Wednesday, Dec 18 2013

5 Common IT Job Search Mistakes

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Looking for a job in the competitive tech market can be an exercise in frustration. If your IT job search doesn’t seem to be getting you any closer to landing a job, it might be the competition, or maybe your resume. Or you could be making one or more of these common mistakes that many IT pros stumble into during a job hunt.

Read on to learn more about potential IT job search problems, and how you can correct them.

Skipping the planning and preparation stage

A lot of IT job seekers brush off their resume and dive right in, without giving a thought to job search strategy. This mistake leads to hours of wasted time and a faster onset of burnout as you fail to make progress.

Maybe you’re spending all your time sifting through the hundreds of listings on job boards, or Googling for new leads. Maybe you’re only dedicating a few minutes to finding a potential position and firing off your resume. Whatever you’re doing, if you haven’t planned ahead of time then it’s probably not working.

Look at your schedule and block out some time to focus on your job search. To stop yourself from spending most of that time crawling through job postings, use your first session to set up alerts for the type of position you want—either through Google or directly on job boards. Then you’ll have opportunities waiting for you to investigate when you sit down to job hunt in earnest.

Applying the spaghetti method

Throwing your resume all over the place and hoping it sticks somewhere is not only a poor strategy. It’s also likely to land you a job you won’t like, which means you’ll have to start the job search process all over again. With this method, you’ll waste time chasing down leads that don’t pan out—and the evidence of your scattershot job search will dilute the message you’re sending to potential employers.

Make sure you know what you’re looking for, and focus your efforts on jobs that match. Also, don’t rely solely on job boards and recruiters, which might be the least effective avenues for real job opportunities. It’s better to concentrate on expanding your business network and finding leads through the connections you make.

Too much tech talk

How long is your resume? By nature, IT resumes usually have more content than other industries—but if yours is a sprawling, eight-page document that reads like a manual, it’s time to revise. Listing every single detail of your career can backfire if it goes on longer than two or three pages. At that point, impressive turns into tedious, and you’ve lost most hiring managers’ interest.

This mistake also applies to interviews. While you can and should mention your technical skills during a job interview, it’s better to keep that discussion brief and focus on your soft skills. You landed the interview on the strength of the technical information in your resume—so the interview itself is the time to show you’re a good fit for the company.

Trashing your past (or current) employer

Plenty of IT pros have had miserable work experiences. But if you’re using your interview time to bad-mouth a rotten boss, there’s more at risk than the chance your interviewer knows your former employer. You’re also making yourself a poor candidate. The hiring company only has your side of the story when it comes to bad employment experiences, and they may default to thinking you’re a complainer.

So be honest about why the bad situation didn’t work out, but stay respectful. Instead of talking trash about the employer, focus on how you met the challenge of a difficult work environment.

And if you’re currently employed, whether your boss is good or bad, don’t use your work email address as your contact information during your job search.

Failing to follow up

This may be the number one mistake IT pros make in a job search. Many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to collect candidate resumes and scan for keywords before they start scheduling interviews—and with hundreds of resumes sent this way, it’s easy to lose a few in the shuffle.

During the application process, look for contact information for each company where you can direct questions. Then, once you’ve uploaded your resume, send a follow-up email that reinforces your interest in the job and asks for verification that your application packet was received.

You should also follow-up any interviews you go on with a thank-you email, including anything you forgot to mention during the interview. Simply following up can help you stand out from other candidates, and increase your chances of being hired.

If you are looking for technical job opportunities in California, contact us today.