Ask James Caan – Issue 90
The webrecruit team has been busy this week compiling results from its latest survey looking into IT jobseeker trends. Nearly 600 IT professionals took part, and shared with us what it is that they look for in their next job.
Interestingly, it highlighted just how much the market is changing. For example, it showed salary isn’t always the deciding factor when applying for a role rather the potential for career progression is becoming much more important. These findings will be extremely useful to those employers seeking to expand their IT teams in the near future.
Remaining on the theme of IT, let’s look at Tony Salmon’s situation. Tony got in contact with me recently asking me how to break into the IT profession following his time of studying.
‘I am looking for a junior IT support job role as I have just completed my studying, but every where I look people are offering jobs which are far too advanced for me or are far more experienced people. How do I break into the IT industry?’
The good news, Tony, is that you have your sights set on an industry that’s showing great signs of activity. With initiatives such as Tech City, growing employer confidence and an increase in job postings led by the IT and computing sector – the industry is presenting many opportunities for IT professionals.
Your challenge is showing how you can add value to a potential employer when you have little/no commercial experience. You need to remove any risk they may associate with recruiting an entry-level candidate; and build a strong case for why you are the best person for the job.
So how can you compete against this? It’s all about differentiating yourself and becoming smarter with the way you market yourself.
Qualifications are a great way to start your career, but it’s what you do with them next that will set you apart from other candidates. To increase your chances, you must align the skills you have acquired to the right career path for you.
Go beyond what most job seekers would do. Put in more than 100%. Ensure you don’t fire your CV off to a few recruiters, instead – start talking to hiring managers. Learn the language they speak, the keywords they look for in an application, and use this to your advantage. Use the knowledge pools available to you: talk to lecturers from your course, research IT companies in your area, and let everyone you know you’re keen to enter the IT industry. It will seem incredibly hard work, but the perseverance will pay off.
As an employer myself, applicants that go above and beyond in the recruitment process really stand out to me. You don’t have to have the most experience or the latest certifications – show me why you’re worth investing in and that will get my attention.
Is there a particular specialism or company you’d like to work for? I’m sure you will agree IT support is a wide area, but it also provides a great stepping stone to enter the profession as well as plenty of chances to put your skills into practice. Not only does it require a good understanding of the latest software and trends, but you’ll be required to display good communication skills and problem-solving abilities to help customers. So ensure to market yourself as the full package – someone who is aware of the latest trends, but can also work well in a team and with clients.
Especially in today’s market, I encourage job seekers to cast a wider net when searching for job opportunities. Therefore, in addition to finding your USP – your unique selling point that differentiates you – ensure to use complementary job search tools that will aid your chosen career path. And remember, pushing the boundaries and moving out of your comfort zone will deliver the most effective results.