In the end, your resume is one of the most important documents you will ever create. It outlines your IT skills and experience to give hiring managers insight regarding what you have to offer. But creating a strong resume is no easy task, especially since there is flexibility regarding how the document can be designed.
However, certain mistakes are more common than others. If you are an IT job seeker, and you want to make sure your resume serves as the best introduction possible, here are four mistakes you should avoid.
1. Too Much Jargon
Not every hiring manager looking to fill an IT position is a tech professional themselves. Having a resume dominated by tech terminology can leave those less familiar with the jargon at a loss when it comes to understanding your qualifications. Additionally, diving too deep into the technical can come across as unapproachable or even intimidating to someone who is less comfortable with the subject matter.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should avoid key terms completely. Instead, take some time to determine which words or phrases are helpful and which can be removed. For example, feel free to use tech-oriented language that mirrors the job announcement. Additionally, include skills that pertain specifically to managing the job to which you are applying. Otherwise, if it isn’t directly applicable, consider leaving it on the cutting room floor.
2. Inappropriate Length
The correct length for a resume is a hotly debated topic. Some professionals still swear that a one-page resume is the only way to go while others believe a two-page approach is fine for those with longer career histories who are applying to upper-level positions. However, neither stance is entirely correct.
The truth is the correct resume length is the one that outlines your skills, experience and education that are valuable (and pertinent) based on the position to which you are applying. If you can include everything a hiring manager needs to see in a one-page format, don’t stretch it to two just because you think that is the standard. If you do, you’ll likely be relying on fluff and filler, neither of which will help you land an interview.
In contrast, if squeezing all the information into one or two pages isn’t possible, don’t beat yourself up for going to a third. However, if you are going beyond two pages, consider whether every line is actually valuable. Anything that doesn’t add to the conversation in a meaningful way should immediately be subtracted from your resume.
3. Ignoring Side Projects
Many professionals assume that experience gained outside of traditional employment or education needs to be left off of their resume. And while this is true for side projects that hold no relevance to the position, you can include information about any experience that applies regardless of where it was acquired.
For example, if you developed a mobile app, built a friend’s blog or used your technical skills in a way that is applicable to the position, consider including it. Even if you didn’t financially benefit from the project, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good examples of your skills.
Just make sure the information is appropriate to display in a professional context. If the subject matter involved is controversial or not appropriate in the work environment, it is better not to mention it at all.
4. Failing to Brag
While no one wants to come across as arrogant, many err too far on the side of caution and avoid discussing their major accomplishments in a meaningful way. A resume is a document designed to market your skills and abilities to hiring managers, making it a perfectly acceptable time to showcase what you’ve done.
Feel free to describe your successes, just make sure the tone is professional.
If you are interested in improving your resume or are looking for a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group are here to help. Contact us and see how you can elevate your resume to the next level to score the position of your dreams.
Whether you are pursuing your first step on a career path, or have decided to move away from your current career towards a different future, becoming a project manager can be a satisfying and lucrative career. But how lucrative varies based on certain criteria. Education and experience always come into play for job offers and salary negotiations, and your field of focus can also be a factor.
If you are wondering how much a project manager can make in Silicon Valley, here are some key points to consider.
Your level of experience is one of the largest determining factors regarding potential salary. In the Silicon Valley area, entry-level positions tend to be in the $60,000 area (without accounting for any potential bonus payments). Generally, that is considered a fairly strong starting salary, though the cost of living in the San Francisco can be relatively high.
However, the upper edge of the overall salary potential is well into six-figure territory, even without bonuses. And as demand for skilled project managers increases, and finding candidates in the IT field becomes more challenging, it is possible salary levels will increase in the years to come.
Now, it is possible to avoid a stop at the entry-level salary point if you have significant experience in the field in which you intend to work as a project manager. For example, an IT professional transitioning into project management in a tech field may see higher starting salaries than those who are relying solely on their education.
Often, successful project managers have a combination of experience. First, they likely have a degree in their chosen specialty area. For example, IT project managers may have a degree in computer science or information technology, while those interested in becoming a construction project manager may have a degree in engineering.
Additionally, most project managers complete coursework in the areas of business management or even project management specifically. Some of these options involve graduate-level education, including master’s degrees or professional certificates. For example, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can help those working in the field achieve higher salary levels than those who aren’t certified.
Salary and Compensation
As of late 2016, salary estimates for project managers in the Silicon Valley area ranged from $61,874 to $143,241. Additionally, financial compensation may also be available in the forms of bonuses and profit sharing, though this isn’t necessarily standard.
