Category: Interviews

The Real Skinny: Why Higher-Paying Tech Jobs Are Just Around the Corner

The Real Skinny: Why Higher-Paying Tech Jobs Are Just Around the Corner

tech jobsIf you have been looking for a new or better-paying IT job, the time to find one is right now.

President Obama’s new initiative, TechHire, is a powerful indication of the present state of tech employment. As you may already know, unemployment has fallen to 5.5 percent, which still leaves about five million open jobs scattered across the country. An estimated 500,000 of those jobs are in the tech sector.

As the New York Times reports, the improvement in employment statistics hasn’t increased our disposable income as much as we had all hoped. This is one reason the Obama administration has focused on filling tech jobs. Many of the openings in IT and tech pay around 50 percent more than other types of jobs. It stands to reason that the more tech jobs get filled, the better our economy will fare.

Many of these high-paying tech jobs don’t require a four-year college degree, but they do mandate a specialized skill set. As IT and tech job candidates, there is no end to skill-building and professional development. The TechHire initiative has received a large influx of federal funding to provide training that can pave the way for tech workers to new, higher-paying jobs.

Per the TechHire website,

“IT jobs in fields like cybersecurity, network administration, coding, project management, UI design and data analytics offer pathways to middle-class careers with average salaries more than one and a half times higher than the average private-sector American job.”

Are you staying sharp? When was the last time you added to your skill set? Are you thinking ahead in terms of not months, but years? As IT and tech workers, you have the good fortune of having some of the best job opportunities in our nation — if, that is, you do everything you can to be the best candidate you can be. Take a tip from the TechHire initiative and add polish to your resume so you can find or trade up into one of the 500,000 open jobs in our country right now.



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 (NoddlePlace) (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!



IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Expect An “Internet of Things” Job Boom

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Expect An “Internet of Things” Job Boom

CEO of ITtechExec Stephen Van Vreede discusses how with IBM’s recent $3B investment in an Internet of Things division, IT and tech employees can expect to see more and more job openings for specialists in the coming months, boosting IT employment.

Rochester, NY — Apr 28, 2015 — Stephen Van Vreede, CEO of ITtechExec, published a new blog post titled “How Will the ‘Internet of Things’ Affect Your Career Future?” In the post, he explains how this tech trend is expected to impact IT employment by creating new tech and IT jobs, advising tech job seekers to develop an expertise in IoT now if they want a cutting-edge job in the coming years.

Van Vreede says, “If IBM’s investment is any indication, we’ll see a lot more tech companies hiring IoT experts. Think about how your specific field relates to these innovations and what you can do to prepare yourself for new and exciting IT career paths as the state of technology changes. Fields like agriculture, data security, wearable tech, transit, cloud computing, and medicine are already well on their way to becoming part of the IoT.”

Stephen Van Vreede is a personal brand strategist, certified technical resume writer, job search agent, and the CEO and owner of ITtechExec. Stephen has 10 years of experience in employment strategy and 8 years of corporate management experience. He holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from Villanova University.

Read the entire article here.

About ITtechExec:

ITtechExec is a new kind of full-service IT employment agency that combines IT resume writing and technical resume writing, portfolio building, and IT job search solutions to launch extraordinary tech careers in the 21st century job market. CEO and Executive Solutions Guide Stephen Van Vreede created ITtechExec in 2001, using his background of personal branding and corporate management to create a multi-pronged approach that gets results. ITtechExec serves as the job seeker and career changer’s trusted adviser, helping them make the best of the careers they’ve built and guiding them into the professional futures they desire.







The Real Skinny: How Will the “Internet of Things” Affect Your Career Future?

The Real Skinny: How Will the “Internet of Things” Affect Your Career Future?

Good news for IT and tech employees: A whole new employment sector is on the rise. Will you be on the cutting edge or one of the people trailing behind?

Late last month, CNET reported that IBM will be investing $3B in a new “Internet of Things” unit. While this is a monumental move for a company of IBM’s size and repute, the news didn’t come as a surprise to many. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been all the rage in the tech world for the past few years. Only now, companies are putting their money where their mouths are — and this means more money for you if you play your cards right.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is an idea that encompasses the connectedness of everyday objects — “anything with an on/off switch” — to the Internet. It’s a powerful concept that holds the possibility for huge leaps in technical innovation, from automating machines we turn on manually (think alarm clocks and coffee makers) to possibilities we haven’t even thought of yet. There’s no shortage of information about IoT if you want to find out more, but in a nutshell, it combines household technology with Internet technology in new and exciting ways.

