Five Job Search Tips for Tech Pros

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Job Search Tips With employment opportunities exploding for technology and analysis positions, especially in the financial services sector, tech job seekers need to focus on their "personal branding" and emphasize their responsibilities, and not just their roles, as they begin to prepare to make a job move in 2011.

"Marketing oneself -- or personal branding -- is generally not a strong suit for many technology professionals serving the financial services industry because they enter the job market so infrequently," said Kathy Harris, managing director at Harris Allied. "They tend to focus more on their individual roles, project successes or the operational aspects of their last position rather than their responsibilities toward contributing to the larger organization."

She adds, "Instead, they need to correlate their skills with the concrete value those skills can add to an organization as a whole and bring those accomplishments to light during the search process."

Harris believes job prospects for the first quarter of 2011 appear excellent and advises that now is the time for technology professionals to do the following five things as they rethink their personal branding before embarking on a job search:

1. Think 'personal brand'

A personal brand can best be described as your public image and should focus on:

  • Knowledge -- your unique skills, education, business and industry expertise.
  • Reputation -- whom you know, who knows you, and what they say about you.
  • Packaging -- your entire presentation, including resume; interpersonal, communication and listening skills, and interview style.

2. Supercharge your resume

A bulleted resume is easier to scan for key skills and industry experience. List accomplishments and projects on the resume to give the hiring manager context in regards to your position, responsibilities, and skill set.

  • Make sure your resume reflects accomplishments that you are most proud of -- what you've made, saved, or achieved in a position.
  • Include a bullet point on your resume if you've been responsible for an impactful project -- maybe enterprise architecture design, a data center move, or restructuring; those are concrete examples of creating efficiencies for the firm.
  • Include key words relevant to the role. If a job description requires a specific skill, candidates should make sure it appears prominently in both the body of the resume and in the technical summary. If your resume is submitted to a database, it will likely be retrieved through a search function that is keyword-focused.
  • Resume length should correlate to your years of professional experience -- three pages for an experienced candidate, two pages for a more junior candidate; for an entry level job seeker, one page is perfectly acceptable.

3. Prepare for your interview

Perform research on the company and their technical initiatives so you can provide context for the interview and explain how you can most effectively add value to the business.

  • Image and presentation are key to a successful personal brand. Make sure you find out about the corporate culture, and wear what you would on your "best day."
  • Your suit doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need to fit well. You should feel comfortable and confident walking into an interview.
  • Attend to personal grooming -- make sure your shoes are polished, your hair is cut, and the briefcase or portfolio containing your resume is neat and professional.

4. Promote your accomplishments in your interview

When discussing your involvement in a project, include the original problem, solution and results.

  • If you're discussing a project with a non-technical hiring manager it's perfectly acceptable to ask them to please let you know if they'd like more technical details.
  • Offer specifics about your project involvements and your role as a team member.
  • Give a brief description of the project, including name/location/scale, and the phases in which you contributed as well as the deliverables you produced or to which you contributed.
  • Remember to put your accomplishments in a broader context and speak to how they apply to the organization or department as a whole.

5. Perform a social media search
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and complete.
  • Review your Facebook profile and delete any unflattering (or worse) pictures.
  • Google yourself -- look for images, videos, quotes, etc. Assume that at some point in your job search or screening process a company will do this as part of their due diligence process.
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