In this series we look at all the aspects you should consider in depth before searching for a new job. My aim is to help you better understand your career options and how you can give yourself the best chance of achieving them, whilst avoiding the pitfalls some people fall into every day.
Now you’ve decided to look for a new position, and you know why, I bet you didn’t think that you would have to brush up on your sales skills – what’s this got to do with a technical job you ask?
Outside of a personal / professional referral, you will need some sort of billboard or advert screaming out your abilities – traditionally this is your CV. But, in this modern age of Social Media and mobile computing, is the traditional CV still up to the job? What other types of CV’s are out there? Video CV’s, Linked-In, Online Portfolio, Forums, Your Social Media footprint – it all counts. What are you using / doing that screams Hire Me?
In this global marketplace, you need to think about how you are going to showcase your skills to the world and what you want to say.
Even today, your CV is still the main selling tool you have. Potential employers are looking to get some hard facts about you and get a feel for your career and skills to date. This is an employer’s first look at you, and your fellow competitor applicants, so you need to get it right and make an impact. It needs to sell you, to present you in a realistic but positive light. Does it? Do you need a video CV? While I won’t go into detail in this series as to what makes the best CV, if you want some help, please contact me via the link below.
If you’re not familiar with Linked-In – you need to be. The world’s most popular professional networking site, it’s like an online version of your CV, but much more. With networking and searching tools, it’s a great place to get noticed, to market your skills to a selective audience and to develop your knowledge within the bounds of your target network. Find out more here.
A decade or so ago, a CV and a decent professional reference was all that was needed to land that perfect job. These days, employers are a bit savvy and want to know if you really are that passionate developer that you say you are, that true technologist. If you love what you do, it won’t be a 9 to 5 job. You will be contributing to online technical forums, out there attending conferences and seminars, maybe even speaking at them. You will exist online and be active in your technical field. If you are into technology and don’t exist online – these days, you don’t exist at all. Don’t let that be the reason you didn’t land the job you really wanted. Be passionate!
OK, so you do exist online. You have a Twitter account, you contribute to Stack Overflow and GitHub, but Facebook is just for personal stuff – right? If it’s online, it’s out there! These days, whether it’s personal or work related, everything is searchable and potential employers will search you if they’re keen to hire you. What will they find? Lots of swearing in GitHub forums? Debauch pictures on Facebook? Crazy rantings on Twitter? A slick bit of code on Stack Overflow? An intelligent debate on diversity in tech on Linked-In? These things matter and are part of how you sell yourself, and how you are perceived by a potential employer. There is nothing wrong with being yourself or having an opinion, just think careful about how it might be perceived by a prospective employer.
None of us are perfect.
Things happen in life and rather than try to hide the odd mistake or that certain something that may not be seen by an employer as desirable, be honest and upfront about it. If you’ve had some gaps in employment, don’t try covering it up with vague dates on your CV, simply explain why. If you made a mad career choice and left a new position after a short period, don’t leave it off your CV, but be upfront about it and explain why it wasn’t right for you, and talk about the valuable lesson you learned from the experience. If you don’t have experience of a particular technology, don’t say ‘I have knowledge of Agile methodology’ and try and blag your way into a job because you once worked with a person who knew Agile. Say that you don’t have experience of Agile but you really want to work in an Agile environment … and back this up by going on a course.
My advice to you is this.
Honesty and a bit of effort will get you a long way. Blagging or outright deception won’t. Before you leap into the unknown and start looking for that new job, take the time to make the ‘unknown’ the ‘known’. Take control of your footprint and make sure you are selling the right image to potential employers or investors.
The next article in our Career Advice Series is called Where to begin.
By Roger Mills, Co-founder of Think IT Recruitment.
As always, if there’s anything in this article you would like to discuss, please start a conversation or get in touch with me.