What Does This Mean For Jobs?

If IBM’s investment is any indication, we’ll see a lot more tech companies hiring IoT experts. Think about how your specific field relates to these innovations and what you can do to prepare yourself for new and exciting career paths as the state of technology changes. Fields like agriculture, data security, wearable tech, transit, cloud computing, and medicine are already well on their way to becoming part of the IoT.

For those of you looking to get ahead — or out of a job rut — start becoming an expert in it now so you can advance your career once IoT becomes the new normal.


About 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 (NoddlePlace) (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 (check out his exclusive offer). 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?

Internet of Things



The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

2015 job marketGreat news: Bloomberg reports that after November’s remarkable hiring surge, the job market is expected to grow in 2015. If you’ve been stuck in a non-ideal or part-time job and are looking to make a strategic career move, now is the best time to do it. The way we hire and work is changing now more than ever, and there are many exciting opportunities for IT and other technical professionals. But what do you do if you haven’t been on the job hunt in a while and don’t know the new rules of interviewing and hiring?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

  1. Expect a different hiring process

More and more companies are realizing that how they hire reflects well (or poorly) upon their brand. Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are aiming to make the process more human and relatable. Use this friendlier recruitment process to showcase your soft skills, but always keep it professional.

  1. Build a portfolio

Whether or not you have something physical to show for the work you’ve done, hiring managers will want to see examples of your work before you get the interview. Write case studies for projects you’ve worked on to broadcast your skills and back up your claims of success.

  1. Go beyond LinkedIn

If you haven’t spruced up your LinkedIn lately, now’s the time — but don’t stop there! Develop a social media presence that shows off your skills and interest in your profession.

  1. Ask the right questions

A report from LinkedIn says that many qualified job candidates don’t get hired because the interviewers don’t know the best questions to ask them. Learn the “forced-choice question” method — asking what the main objectives for the job are, and then using examples to show how you can achieve them — to help improve your odds.

  1. Anticipate a 3-5 year tenure

Perhaps the biggest change of all, many companies now realize that job seekers will only stay at the company for a handful of years. Know this when going into the interview, and stress what a difference you can make in a short time frame. Be sure to think of this job as the stepping stone to what’s next, not the position you’ll be in for the next several decades.

Who Says “No” Is Always Negative?

Who Says “No” Is Always Negative?

self-esteemI was speaking with a fellow parent a few years ago who has a son my daughter’s age. While our two children were playing together at a birthday party (they were about 5 years old at the time), he was proudly telling me how he “never says no” to his son (of course he had just heard me say “no” to my daughter who wanted to suck on a lollipop while jumping in a bounce house). He told me that “no” is so “negative” and he doesn’t want his son to grow up with that hurting his self-image. (Although I know our respective kids were a long way off from considering each other as “marriage material,” I couldn’t help my natural tendency to start moving my daughter away from his son…judge me if you must.)

I’ll never forget the conversation because 1) I was taken aback by his self-confidence that he was doing the right thing (and that I was so old-fashioned) and 2) it reminds me of the career services/hiring world of work.

A “no” is “always” taken as a negative.

And it is “always” linked somehow to your self-esteem.

We seem to live in a world that dislikes the word “no,” so much so that we go to great lengths to avoid hearing it or using it or acknowledging it.

Yet, there it is anyway!

Recently, I wrote about positive thinking and your career, and in that post, I talked about how proper preparation leads to true positive thinking because it allows you to have a foundation for it. Expanding on that is the idea of “negative preparation.”

Negative preparation is a strategy that allows us to anticipate obstacles or the “no(s)” we might encounter on our way to a goal.

In other words, we learn to expect a certain amount of “no” in our quest to advance or progress. By preparing for these negatives, we can better form our argument and have an answer to respond to them. Lawyers do this when preparing for a case. Good sales staff do this when preparing for objections in the sales process.

And part of the preparation is understanding that often the counterarguments brought up along the way have less to do with us personally and more to do with the other party’s perspective, a perspective that might have some validity to it and that we can grow from.

Of course, sometimes even with negative preparation, we still might ultimately get a “no” or lose a case or argument, but the idea is that it helps you fine-tune for the next time around. (Furthermore, I think all of us can come up with a time when we can be thankful for “unanswered prayers.”)

For some reason, however, negative preparation rarely gets applied to job seekers. Job seekers are told to “think positively” and to “brand” themselves, to have the “right” credentials, and to present themselves as a “team player.” They are also told that if they have certain limitations, such as lack of credential and over- or under-qualified, then the world is against them…personally. And the best they can do is hope for the best. It’s odd advice if you think about it.

