You work at your job, but do you work at your career? Whether you're happy in your current position and can't imagine wanting to leave, or are so busy with projects inside and outside the office that you don't have time to think about it, it's dangerous to assume the job you have is safe and permanent.
Stable companies can be upended by unexpected changes in the market, leading to layoffs, and changes in technology can mean that the technical skill set that got you hired is no longer needed. In order to be prepared to cope with challenges like these, make time every year to review your career, your goals, and the actions you need to take to keep your job or find a new one.
Review Your Career Goals Regularly.
The goals you had when you took your current job may not be appropriate for you anymore. Make sure you're still excited by the opportunities that will be available to you in the future if you keep doing what you're doing. If you aren't, identify where you want to go next on your career journey and what you need to do to get there.
Build Your Network.
If something happens and your current position was to go away, the best way to find a new opportunity is through talking with your contacts. Take advantage of LinkedIn and in-person networking opportunities to stay in touch and update your former colleagues with what's happening in your professional career and to make new professional connections.
Learn a New Skill.
Know what industry changes are happening and take a class or work on a personal project using one of the new technologies that's becoming popular. You should also work on developing your interpersonal skills, because those will help you impress on interviews as well as succeed at the office.
Keep an Eye on the Job Market.
Even if you don't expect to transition to a new job this year, become aware of what technologies and roles are in demand. You should also track the salaries being offered for the job you currently have; it's common for long-term employees to lag behind market rates as raises don't keep pace.
Be Aware of What's Happening in Your Company.
The better you're plugged in at your workplace, the less surprised you'll be by anything that happens. Maintain a good relationship with your boss, and take advantage of one-on-one and skip-level meetings to gain insight into corporate plans.
Talking with recruiters is also a great way to become informed of what's happening in the job market. A recruiter can let you know what openings exist and what changes they see happening. At the Armada Group, our hot jobs database lets you see what skills companies are hiring. Check out what's in demand, and if you decide you're ready for a change after all, contact us to start getting connected to opportunity.
If there was something easy you could do to make yourself stand out from other job seekers, you would do it, right? Well, there is something you can do that your competition doesn't: include a cover letter when you submit your resume through an online job application. Rather than skipping over that optional field, take advantage of it to sell yourself and highlight your skills in ways that just uploading your resume fails to do.
You'll stand out.
For starters, most people who upload their resume won't include a cover letter, so you'll stand out. Taking the time to write a cover letter emphasizes you have real interest in this position.
You can explain how you fit.
While it's true a lot of resumes are scanned and matched for keywords, your cover letter can help explain how you match the job opportunity even if it isn't obvious from your work history.
You demonstrate writing skills.
One place resumes fall down is in demonstrating communication skills. Incomplete sentences are the norm and sections tend to be a single paragraph per heading. Writing a cover letter lets you demonstrate you can write effectively, which is still a necessary skill on technical jobs.
You make reviewing your resume personal.
Cover letters tell the person reviewing your documents something personal about your goals. You're no longer an anonymous stranger, and they'll connect better with the details included on your resume.
You can be creative.
Resumes are formulaic, and by the time they get in front of a reviewer, they may be stripped down to fit inside the company's candidates database format. Your cover letter provides an opportunity to present your information structured differently and make it more enjoyable for the reviewer.
Whether you're ready to find a new job or need to hire the best, The Armada Group's recruiters work to match the right job to the right candidate. Rather than sending cookie-cutter resumes, we work to personalize the job-hunting process and help candidates stand out in the search. Contact us to learn how our services can help make the job hunt and hiring processes faster and easier for you.
It's no secret that social media can be an enormous time waster. Facebook connects you with family, friends, acquaintances, and people whose names you barely recognize. You're bombarded with updates on everything that's going on in their lives. A lot of it has no importance to you, but you still find yourself accepting every invitation, reading every update, glancing at every photo, and clicking every shared link.
LinkedIn is a different sort of social network, with much more emphasis on meaningful business connections. In many cases, joining groups, reading company pages, following posts, and connecting with individuals can provide insights that help you succeed in your career. Even so, making the most effective use of LinkedIn requires some thought, or you can waste time as easily as on other social sites. It's less about the size of your network, and more about the quality of your network.
Connect with others in your industry.
