LinkedIn decides what profiles to show in the search results is Keywords. The more keywords you have in your profile to describe skills and experience, the better chance you have of being found.
Use the Summary section to tell your story.
- Explain why you want to work in tech
- What gets you excited?
- What drives you in your work?
- What you are proud of?
- What employers should know about you?
List your relevant skills.
Fill in the skills section on LinkedIn and your profile will show higher when people are lookingfor candidates with skills in those areas.
You can list 50 but just start with about 12
List your Education
But also list any additional training that you may have undertaken in your own time . Maybe using sites such as www.Udemy.com or www.Pluralsight.com . This is a good way to demonstrate that you have the right attitude towards learning and are eager to keep up to date with new technologies.
Include other information. Maybe you were part of a Hackathon or perhaps you have won an employee of the year or student of the year award.
Hobbies, volunteer experience, Duke of Edinburgh awards etc
More tips for Success on LinkedIn
Part of social networking is engaging and to do this in a professional way you need to get involved in groups.
Only join those that are of interest to you. Get in the habit of commenting on and engaging in discussions. Follow companies or hash tags (#) of interest for the latest news.
Endorsements – You can endorse connections and they can endorse you for particular skills.
Share your LinkedIn profile and include the URL on your CV
Ask for a recommendation; this can be from co-workers, clients or customers.
Remember companies want candidates with a genuine interest in IT/ tech.
Think about your spare time how can you use this to develop and demonstrate this interest?
Volunteer work – Is there a charity that you could offer your skills to on a voluntary basis in exchange for experience?
Write a CV
There are plenty of online resources to help. Most of the information on your LinkedIn can be used again here.
Make sure you proofread! Some hiring managers will immediately delete a CV with mistakes in it.
Ensure you are aligning your skills to the job you want.
Here are some of our Top Tips on how to write a great CV!
- Check for Grammar and Spelling mistakes, then ask someone else to check it again
- Check the formatting
- Use a strong and clean visual layout
- Avoid dense blocks of text
- Use bullet points
- DON’T use tables
- DON’T over complicate the formatting
- Include your contact information
- Include a location – this does not need to be your full address. For example, Maidstone, Kent
- Include if you have your own transport and/or driving licence
- Include a profile, outlining who you are, what you can offer a company and your future goals
Include Skills on your CV
It may be a good idea to include a technical skills matrix. For each skill state your proficiency for example; beginner, competent or expert
You could split your technical skills under the following areas software,platforms, Packages, programming languages
Links to examples of your work
Listed in reverse chronological order. Don’t just list the title of your degree include details on modules covered.
Make sure this is in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting with the most recent and working backwards
Is there career progression?
Do the job titles makes sense?
Gaps – Are there any gaps between positions and if so why?
Volunteering work, playing sport in a team. Highlight any skills that can be used in a work environment.
Where to start your job search?
Constant Recruitment – Specialist IT Recruiter.
Moving jobs is stressful, I like to think of myself as friendly and compassionate. I alleviate the stress by being the middleman, and an advisory.
I understand the industry as best anyone currently can and can give candidates advice on the direction of the marketplace so you can“future proof” yourself.
I know lots of relevant clients who presented with the right candidate will hire, when officially they are not hiring.
A covering letter is good… A SUPPORTING STATEMENT IS MUCH BETTER!!
What interests you about the role?
Why are they special?
Do your core values align with theirs?
What are the key competencies for the role and explain how your skills align with these?
If you have worked in a similar role or for a Competitor HIGHLIGHT this.
I do feel your pain when asked to write a supporting statement for a role. To be honest it is no one’s idea of fun, but a supporting statement is used to outline your suitability, keenness and motivation for applying for a particular role. It shows that you are really interested in the role and not just using the scattergun approach in applying for everything that’s going. This is a great chance for you to speak directly to the employer and make yourself stand out from other candidates and show you are an enthusiastic person who puts in the extra effort.
The easiest way to do this is to split it into 3 parts like all good stories: Beginning, middle and End (I can feel my old English teacher in my ear as I write this).
‘I am writing to apply for position of [role]’ then outline what interests you about the role (both the role itself and the employer). Many employers like to feel that they are special and you have chosen them above other companies. (have a look on their website and maybe their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked in). I have found that companies particularly like it if you have looked at their core values and can explain how yours align with theirs.
What does the employer want? – what are the key competencies for the “ideal candidate” – So take each of the requirements and describe how you meet them, or if you don’t be sure to offer what may be a good alternative.
To do this, group competencies that are alike, eg; IT skills, administration skills or interpersonal, customer-service and listening skills. If you’ve got relevant and very specific experience for the position or maybe have worked in a very similar role for a competitor you should really write about this first – it’s a big selling factor. Then tackle the essentials and then the desirables.
If you’ve got limited experience, you may find competency a bit tricky. If this is the case, focus on your past roles or experiences and relevant transferable skills.
Now importantly don’t just make statements, back it up with some evidence. Everyone likes real-life stories. Evidence could be specific situations or projects you’ve worked on or roles you’ve held which had the same requirements. You might talk about a specific project where you can show your customer services or organisational skills. Try to give a range of evidence and focus attention on the most relevant and recent examples.
Have a good brainstorm before you start so you have examples you can draw on. This is the part of your statement that can really make you stand out and give detail that may be missed when reading your CV.,
Don’t panic if you do not have everything. In 15 years of recruitment I don’t think I have ever found a candidate who is a 100% fit. 80% really is pretty good. Do acknowledge the areas you are weak on and stress how keen you are to learn new skills but also maybe explain where you have had to learn new skills quickly on the past or evidence of self-directed education and remote learning. What could be better than to have someone on your team who constantly strives to better themselves. Just remember even if you know everything today, you will not know everything tomorrow so it is more important for clients to find people who have the right attitude towards learning.
The closing paragraph – keep this short and sweet. Avoid repeating yourself, thank the employer for their time. It’s usually in this paragraph where you might outline your availability for interview (should you be away on a specific date).
Lastly proof read it before you send it off, there is nothing worse then telling someone how good your attention to detail skills are in a statement littered with spelling mistakes.
SIMPLEST INTERVIEW ADVICE – BE PREPARED, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.
- Prepare questions to ask!
- BE ENTHUSIASTIC
- UNDERSTAND THE JOB SPEC
- Evidence that you can fulfil the competencies
- Give examples, tell short stories
- BE WELL PRESENTED
- GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
- ARRIVE EARLY
- BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
- Be excited!
- Thank them for the offer
- Ask to have the offer letter sent over in writing
- Arrange start date