Hoping for the best is not a strategy.

And a “no” is not “always” a personal slight.

Yet because the job search process is so emotional, we often lost sight of these things. We take rejection hard and rarely use it to make us better prepared the next time around.

In other words, we only see it as a negative. And that negative usually has a significant impact on how we come to view ourselves.

It’s hard for us to remember that although our careers are personal, the marketplace is not.

The market functions on different principles than we do, and by watching what it says “yes” to and what is says “no” to we can adjust to meet it better (aka strategy).

Because it is “always” saying “yes” and “no”…always (and usually more “no” than “yes”).

The question is are you prepared for it? Or are you going to be like my fellow parent’s son, unprepared when someone says it to you? Because sooner or later, they will. (I’m positive about that.)



What Is a Job Search “Agent” Anyway?

What Is a Job Search “Agent” Anyway?

job searchThis whole thing started when I heard someone emphatically “yell” over social media that he “would NEVER EVER use job search services.”

(Note to self: When someone starts “yelling,” and using extremes like “never” and “always” (especially in all caps), that’s a very good sign there’s a need out there, probably more of one than you even realize….)

It has been my experience that we have the “kickers and screamers” of the world to thank for the rise and spread of innovation.

And I get it. Change is not always a good thing…or it certainly doesn’t seem like it is.

What we deem as “innovation” is not always what’s really best for us as individuals and as a society. So it’s fitting that we should have someones who kick and scream about it. The problem is that the more they kick and scream, the more they expose the truth:

Change isn’t just coming; it’s already here, and we have to deal with “what is” and not “what ought to be.”

So after my social media “friend” did his best to shout at the universe, going on to say that he knew everything that there was to know about job searching, that he was the best networker in the world, and that he was the master of, I knew then that I was on to something important. I had been looking at ways to move our company away from the traditional “resume-only” style of firm that could not really determine its ROI into one that could not just produce top-quality documentation but also play a part in the job search process for our client members.

Maybe, sadly, I wasn’t going to be able to help my social media friend here, but he did confirm for me that obviously there were other people I could help.

That’s when I met Sue.

(Well, actually, I already knew Sue, but I hadn’t realized that our paths would cross in such a significant way. So maybe I should say that I “re-met” Sue.)

If ever there were an answer to prayer, music to my ears, or a sight for sore eyes (you get the drift), Sue was it. Blending a unique background in managing both IT and telecom day-to-day operations with extensive hiring and recruitment experience for small/mid-sized organizations as well as for a prominent Fortune 1000 company, Sue has been up close and personal with HR, and has had to wade through layoffs, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. (That means she’s a veteran of the job market zoo and has been so deep in corporate goo that nothing surprises her anymore!)

She was the exact person I was looking for to serve as our Job Search Agent at ITtechExec and NoddlePlace.

We had already transitioned to meet current job market demands with a successful “resume portfolio” approach. And after spending time as a career adviser to TechRepublic, Dice, and, and seeing the confusion in the job search realm, especially when it came to tech, I knew we needed to develop solutions in that area to meet today’s reality. Too many candidates were approaching the market from an outdated perspective. So even if they had great documents, they didn’t have the proper job search approach to go with them.

We needed to find ways to move candidates, active and passive, out of the job board addictions they were in and into more proactive approaches.

So, together, Sue and I started shaping 4 “NoNonsense” job search solutions that she conducts on behalf of our client members once their resume portfolios and brand messaging has been developed. In other words, she isn’t there just to tell you how to do things (coach you); she actually participates in launching a portion of your job search on your behalf.

Perhaps the best part is that the 4 solutions Sue conducts are all meant to make it simple for you to move beyond the comfortably, but largely ineffective and demeaning, world of job boards and online postings. Using a 3-step model for each solution, called Write the Vision, Make It Plain, and Run With It, she guides you by:

  • Setting a strategic vision for your job search (putting together a practical, easy-to-follow plan for how/where to spend your time based on your goals and limitations. (Strategic Visioning Intro Session)
  • Matching you with recruiters who are best suited for you and your goals and helping introduce you to those recruiters. (Recruiter Matching)
  • Building strategic LinkedIn connections focused on your target industry and goals and helping you engage with those connections in a productive way. (LinkedIn Network Building)
  • Profiling employers who meet specific parameters set up for you and reaching out to contacts at those employers on your behalf. (Employer Profiling)

It’s been an amazing journey over the past year as we have successfully married our resume/brand messaging solutions to these job search “launch” solutions so that by the time you leave us not only do you have top-quality materials, but you also have some traction in your job search.