Particularly for job seekers, connecting with others in the industry is a great way to keep up with what's happening in the industry. Not only can connections share technical information, they can connect you to job openings at their company. Plus, their own job moves can clue you into openings that aren't public, or to new projects and other changes in the industry that can lead to opportunities for you.
Connect with people in your community.
Although technology makes your geographic location less important than it used to be, you're more likely to look for work in your own neighborhood, rather than look into relocating. Your local connections can make you aware of technology opportunities in other industries that you wouldn't have thought to explore. You can also find opportunities to attend local training events and seminars, plus local in-person networking events. Face-to-face contact is still the best way to make a genuine connection.
Connect with your past contacts.
Connecting online is an easy way to keep in touch with people you interacted with professionally in the past – connect with your former professors, former co-workers, and former managers. All those people know about you, your interests, and your abilities, and maintaining a connection means they may think of you when an opportunity arises.
One other connection you should maintain? Connect with IT recruiters who understand your background and what you hope to achieve in your career. At The Armada Group, our experienced recruiters get to know candidates, so we can match you with the perfect opportunity. Connect with us on LinkedIn or contact us to get started.
When you do the same thing over and over again, you develop expertise. Being an expert is valuable in your career, but sometimes doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. Changing technical specialties gives you the chance to develop new skills and new challenges, and it doesn't have to mean taking an entry-level position and salary. Use these five tips to transition to a new IT specialty, and find new excitement at work.
Choose the right new specialty.
Before making a change, make sure the position you're moving into offers the kinds of challenges you enjoy. If you've been working in technical support, but hate dealing with users, you'll probably find working as a business analyst equally frustrating. But you might enjoy working as a QA tester, which often has little need for interacting with end users and can leverage your familiarity with the kinds of problems that occur in systems.
Discuss making a change with your manager.
While your current employer may view you in a specific way and have trouble seeing you in another capability, if you have a good relationship with your manager, talking with them can help make a transition feasible. Your manager can let you know what skills you'll need to make the move, inform you about current openings, and talk you up to the hiring manager for the new position.
You'll need to develop the skills needed for the new specialty before applying for a transfer or job with another firm. Take advantage of any training your company offers; companies often have libraries of online courses available to any employee. You can also take courses outside of work. Completing a sequence of courses and earning a recognized certificate will attest to both your skills and commitment to do the work in the new specialty.
Leverage your current experience.
When you prepare your resume and answer interview questions, relate your past and current project experience to the demands of the new role. For example, if you worked as a QA tester, you've developed insights into the kinds of bugs coders create that can help you write less buggy code if you switch to a programming role.
Consider working for a smaller company.
In smaller businesses, employees need to wear many hats. You won't be locked into a single specific job function, giving you the chance to experience many roles. Not only will you develop multiple skill sets, you'll get insights that help make sure the next specialty you commit to is one you'll enjoy for the rest of your career.
Ready to make a change? At The Armada Group, our recruiting specialists see you as a whole person, not just the skills you've used in your previous jobs. We'll work with you to understand what you want to achieve in your career and match you to job opportunities that allow you to grow. Contact us to seamlessly switch to your new IT specialty.
Companies that have a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage. The different perspectives and insights that employees bring from their various backgrounds help companies shape products that appeal to the widest possible audience.
Recruiting that diverse workforce takes a concerted effort. Certainly, pictures on your website send a message about who works for you, but that isn't enough to attract diverse workers. You need to actively reach out and take steps to appeal to the diverse population.
Make a Visible Commitment to Diversity
As with most things, the commitment to success begins at the top. The best way to demonstrate that you're committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is to have diversity in the most publicly visible layer of employees—senior, board-level management. The new generation of employees, Millennials, takes diversity seriously and is likely to dismiss you as a potential employer if they don't see a truly diverse workforce.
Define Diversity Broadly
Define what diversity means for your business and make sure it's a broad definition: race, religion, age, social background, and other factors all give people different perspectives that are valuable when shared in in the workplace.
Develop a Recruitment Plan
Don't wait for diverse workers to reach out to you. Actively reach out and recruit through organizations that serve people of different backgrounds. Student groups and ethnic professional associations are great places to find talented potential employees. Churches and cultural institutions can also connect you with a diverse population.
Support Diverse Employees at Work
Once you've hired a diverse workforce, make sure the environment encourages them to remain at your business. Provide mentors and other programs to help these employees succeed. Having diverse upper management helps remind these workers that success at this company is possible. Make diversity training mandatory and take visible action if discriminatory behavior occurs.
