IT Job Hunting 101

by Jim Staats | Jul 25, 2011

So you’ve found your calling, you’ve done the training and now it’s time to seek employment in the IT industry. Don’t let the economic doom and gloom get you down. \Here are some helpful hiring tips sure to re-ignite that energetic spark you felt when you discovered the industry of your dreams.

1) Highlight your specialty. It goes without saying, even though we’re saying it, that the IT industry contains a vast array of specialty fields. The first thing a prospective IT professional on the job hunt must do is think about exactly what kind of job in computing is the goal. Each job has its own special requirements, so you should assess your skills to help decide which role might be best for you. If you’re unsure of just where you might best fit in, look at industry trends or new fields such as cloud computing to steer your aim toward what is most needed. Traditional programming jobs may be shifting to China, but the interest is soaring these days for roles in business analysis, security, testing and compliance, just to name a few.

According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Labor, the occupation of network systems and data communications analyst ranks second among the top 50 fastest growing occupations forecast for 2008-2018, with an estimated 53 percent increase over that period. Following somewhat closely behind in the study are applications software engineers, in 15th place with an estimated 34 percent growth, and systems software engineers, nearing the halfway point at the 24th spot, with an estimated 30 percent growth over the same time period.

The same study showed that network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, according to 68 percent of chief information officers who responded. Desktop support ranked second, with 66 percent of the response, followed by Windows administration at 56 percent.

Learn more about various IT career paths and how CompTIA can help.

2) Find a mentor. You may consider yourself knowledgeable on everything under the sun about the technical trade, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone you know who knows more than you do about channeling that knowledge into a profession. Find out where the computer folks hang out. Begin to network with anyone you know within the industry and pick the brains of those willing to share advice about their fields, their personal entry and who they know. You’ll be surprised how much informaiton you can gather just by talking to people working in the field. The saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is even more sage in this age of social media and networking.

Knowing someone on the inside of a company can help give a “bump” to your resume. If a resume is submitted by an employee, most companies will conduct an interview as a courtesy, even if the resume doesn’t quite meet their qualification requirements. The interview, then, is the time to show them what you know. Be prepared to be quizzed and never list something on your resume you don’t consider yourself competent in or are prepared to discuss at length.

3) Don’t rest on your laurels. It doesn’t matter if you just graduated, completed a training course or earned an IT certification. The IT industry never rests. Neither should you if you want to jump into the fray. Keep on top of industry trends and updates in your field by reading whatever online research you can find on your field of interest, look up any recent books published on the subject and seek out any trade associations which can help keep you on top of the topics of the day.

4) Announce your credibility. Make sure to highlight any formal training specifically geared toward the IT profession in your resume. According to the 2011 Job Outlook report penned by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, computer science is considered one of the five most marketable college degrees in today’s economy. “As is typically the case, business and engineering majors, plus those earning degrees in technical fields, including computer science, are most in demand at the bachelor’s degree level,” states the NACE study.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that job opportunities for computer scientists are expected to grow 24 percent through 2018, according to a recent study.

If you have previous computer work experience, be sure to bring attention to your qualifications in a “skills” section that lists the technical skills you’ve acquired. Keep in mind that your resume is a written representation of you and must look extremely professional. You are submitting this to experts in their field who may take as much interest into how the resume is put together as what is on it.

5) Communication is king. Business skills and communication skills are highly sought after by employers. Technicians who can communicate effectively both verbally and in writing have an edge in a competitive job market. Those with business skills, especially an MBA, are also considered hot commodities.

6) Certify. IT certifications are a good way to prove industry standard knowledge and make you somewhat more independent of a rock-solid IT background and years of experience. Allowing you to zero in on a specialty within the industry, accreditation in your field can often prove more valuable than multiple years of a college education.

Consider the following companies that recommend or require CompTIA certifications as part of the hiring process.

Leave a Comment

Boost your Career with a Certification

Find out more about our Certifications

How to get Certified

4 Steps to Certification

Already certified? Let us and others know!

Share Your Story