Just over the past few weeks:

  • I’ve witnessed two members get first and second interview invites for jobs NOT posted anywhere from our Employer Profiling solution.
  • I’ve watched Sue make a strategic connection for another member at a high-profile tech company through our LI Network Building solution that he has been trying to get in with for a long time. He now has had a couple informal informational interviews with this connection and has met a couple other contacts as a result.
  • And I’ve watched numerous others get connected with recruiters who are well aligned with their goals through the Recruiter Matching solution, not to mention the members who’ve walked away with a clear strategy for how they should spend their limited time and resources on their job search.

So although I know this post is a bit “promotional,” please bear with me. We’re all more than a bit excited! It’s hard not to be when you see such progress being made.

It’s what’s taken us from a traditional “resume-only” firm into a full-service job search firm that holds itself accountable for the work it does. We’re measuring our ROI, comparing against national averages, and seeing amazing results.

So although I wish my social media friend well with his “NEVER EVER” mantra, it’s awesome to see our members becoming part of that 5% who recognizes the hiring “zoo” we’re in and are willing to move out of the familiar and into today.









Elevator Pitch: Good? Sales Pitch: Bad?

Elevator Pitch: Good? Sales Pitch: Bad?

elevator pitchI was having a discussion recently with a colleague of mine in which the word “pitch” was used in reference to candidates in the job search process. This colleague quickly bristled and said, “I don’t advise my clients to pitch anything.”

To which I quickly reminded her that she most certainly does. After all, she prepares the so-called “elevator pitch.”

She then bristled again and said, “Well, that’s different.”

When I asked her to explain, she went on to tell me that one was the “off-putting,” basically “disgusting” art of “pitching” a sale, while the other was the crafting of a statement that encompasses the candidate’s “value proposition.”

I guess in her mind she isn’t teaching her clients how to sell; instead she’s teaching them how to…sell but pretend they aren’t…?

(A pitch is a pitch is a pitch is a pitch.)

I know many people probably share my colleague’s sentiment about the idea of a “sales pitch.” Within the career services industry, in general, the idea of a sales pitch is met with disdain but the concept of an elevator pitch is lauded as good practice. (Go figure.)

And I do get it. We can all think of the stereotypical slimy salespeople who will say anything to get us to buy…who try to whip us into some emotional state where we are tricked into making a bad decision. And we rightly bristle at the idea that any of our clients would take that approach in their job search.

But as someone who has an MBA in marketing and a strong education in sales, I’m more than a little concerned that by playing games with semantics, we (career strategists and candidates alike) are in danger of leading candidates down the wrong road.

In my mind, knowing how to “sell” is one of the most secure and marketable skills you can develop regardless of what role, industry, private/public sector career you have. There is a lot of truth to the saying that “all of life is sales.”

The problem is that most people have been taught that selling is bad. That it’s manipulation.

But that is NOT what good selling is.

Good selling starts from a basic premise: That you have a good or service (product) that will make someone else’s life better in some way (it solves a problem). Marketing introduces that product to the specific market who will benefit from it the most (building the recognizable “brand”). Then sales backs up the brand by “demonstrating” the product to individual prospects interested in how this product will make their lives better and solve a problem they have.

Now, here’s where the “pitch” comes in. It isn’t a trick like  a fast ball; it’s a reinforcement (a “connecting of the dots,” if you will). The prospect has already identified that he or she has a problem that needs solving, and the marketing has attracted him or her to this brand as a possibility of solving it. Now the prospect just wants to know 1) whether he or she can trust your product and your brand and 2) whether what you are saying really will solve his or her problem. The job of sales, then, is to convince (create trust/belief) and then persuade (encourage action). Nine times out of ten without the sales “pitch,” the prospect will do nothing even if he or she is interested. (As humans, we like to be convinced and persuaded as we don’t want to make a foolish decision.)

In the end, contrary to popular opinion, the transaction that occurs is not a “win-win” (company-buyer). It’s a “win-bigger win” in which the company makes a short-term profit (because let’s face it, the company needs a lot of sales to profit long term) and the buyer gets a long-term resolution of his or her problem.

In good selling, the buyer is always the bigger winner.

(In fact, it has to be that way for businesses to prosper. Big, sustainable businesses must have that to survive. If not, they will become irrelevant to the market. The problem, of course, is that they often lose sight of it, for various reasons, and when profits start to slip as a result, they react by becoming more selfish, eventually creating that slimy sales environment we all know and hate and usually cheapening the product to “save” on expenses.

