By Dr. Deanne Larson
Faculty Member, Information Technology at American Public University
The global economy has recovered slowly since the economic crisis of 2008, but this recovery has brought increasing demand for skilled and talented IT employees. In the sea of qualified individuals, how do you boost your IT profile and get noticed? First, you must answer some key questions: What are my strongest skills? What am I most qualified to do? Why do you need to answer these questions? The answers will ensure you get noticed for the right reasons by matching your strengths to a potential employer’s opportunity.
Once you have identified your strengths, list them. Do you have a particular technical skill or certification that may distinguish you from others? Don’t forget interpersonal skills. You might think that interpersonal skills are not as important as technical skills, but employers want not only technicians, they want productive, communicative employees. Do you have strengths in project management or other leadership roles? If so, list these as well.
Resume or CV
You should have a one-page resume highlighting your strengths including your latest certifications and accomplishments. Focus on ensuring your strengths are represented in a keyword format. Keywords are words or short phrases that can be found in the content of your resume and are often checked when you submit your resume online. Look for the keywords in the job posting to make sure you have highlighted them in your resume. If these are not highlighted, it is possible your resume will never make it past the first filter and get to the hiring manager.
Your one-page resume can also include the content that goes into your online professional profile. A professional profile is not usually your Facebook page, but a profile that highlights only the background you want prospective employers to see. Having an online profile is a must because IT employers will use it to view your technology expertise. LinkedIn is currently the most popular online professional network. LinkedIn’s profile page highlights education, accomplishments, and job history – very much a resume format.
LinkedIn is also used for professional networking. Connect to those people you know, but also do not be afraid to connect to the prominent names in the IT industry. IT executives, professors, researchers, bloggers, and writers often are on LinkedIn and accept connections. Having first- level connections with prominent IT people can highlight your visibility to recruiters. Connecting directly to recruiters can be an option as well. Recruiters often look at their own networks first when opportunities arise.
Create a blog to highlight your technical skills and knowledge to boost your visibility. Yes, there are many bloggers out there, but when searching for experts, bloggers are the names that rise to the top of the search. In your blog, provide tips and techniques that address common problems or explain new trends in the IT industry so the general population can understand. Tailor your blog content to the strengths for which you are hoping to get noticed. Blogging not only highlights your technical skills, but your communication skills as well.
The online community is the first place recruiters look for potential candidates for open positions. Think about using some of the tips above to be the first entry at the top of a recruiter’s search.
About the Author
Dr. Deanne Larson is an Associate Professor at American Public University (APU) in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Dr. Larson consults and researches in the areas of Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and Big Data.