Working as a project manager can also provide access to a comprehensive benefits package if you work as a long-term employee for a business. This can include access to medical insurance and prescription drug coverage and may include dental and vision benefits. Additionally, retirement benefits may also be included.
However, some project managers work as independent contractors or are self-employed. In those cases, benefits are not provided by the companies with which you work. Instead, you will need to select your own solutions in those areas.
If you are interested in becoming a project manager in Silicon Valley, The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact our recruiters today to see what options may be available.
As a job seeker, working with a tech recruiter requires a significant amount of trust. You need to feel secure in the idea they are prioritizing your needs appropriately, and not just focused on meeting the needs of the companies with which they work. Without trust, you will struggle to create a partnership with your recruiter that will ultimately yield results.
But determining which recruiters you can trust and which you should pass by isn’t always easy. To help you find the right tech recruiter for your job search, here are some key characteristics to aid you in identifying a recruiter on which you can rely.
A recruiter that is truly concerned about your needs when looking for potential employment opportunities will provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. They will outline the pros and cons of any position or company in consideration and will be thorough in their descriptions of the work tasks involved and how the business operates.
Additionally, they will be open to hearing your concerns and finding answers to any questions you may have about the position. If they truly feel you are a match for a position, there will likely be a level of excitement or eagerness about delivering information to you, and they won’t be inclined to avoid any detail when speaking to you about the opportunity.
However, if it seems your recruiter is hiding something such as withholding important details or glossing over your concerns, then it could be a sign of trouble. If they aren’t willing to share the name of the company, provide information about the work environment or discuss potential compensation, that should be a red flag.
While you want a recruiter to be your advocate, you also want them to be honest. They should be clear about how the process works as well as what they will or will not do to help match you to a position. Additionally, they should be able to provide information about placement rates and current client relationships.
Recruiters who are reluctant to answer your questions with an appropriate level of detail could signal a problem. Additionally, if they say they are interested in helping you, but speak more about how you can help them, there may be another motive behind their actions.
Being a recruiter requires specific skills, just as any technical position does. They need to have knowledge of the current job market, an understanding of what your skills mean and ability to speak with hiring managers to reach a mutual benefit. Those with a high level of competency know what questions to ask candidates to determine their needs and gain thorough knowledge about their capabilities. Additionally, they will have the ability get details about available positions from businesses.
A skilled recruiter wants to create a situation where everyone benefits in the end. However, a less competent recruiter may not get all of the information necessary to truly find a match or may pressure you to accept a deal that doesn’t actually meet your needs. Additionally, they may end up overpromising about what they can do, selling an outcome that might not be realistic. And sometimes, that fact doesn’t come to light until the process has gone on for some time.
Finding a skilled tech employer doesn’t have to be a challenge. By working with a company that has significant experience in the tech recruitment field, such as The Armada Group, you can find a recruiter who will operate with integrity and work diligently to meet your need. Contact us for a consultation and see the benefit of selecting the right recruiter first-hand.
There are times when the interview process can feel frustratingly short. When you are interviewing candidates for an automation engineering position, you want to make sure you get all of the information you need as efficiently as possible. One way to ensure that happens is to ask the right questions during the interview.
But how do you know which questions will get to the core of what you need to know? Here are some interview questions that are sure to fit the bill.
What Automation Tools Are You Most Familiar With?
Not every automation engineer has gotten their hands on every available tool. By requesting an overview of the tools with which they are most comfortable will help determine whether they have the background required for the position.
Some automation tools have focused functionality. For example, Selenium and Watir automate browser-based applications. That means experience in that area won’t directly translate into tasks that require the testing of GUIs or APIs. However, someone familiar with tools offering a wider functionality, such as TestComplete, HP Unified Functional Testing Software, or Telerik TestStudio, may be considered more suitable for positions that require a wider range of potential applications.
Can You Write a Function That Determines…?
One of the easiest was to see someone’s skills on-the-fly is to request a demonstration. Make sure that the interview space has a whiteboard or other suitable surface and have every candidate complete a suitable request or two, similar to a basic pop quiz. Cover the specific skills that are fundamental to the position individually, or combine them for a single demonstration. Not only can this help ensure that the applicant has the skills required to do the job, but it also gives you an idea of how the react when put on the spot.
When Face with a Problem You Don’t Know How to Solve, What Do You Do?
