We currently live in a world where the word “blackberry” no longer makes you think of the fruit and the idea of leaving your house sans iPod doesn’t even cross your mind.
Technology is one of the fastest growing industries – and many positions in the field remain in great demand, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology.
“The most common mistake we hear is, ‘We really like the person and they have great skills, but we just didn’t get a sense that they were really excited about us.’” —John Reed, Executive Director, Robert Half Technology
I had the opportunity to speak with two IT employment experts from Robert Half Technology – Executive Director John Reed and Division Director Dave Keir – who outlined five simple steps to help students and new grads break into the technology industry:
1. Do your research
Know about the specific position you are applying to and have a detailed understanding of what a day in the life of this job would look like. This not only better prepares you for the interview process, but also helps you see if this is a good fit for you. “You need to know the position is one in which you would be comfortable and capable working in,” John says.
2. Assess your experience
You may see your “dream job,” but if you aren’t qualified for it, getting it could be a bad thing. You won’t have the necessary skills which will reflect poorly on you in the end. “Learn and work your way up,” John advises.
Also, draw on specific achievements you’ve excelled with. “Promote ideas you’ve had success with rather than how long you worked in a certain position,” Dave says.
3. Cultivate your digital brand
Plain and simply, make sure your life on any sort of social networking tool is professional and appropriate. On that note, both experts spoke to the importance of having a presence online. More and more companies use these types of tools to assess whether or not you would fit within their corporate culture.
4. Create targeted job application materials
As with any industry, target your job search not only to a specific position, but a specific company. “You can even go so far as to point out things you’ve learned about the job followed by examples of why you fit that role perfectly,” Dave suggests.
5. Be enthusiastic
Companies want to know that you want them as much as they want you. “The most common mistake we hear is, ‘We really like the person and they have great skills, but we just didn’t get a sense that they were really excited about us,’” John says.
The current hiring environment in technology in Canada
According to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology, 86% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are confident about their companies’ growth prospects. Dave spoke to these statistics, stating that the areas in biggest demand are those of help desk/technical assistance and positions within the mobile market. “In Toronto especially, web applications, the mobile app industry and positions involving Microsoft technology are in big demand right now,” he says. “There are simply not enough people to do all of these things here in Toronto.”
John agrees that the #1 in demand entry level technology role is Technical Support. There is also demand for Business/Systems Analysts in the tech industry, he says. “Many companies in IT are looking to do new projects and thus need people with impeccable communication skills in order to really understand what the client wants and clearly report this back to the organization.”
A changing market
“The role of IT support has changed dramatically,” John says, referring to the sheer number of devices people are now using on a day to day basis, including smartphones, laptops, PCs, Macs, tablets, etc. “It’s much more diverse than it used to be, and finding people who can support all of these things is a challenge.” Therefore, emphasize your experience in all of these different areas, even if you’ve never done it professionally. For example, noting the different products you used in a specific course at school can still demonstrate your competence with it.
“There is definitely a shortage of personnel in this market, meaning there are jobs available,” Dave says.
Knowing what jobs are in demand and how to sell yourself to these positions as a well-rounded and qualified candidate will make your job search in this industry not only efficient, but successful!