Diverse workplaces are successful workplaces. The Armada Group's talent database can connect you with skilled employees from many different backgrounds. Contact us to work with a recruiter who will understand your business needs and match you with the talent that will help your business grow.
Java is still one of the most widely used programming languages, which means there are lots of opportunities but also lots of competition. Position yourself to stand out from your peers with these tips.
Core Java is a foundation, but not enough to get you hired.
Enhance your database skills.
Every application needs to get its data from somewhere, and most need to store results, as well. SQL databases are still standard, but NoSQL is becoming more important.
Be fully agile.
Almost all companies use some variant of the agile development methodology to manage their projects. Be prepared to explain how agile works and how it's affected your approach to building your applications. Demonstrate the interpersonal skills needed to participate in agile scrums and planning sessions.
Boost your communication skills.
Defining requirements is still the top challenge facing most software projects. Even if your team has business analysts who write the specifications, the better you can communicate with your business users, the better the applications you'll create.
Earning relevant certifications like the Oracle Certified Expert Java EE Web Component Developer not only shows you know your stuff, it shows you are committed to developing your skills to the top of the profession.
Identify the career path you want to follow.
You'll help employers see how you'll fit into their organization long-term if you are clear on the career you want to have. Whether you plan to remain technical or want to move into management, be able to speak to this and show how you're developing the skills that will keep you valuable – even after the project with the opening is complete.
Do you have top Java skills? The Armada Group can connect you with top Java job opportunities. Take a look at the opportunities to see where your skills can take you, and then contact us to show off your talent.
The more you know about a company before going in for an interview, the better you'll do. You'll have a comfort level of knowledge about what they're looking for, and you'll be able to highlight your skills and experience to match their needs. Understanding a potential employer requires more than simply glancing at their website. Follow this list of things you should do to thoroughly research a company before your interview.
Look at the company website.
Start here, and dig far beyond the landing page. Read about the company's mission, their values, and their products. Take a look at the biographies of management and employees to see if your background is similar. Explore the recruiting section thoroughly; it may tell you what to expect when you come in to the office. There may be interviews or videos with current employees telling you what it's like to work for the company. If they have the information publicly available, read through the benefits section to get a sense of how employees are really treated. Check out their competitors, too, to see how they compare.
Check out the company's social media.
Take a look at the company's posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The first two will let you see how the company interacts with the public and whether there are lots of complaints about their products. LinkedIn offers a more professional view of the company. You can view profiles of company employees and see any posts offering perspectives on the industry.
Hear what employees have to say.
If you have friends who work for the company, ask them for the true inside scoop. While their opinions are the best source, knowing the person lets you know how much weight to give their opinion. Are they perpetually happy, go-with-the-flow types or does every little thing upset them? Use that to give some shade to the information they share. If you don't have friends who work for the company, search for online reviews at sites like Glassdoor. Just be aware that the review sites may not verify that the commenter really works for the company, and you don't have all the necessary information to decide if their opinion is valid.
When you've done your company and industry research and are ready for the interview, The Armada Group will match you to the right open position. Contact us and let our recruiters help prepare you for your interviews and the next step in your career.
Recruiting new employees is as much about wooing as is it about screening. You want to find the right hire, and that requires attracting candidates who can help your projects succeed as well as screening out those who just don't fit. In order to draw candidates to you, treat them the way they want to be treated. When it comes to recruiting developers, this means:
Go beyond acronyms.
Developer resumes are filled with acronyms and buzzwords, which present easy filtering criteria. Think about it from the developer's perspective, though: the acronyms on their resume represent every technology they've ever worked with, not just the tech they work with now or the tech they want to work with in the future. Instead of mass mailing or calling every candidate with the skills you need on their resume, take the time to read the resume and see if their experience with that skill is recent. You might think it's more efficient to let the candidates screen themselves out, but overloading their inboxes with inappropriate job listings hurts your reputation and can cause candidates to ignore every mail from you – even if it describes a job they'd be perfect for.
Don't rely on interviews.