This question segues fairly naturally from the prior demonstrations regardless of whether the candidate struggled. It also serves as an indicator of what their general problem-solving strategy would be and whether the approach matches stylistically with how the work environment generally operates. Ultimately, this is a question with no prescribed right or wrong, but it can be revealing nonetheless.
Describe Your Ideal Work Environment
Here is a prompt that is valuable regardless of the position being filled. Even the most skilled automation engineers may struggle if there is not a suitable cultural fit with the organization at large. For example, if your management style focuses on empowering employees, then it won’t be a good fit for an employee that prefers specific direction.
How Would Your Current (Previous) Manager and Coworkers Describe You?
Similar to the previous prompt, this question is designed to determine a candidate’s likelihood of fitting into the section, department, or business at large. It will give indications regarding their work style as well as which traits they believe are more perceptible to those around them. Additionally, it lends itself to great honesty than self-assessments as the information is theoretically verifiable should you contact their references.
Narrow Down Your Candidate Pool with Skilled Recruiting
If you want to give yourself more time to assess top tier candidates, the professional recruiters at The Armada Group have the experience required to locate and prescreen the best applicants for your automation engineering positions. Contact us and speak with one of our recruiters today.
Software development is becoming a higher priority for businesses in 2017. With unemployment low among IT professionals, the competition for top software developer talent is fierce. So many companies are prepared to make strong offers much faster than in previous years.
But that doesn’t mean your company wants to cut corners in the name of greater speed. Finding the right kind of candidate is still as important as getting one quickly. So, how does your organization position itself to hold the secret to a better software developer pipeline? Here are four approaches that you can begin to implement today.
Entice, Don’t Chase
When a company is looking for a top developer, many have their internal recruiters begin the process of hunting down potential candidates. While this process can bring results, not every skilled professional is going to respond to cold calling. And that goes double in cases where the developer isn’t familiar with your company.
The first step to attracting these candidates is to take an unconventional approach to making the first contact. For example, your organization could host and advertise a coding challenge. This helps draw attention by engaging professionals in a new way and giving them an avenue to demonstrate their skills in a fun manner. After they complete the challenge, simply request permission to contact them with future job opportunities.
With this approach, you can reach developers who are interested in the challenges that often surround the work, and truly have a passion for coding and development. It also increases awareness of your business in the developer community, making potential candidates more inclined to pick up the phone when a recruiter calls.
Engage the Community
The developer online community is large. By tapping into these resources, you can do more than simply find potential candidates; you can engage with them. You’ll have the ability to see how the work, both individually and with others in the community, as well as gain insights into their general attitude.
For example, a skilled developer who is often assisting others with their coding issues will likely have a similar approach when working with the members of your team. Similarly, a person who is overly critical of others work may act similarly in the office.
If you personally don’t have the knowledge required to make the most of these communities, work with the programmers currently on your staff to evaluate potential candidates.
Test First, Interview Second
While sponsoring a coding challenge provides insights regarding a developer's skills, it won’t answer every question you have about their abilities. With that in mind, consider adding a skills test near the beginning of the recruitment process instead of after interviews.
This approach allows you to screen any candidates that actually have the technical skills you need. That way, you know every interview has the intellectual capacity to meet your needs and you can focus on other characteristics when you meet in person.
When developing the tests, focus on gathering useful information in a fun way. If the test is challenging and entertaining, you are more likely to keep the best and brightest engaged throughout the process.
Consider a Working Interview
If your initial impressions of the candidate are positive, consider scheduling a time period where they can shadow a current programming employee. This gives the candidate a chance to meet the team in a meaningful way, and the team members can learn about the candidate’s approach to some of the problems the team faces.
Often, this process requires a few hours of the candidates time, but it provides a real opportunity to see if what appears to be a match on paper, in fact, will work for the day to day.
If you are looking for additional ways to expedite your hiring process, The Armada Group can help you locate the software development candidates you need. Contact us today and speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring priorities.
The Armada Group understands that the quality of our recruiters has an enormous impact on the results we can provide to clients and job seekers. And keeping the best recruiters on staff requires effort on the part of the business. This includes creating an environment where recruiters are encouraged to work hard for every applicant and client, as well as supporting their development in the field.
As said by Mitchell Postle, a technical recruiter for The Armada Group, “Armada appreciates its employees and implements the Santa Cruz culture in the workplace, and that was very appealing for me.”
