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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Frustrations of an IT Job Search

The Frustrations of an IT Job Search
by: Stephen Van

You have to feel for IT job seekers. It is tough for them to find solid IT focused resume writers. It is tough for them to find recruiters who truly understand the nuances of their field. And it is tough for them to get around HR personnel who also don’t necessarily know more than to look for a bunch of buzzwords.

The same frustrations can really be said for engineers and others in highly technical fields.

I have had the pleasure of working with these types of job seekers, particularly in crafting resumes for them, and although I am not a techie nor an engineer, I now share their frustrations.

It is definitely true that these types of fields are complex and that there is a lot of jargon out there, but quite honestly, it doesn’t take much effort to get yourself at least acquainted with the basics. You should be able to discern the difference between a systems administrator position and the types of skills and technical proficiencies that an employer is looking for versus a programmer position. Although some of the same terms may be thrown around, their level of importance varies.

And in IT, it isn’t just what you know, but how you have used that knowledge that can make all the difference. So hearing that someone has JAVA experience, for example, is great, but in what context has he or she used it?

I’m not sure why technical job seekers get left behind by so many career services professionals. There certainly are enough IT candidates out there to work with. Maybe it is just our unwillingness to invest the time to familiarize ourselves with the basics. Maybe we feel that we would have to become techies ourselves in order to assist them properly. I’m not really sure what it is, but there are without a doubt, very few firms that work well with IT and engineering professionals.

The job search process is difficult enough, no matter what field you are in. But add to that, ignorance of the industry all together, and you have disaster.

On the resume side, in particular, I have seen everything from resumes that are poorly laid out and lack a proper strategy for the IT niche of the candidate to resumes that are so long and drawn out and full of every technical detail known to man that no one in their right mind would ever want to read it, even if they understood it all.

My advice for IT and engineering professionals is to do their homework. Find writers and recruiters who at the very least can grasp some of the nuances of your profession and “talk the talk” so to speak. I don’t think it is essential that they know all the ins and outs, but they must at least know the difference in marketing an IT project manager versus a business analyst and how the structures of those roles differ.

Without taking the time to find the right people to work with, IT job seekers will only be disappointed.

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