Becoming a Highly Sought-After Candidate in the War for Tech Talent

As a professional in the world of technology, you don’t have to agree that there is an aggressive “war for tech talent” as so many companies and media outlets claim. Heck, it can be a total fabrication! Bottom line, though, is that companies truly believe that they will gain a competitive advantage in the market by winning this talent war.

The Race for Tech Talent is On!
The Race for Tech Talent is On!

On April 4, 2016, published the article, The Race for Tech Talent Isn’t a Marathon, It’s a Sprint, by Diana Bersohn. In it, she cites an Accenture Strategy – Technology study in which 85%-plus of the businesses surveyed believe that they need to win the war for talent to be successful in the market. Additionally, 80% believe that the workers they hired 5 years ago do not have the skill sets required for success today, with 60% feeling strongly that the biggest organizational challenge for IT specifically is having workers with the right skill sets for today.

My initial response to those figures was “Yikes!” If you’re doing the same thing you were doing 5 years ago, you’re antiquated…outdated…a legacy employee ready to be sun-setted…? If you do nothing, maybe you’ll get lucky and be one of the workers that your current company chooses to invest in for the future. But seriously now, do you have any confidence in that? What has their track record been with investing in their technical staff previously? A select few companies do a great job of developing talent internally, but most are just terrible because it requires knowing your people, evaluating their capacity for growth, and taking the time to prepare a deliberate development plan for each employee.

Make Yourself Marketable

Whether you’ve worked for the same company for 20 years or you are a contractor engaging with a new company every 6 months, how you’re perceived by decision makers in the market is entirely up to you. OK…you can’t control everything (for example, you can’t fix stupid), but you can connect the dots for people to make it obvious how your experience, talents, and technical skills translate into something relevant in today’s digital market.

It Starts with Your Language

The language that you use, both verbally and in writing, make a huge impact on how people view you. Despite much thinking to the contrary today, perception does not equal reality. However, people’s perceptions drive their thinking along with their real-life actions. That translates into the decisions that they make when promoting internal candidates or hiring external talent.

You can shift the perceptions others shape of you starting right now by reconsidering your verbal and email interactions. Think about what CIOs and other tech leaders value today and shape your language accordingly. For example, you’re a senior engineer on a project that management has decided to take a direction to which you vigorously disagree. You’re not a go-along-to-get-along type. Great, neither am I! But instead of continually slamming the project or questioning the intelligence of the management team, shaping your argument so that it focuses on specific business objectives elevates the discourse and can get people thinking about things from your perspective instead of simply a pain in the backside that should be silenced.

Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Changing the focus of your language applies to your resume and LinkedIn profile, too. When you’re talking about external opportunities, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Even more challenging is the fact that your one chance gets squished down into 30 seconds or less. That makes the message you deliver in your resume and any online profiles of vital importance.

Are you an outdated employee with antiquated skills? Or, are you a fresh talent poised to help the company springboard into the next phase of the digital age? The answer to those questions has nothing to do with your age, gender, or your years of experience. It has everything to do with the identity that you present.


Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (Nodd
) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at or send him an invite at To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

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