The fact that working as a recruiter provides The Armada Group employees unique opportunities, also makes the job worthwhile. Mitchell says, “My favorite part about being a recruiter is having the opportunity to help so many talented people find new roles. Even if we are not able to find someone a new job, I love building relationships and lending a helping hand in any way possible.”
Building strong relationships with every client and job seeker ensures our recruiters understand how the needs differ between various companies and job applicants. Since every candidate placement provides distinct benefits to the client business and the person who was placed, our recruiters get to see how their efforts impact the lives of everyone involved.
And, if making a particular placement is every a challenge, management at The Armada Group is always available. As Mitchell puts it, “Armada cares about every employee. They always go the extra mile to make work fun and keep everyone motivated. Keeping the high touch method of staffing in mind, the management is always available to help, and provide guidance in career growth.”
As far as any favorite client experiences, Mitchell recalls a few placements with Olsen Communications. “I have placed three consultants with [Olsen Communications], and it was a very smooth process. Even more so, I love watching our consultants grown their skills and take advantage of the in-depth training Olsen Com has to offer,” Mitchell says.
Every recruiter working for The Armada Group has the opportunity to develop their job placement skills, allowing them to make good matches between job seekers and client companies. The company provides the recruiters with a working environment that promotes team building and creates incentives to help each employee see this as a place to develop a career.
The success of The Armada Group’s recruiters directly relates to the success our client companies and applicants get to benefit with our successful placements. As the skills of every recruiter grow, you get to put that experience to work for you. Contact us today and see how our skilled recruiters can help you reach your goals.
When auto-rejection emails begin to dominate your inbox, it is tempting to explore other options to get your resume seen by the right people. One approach involves avoiding a major component of the traditional hiring mechanism: human resources.
The idea of skipping over this standard on the path to new employment is intimidating, especially if you fear repercussions associated with making such a move. However, choosing to bypass conventional routes can produce favorable results.
Before you decide if sidestepping the HR department is the right move, here are some points to consider.
Penalties are Unlikely
Most job seekers are worried that skipping past HR means you will not only get rejected from this position but from every other position that becomes available at the company. The fact is, many businesses don’t care if you work through HR or decide to contact the appropriate hiring manager directly, especially if you have in-demand skills.
Even if you were initially sent an automated rejection from HR, you could still inquire with the hiring manager directly. Most rejected applications are never seen by anyone outside of HR (or anyone at all), meaning the manager likely hasn’t reviewed your information.
If you present yourself professionally and concisely, the likelihood of fallout from your decision is minimal. Often, when going through HR is required, your email will either go unanswered, or you may be referred to the preferred hiring system.
Stay On Topic
Hiring managers are busy individuals; they don’t have time to sort through paragraphs of information and longer than necessary resumes. You need to create a tailored approach to the particular position you are interested in as well as the hiring manager that will be reviewing your information.
Keep the body of your email short. Include information regarding who you are, the reason you reached out, and an overview of what you have to offer. Don’t let the conversation drift into irrelevant areas, as that increases the likelihood of being ignored.
Networks and Referrals
If you currently know someone working at your target company, consider using them as a resource. Many companies are interested in referrals from employees, especially other top performers. Look through your professional network and determine if someone can bring your information directly to the hiring manager.
Businesses often encourage employees to refer potential candidates, especially for hard-to-fill positions. This provides a very organic approach that avoids HR naturally, so there are rarely negative connotations with the approach.
However, this only works when a current employee is willing to refer you. Some people may be uncomfortable with the idea entirely, while others may be highly selective regarding their referrals. Don’t just request a referral from someone with whom you have a limited connection. If a relationship is not already established, consider contacting them for insight regarding how the company operates. As the conversation progresses, asking for a referral may be more appropriate than blindsiding a friend of a friend with a blatant request.
Staffing companies often have unique relationships with hiring managers throughout area businesses. This means they have the ability to contact them directly when they find strong candidates, giving you a direct path to the person whom ultimately makes the hiring decisions.
Working with the professionals at The Armada Group can provide access to unique opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable to the standard job seeker. Contact our team of experts today and see how our two decades of experience in the field can help you find new opportunities.
When you're searching for a new employee, you probably spend a great deal of time thinking about the skills the new employee should possess. Have you ever spent time thinking about the most important skill your recruiter should possess? Maybe you think it's a deep network of connections, or great salesmanship that turns your humdrum job description into the most appealing job in the world.