Sure, development is a team effort and everyone needs to be able to interact with their peers. But unless you're hiring a lead or support role, most programming jobs are more about spending time with a keyboard than time with people. So while the interview is necessary, don't overemphasize it; many developers simply are introverts and won't do well when pinned down for verbal answers. Instead, use tests to verify a candidate's technical ability to do the job. And when you give those tests, don't make developers talk through their solution standing in front of a white board. No one works that way in reality. Instead, let the programmers develop their solution sitting in front of a computer – the way they will when they're on the job.
Present the job the way it really is.
Both resumes and job descriptions have an element of exaggeration to them; after all, they're both advertisements, in a way. Despite that, don't stretch the truth in your job description or when speaking with candidates in person. Don't try to make the job seem more exciting than it really is. If it's mostly maintenance of existing code rather than new development or there's little opportunity for advancement, be honest about that. It might cost you the chance to hire this particular candidate, but hiring someone who then quits because the job isn't what they signed up for is more expensive.
The Armada Group has been recruiting top technical employees for more than 20 years. We understand the way developers think and what they're looking for at work, and are the experts at matching developers to opportunities. Contact us to talk about your hiring needs and how we can help you recruit the right developer the right way.
Picking the right technology to learn is important to position yourself for job and career success. Languages and technology vary in how in-demand they are in industry; if you choose to learn a language that's in high demand, you'll have lots of opportunities to choose from. For developers today, the language to learn is Python.
Python is Easy to Learn
Learning Python is relatively easy, compared to other programming languages. The syntax isn't cluttered with brackets; you don't need to declare variables and can just use them as you need them. There's less code needed to accomplish basic tasks. Because the language is object oriented and has built-in support for data structures like lists, programmers can quickly start building application functionality rather than application infrastructure. Because it's interpreted, you can easily test the code you write as you go along, rather than needing to define a complicated and time-consuming build process.
Python is Used in Industry
One of the biggest companies pushing Python is Google, where it's used as part of the Google App Engine and YouTube. With Google a major driver of technical innovation, it's no surprise that its support for the language has boosted its popularity. Other major companies that use Python cross every industry you can think of—the list includes Yahoo, Industrial Light & Magic, ABN AMRO, the National Weather Service, and more.
These companies like Python because it is efficient and powerful, and there are numerous libraries and frameworks that make developing substantial applications. Django is a popular framework for web development, and other frameworks provide features such as numerical analysis. The language is also portable, with versions that run on any platform, giving companies the flexibility of supporting multiple operating systems.
Python Gets You Hired
There's continued to be an increase in need for Python programmers, making them among the most in-demand and highest-paid developers. If you've got top Python skills and are ready to take on a new opportunity, The Armada Group can help you find a job that'll challenge and excite you. Contact us to start your search.
You may think hiring decisions are made in the face-to-face interaction between a candidate and hiring manager at an interview. But the reality is that the most crucial hiring decision comes long before the candidate ever arrives at the job site for that interview; it comes when the potential employee decides whether or not they want to apply for the job.
These days, the candidate almost certainly finds out about a job and fills out their application online. When a candidate submits an application, that's like completing the checkout process at an online store; when they don't, that's equivalent to abandoning their shopping cart.
By realizing candidates are your recruiting processes' end user, you can apply the methods of user experience design to create a candidate experience that doesn't drive away potential employees.
As with any user experience design, the user needs to be part of the design. While your systems need to be designed to support the HR and recruiting teams, they aren't the only users – depending on your objectives, they may not even be the most important users.
This means companies need to interact with candidates not only to decide whether to hire them but to get their feedback on the systems and process. Simple surveys likely aren't enough to capture the deep understanding of user attitudes.
You may not be able to induce candidates who choose not to apply to talk with you about why not, and candidates who don't get the job may not be interested in talking with you any longer, but you should be able to glean solid feedback from the potential employees who become actual employees. Integrate collecting feedback about the online hiring process into your onboarding process; by making it a routine task, you won't miss any opportunity for gathering data.
Then make sure that data doesn't simply go into a report but is actually acted upon to improve your systems. Remember you want to encourage candidates to apply and keep streamlining the process as your goal. While systems can't be replaced overnight, there will always be a need to hire new employees, so you should always be motivated to make changes as soon as possible.
Whether or not your online process is candidate-friendly, positive word of mouth will encourage potential applicants to press "submit." When you work with The Armada Group, our recruiters take the time to fully understand what you're looking for in talent so we can help candidates understand why they should want to work for you. Contact us to start improving your candidate experience now.