Give Potential Employers Something to Think About
Everyone is aware that the technology job market has done a complete 180-degree turnaround in recent years. The pendulum has swung, and techies, who until recently were heavily courted, now face fierce job competition. While some experts predict a slight uptick in IT hiring, the future is uncertain, and recruiters’ candidate pools have reached unprecedented levels in many specialties.
Because recruiters today are so overwhelmed with resumes from technology professionals, you have about 30 seconds to effectively catch a recruiter’s eye by communicating your qualifications and differentiating yourself as a potential employee—often from hundreds of other job-seekers.
The goal is to communicate your qualifications quickly and precisely, attracting and maintaining the recruiter or job manager’s attention. In competitive times like these, a little creative extra effort and attention to detail goes a long way in positioning yourself as the right candidate for the job. Here are a few tips:
- Make Sure Your Skills Are Current. Any additional skills you have aside from those that are required for the job can make you that much more valuable to a potential employer. So keep current on the latest technologies and take the time to get certified, especially for high-demand skills.
- Include a Well-Written Cover Letter. Sound basic? It is, but it is also amazing how many people send cover letters riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Your letter is your first impression—make it a good one. Remember, employers today want all employees to be good communicators, regardless of the job requirements. Customize your cover letter and, in addition to checking spelling, carefully evaluate the content to make sure you are communicating articulately and concisely the reasons you are the ideal candidate for the job. Address the most important job criteria in the first paragraph. If they want someone with specific experience and you have it, that is how you should begin. Today’s recruiters more often than not are looking for a reason to put your resume in the “no” pile. Don’t give them a reason because you lack something as basic as an attention-getting cover letter.
- Present a Standout Resume. Cut out the fluff and include as much meat—job experience, skills, training, noteworthy and relevant achievements—as possible. Don’t expect recruiters to decipher a jargon-filled or poorly constructed resume. Most recruiters discard resumes that aren’t reader-friendly. Customize your resume each time you submit it so that the skills and experiences most important to the employer stand out. Get to the point right away with attention-getting bullets and descriptions. Be specific about your experience and your career goals. For example, who doesn’t want to “work in a friendly environment that provides opportunity for growth?” Start your resume with why you are the exact fit for the advertised position. Recruiters are scanning your resumes very quickly to figure that out—cover that first and save your personal interests and career objectives for the interview or near the end of the resume. Highlighting, bolding or changing font color on your skills that match the job requirements is a good idea.
- Keep in Touch. If a recruiter responds favorably to your resume, don’t be afraid to follow up and show persistence. How often you communicate—and the method of communication used—can vary according to your individual preference and best judgment. As long as you are getting encouraging responses, you should follow up at least weekly.
Whether or not you get the position you applied for, if you click with a recruiter, check in periodically. Recruiters have their fingers on the pulse of a job market. Make a good impression on the recruiters you are in contact with, and it can help open the door to a number of interesting, new opportunities.
Don Weis is a recruiting director for Spherion Technology, a leading provider of IT staffing, consulting and managed services. More information is available at www.spheriontechnology.com.