Published28 May 2020at09:12, updated on10 October 2022at16:15
Given how competitive today’s IT jobs market is, most of us can use a few pointers on how to find a job in IT.
But, first of all, let’s get something out of the way: the question of whether it is best to look for a job when employed than when unemployed.
There are many reasons why someone would think looking for a job while unemployed is harder. Hiring companies might be suspicious of your trajectory when you have been out of the game for a while. They could think you lack certain skills or drive; that there’s something missing from your profile that led to you being unemployed.
On the other hand, looking for a new job when you already have one shows ambition, nonconformity. It is proof that the IT talent market values you and gives you more leverage when negotiating your contract conditions.
Well – yes and no.
There are many good reasons for an IT professional to be out of work. You might be waiting for the perfect project, planning a change in direction. Or perhaps you simply wanted to take some time off after a few intense projects in a row. That’s especially true for freelancers, who often experience employment gaps in between projects.
These four simple steps can be of help to find a job in IT, whether you are employed or unemployed.
Chances are you already have a great deal of experience under your wing. You’ve worked for interesting companies, played a key role in noteworthy projects, helped bring to light successful products.
Beyond including all that experience in your CV, putting together a short portfolio can help potential employers get a better picture of your skills and strengths. It doesn’t need to be a portfolio as polished as. Let’s say, that of a designer or a graphic artist – a simple explanation of every one of your best projects will suffice. If you’re after a programming job, put together some of your best code.
Nothing validates your capabilities better than satisfied former employers. Instead of waiting for the hiring company to ask for your professional references, present them upfront. By doing so, you will be showing proactiveness, confidence in your professional profile. It will also help you stand out among other candidates.
A good letter of recommendation by an ex-colleague who is in a good position and/or company at the moment can be very helpful as well.
This is something you should do even if you are not looking for a job at the moment. Since technology is continuously evolving, your success as an IT pro depends in great part on your ability to keep up with the most in-demand skills – both technical and other, softer skills.
Take advantage of the many free online IT courses out there. Develop new skills, challenge yourself. It will show employers you’re not just standing there, idle, that you are ambitious and in constant motion.
It’s true: the pandemic has put on halt most in-person industry events. However, and just like the rest of the business world, these get-togethers are adapting to the new reality.
Webinars, online Q&As… These events offer a great opportunity for you to gain visibility within the community, to talk or chat to potential employers and let them know you are looking to find a job in IT. It’s always easier to get your foot in the door through an in-person (or online) introduction.
Need more tips on how to find a job in IT? Check out our IT job hunting guide.
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