If that's what you think, you're wrong. The most important skill any recruiter has isn't the ability to create a deep network of connections; it's the ability to connect deeply with their network. Any recruiter can match the buzzwords and acronyms on a candidate's resume to the buzzwords and acronyms in your job description. (These days, it's most likely that recruiting software takes care of that task).
The hard part isn't matching skills; it's matching expectations, which are often subtly expressed or entirely unstated. But it's matching those expectations that leads to a match that not only looks good on paper but also feels good for both the employee and the employer. When it's only the technical criteria that are matched, there's often dissatisfaction on both sides of the employee-employer relationship, and the employee is likely to move on, unhappily disrupting their life and the employer's project.
Achieving the level of understanding that helps the recruiter match expectations as well as technical skills is driven by empathy. With that quality, recruiters are able to gain an understanding of the employer's work culture. They're able to take the employer's perspective and understand what's required to succeed in the workplace. This is more than how the company expresses its values in its mission statement; it's how the company expresses its values through its actions and how it treats its employees and its customers. An empathetic recruiter is also able to take the converse position and understand the employee's perspective and values. They're able to draw out the candidate to understand what motivates them besides an interest in technology and in earning a paycheck.
The recruiters at The Armada Group have been making empathic connections with employers and job seekers for more than 20 years. Contact us to learn how our empathetic insights lead to the ideal match of candidate and position.
Working in technology can require long hours at times, so tech moms can find themselves pulled between work and family obligations. Fortunately, because of their comfort with technology, tech moms are comfortable drawing on technology as well as family to find the balance. Here are some tips:
Work from home when you need to be hands-on with the kids and hands-on at work.
If a family obligation prevents you from going into the office, make use of technology to work from home. These days, you can access every tool you'd have at your desk from your home office. Just be sure that if you need to be on a conference call, your kids are in another room.
Use mobile apps to help you get through your day.
Because your smartphone is always with you, it's a smart tool to use to plan out your day. Look for apps that help you track and coordinate everyone's calendar and check items off your to-do list.
Build a smart home.
Take advantage of Internet of Things devices to help your home run smoothly. There are smart thermostats, smart door locks, even smart plant watering systems. Most of these IoT devices let you monitor and control them from your phone, meaning you won't have to run home to make sure you locked the door.
Coordinate with colleagues.
You aren't the only one with family obligations at your workplace. Find out about your co-workers' families, and trade off support. You can swap tasks or cover for each other if you need to head home early.
Take advantage of your company's benefits.
Find out what services and support your company offers to parents. This might include on-site childcare, a nursing room, flexible schedules, and other benefits to help out parents.
Partner with your partner.
You probably aren't the only adult in your child's life. Talk to your partner, your parents, your kids' after-school coaches, and see how they can help lighten your childcare load.
Give yourself a break.
Recognize that there are always tradeoffs. You may not be a perfect mom; you may not be a perfect employee; you may not have a perfect kid. Don't aim for perfection. Aim to be happy as a mom, happy as an employee, and have a happy kid. Take a break and step away from the pressure to have it all, do it all, and be it all.
Are you a working mom trying to find the right balance in your professional and personal lives? The Armada Group can help you find a job that allows you to be your best at home and at the office.
Job descriptions may attract you to a job, but they're rarely a good description of the role. The person who prepares the description may not really know anything about the job. It may be the same description used on another job in another department. It may list technologies the project isn’t using, or omit important aspects of the job, such as on-call production support.
This means you can't simply trust a job description to tell you what skills are really needed and what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis if you get hired. You need to do some research and ask questions to find out the truth about the job.
Ask about the technology being used on the project and in the job you're being hired for.
Most projects use multiple technologies, but not all roles will use every technology. Find out for certain which languages will be used by the job you're being interviewed for so you can be certain it's a language you want to program in.
Clarify the scope of the position.
Not all programming positions are alike. Some have you spending all your time coding to someone else's design. Other's require you to spend time talking to business users to figure out the requirements long before you write any code. There's nothing wrong with either kind of shop, as long as the responsibilities of the role match what you want to do.
Get feedback on the company from current and former employees.
During your interview, pay attention to the tone as well as the comments expressed by your interviewers. Try to gauge whether they're genuinely enthusiastic about the work and the company. If you have any contacts within the company, get their opinions about the company and the department you'd be working in. If you know people who've left the company, ask them why.
A staffing agency can also give you insight into a job and a company. The recruiters at The Armada Group are skilled at matching candidates with the right opportunity. Contact us to learn how we can help you read between the lines of a job ad to find a job that will truly advance your career.