And by the way, nonprofits and other public sector agencies pretty much operate on the same premises. They all have a target market they serve, staff who needs to make a living, grant funders they need to convince and persuade, boards of directors and other stakeholders who look to “profit” in some way even if that way seems more “humanitarian”. It’s all a matter of practicing good selling. In fact, in many ways, the public sector/nonprofit arena has to do a lot more “selling” than the private sector does.)

So getting back to the “elevator pitch” and the job search process, in general, what else is it if it isn’t a form of good selling?

Wouldn’t you rather learn how to do good “selling” than just good “bragging” or, worse, “selling but pretending you’re not selling?”

I’ve met a lot of good braggers and none of them are good at sales/marketing. Why? Because they practice poor selling techniques, expecting to trick the other party into thinking they are better than they are, expecting to win bigger than the other party does. I’ve also met a lot of others who don’t want to seem like their “selling” so they don’t. They don’t pitch any substance, and they don’t make the sale. (They make the mistake of thinking the product will just sell itself.)

Listen. When you go out with your “pitch” in job search mode, the potential employer should make out better from hiring you (that is really what a “value proposition” is). After all, you are performing a “service” and that service does make the “world a better place” (at least the world inside that company), doesn’t it?

(I should hope so! Otherwise, your service is irrelevant.)

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t stand to profit. You expect a good wage (price) for your hard-earned effort so that at least during the short term (as long as you work there), you can make a living, maybe even a good one. You also expect other things like respect and certain benefits. In the end, though, while you are there, you help solve problems that build in long-term sustainability (that’s your legacy) for the company (or at least should be if the company is being managed properly), making the company and all the people it serves (customers, staff, communities) bigger winners.

So the next time you bristle at the idea of selling, particularly as it relates to you, the job seeker, be careful of clouding your judgment so that you miss out on what good selling “pitches” do. Otherwise, you’ll spend so much time trying not to “sell” with your “elevator pitch” that your potential employer(s) will be left wondering just exactly what it is you can do for them and whether they can trust what you say.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede IT Job Search Tech Recruiter ExpertStephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation 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. Contact Stephen directly at or send him an invite at see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

You’re a Hard Worker, So What?

You’re a Hard Worker, So What?

hard workWhen you ask most professionals what their best quality is, typically, they will respond with some variation of “hard working.” Sometimes they will call it “dedicated” or “committed” or even “loyal,” but it pretty much all boils down to the fact that they think they work harder than other people do and that this should distinguish them in the minds of their employer.

And to some extent, they are right.

Employers do appreciate hard-working professionals, all across the corporate spectrum.

But it rarely plays a significant role in the hiring process (and not as much as you might think in the promotion process either).

For one thing, it is tough to assess based on just speaking with someone. For another, it is assumed. Furthermore, it is the type of thing that is really earned by reputation, not by you saying it.

Frankly, most people probably are not all that extraordinary in their “hard-working” ability, at least not as much as they think they are. They can just think of a handful of people who are worse than them, so that justifies their self-labeling as “committed.”

I have yet to work with one candidate who didn’t think he or she was “hard working”; yet they could all tell me about at least 5-10 others they knew who were not as hard working as them. Go figure.

So given that hard working is not a label you can give yourself with any type of credibility behind it and that employers pay very little attention to these self-declarations in the hiring process, the “hard-working” professional is often confused and can be somewhat unsuccessful in the job search (and especially promotion) process.

Once again, it comes down to audience. Sometimes the things we think are most impressive about us are not as valued during the hiring process as we think they should be. (As I mentioned recently, very little about hiring is rational on our part as much as on the employer’s part.)

Therefore, most job seekers are unwittingly “sabotaging” their own job search by approaching it with the wrong focus.

A misaligned focus is really what makes the difference between a “good” resume and a “bad” one (despite whatever else you may hear).

So although it is good to think about formatting and typos and proper white spacing on the page, if you’re trying to sell your target audience the “wrong” product, it won’t matter. And that is what often happens.

We just want them to know how hard working we are and, if we have them, how many credentials (degrees/certs) we have. And then we are confused when they don’t seem as impressed as we thought they should be (or as our education system told us they would be).

Overall, today’s employers, especially those in the tech arena, say they are most looking for proof of the following skills (notice advanced degrees/certs are actually missing from the list, so even though every job description seems to ask for them, this is what employers really want):

  • Analytical skills (coding is in demand)
  • Global outlook
  • Cross-functional ability
  • Soft skills (how well do you communicate both verbally and in writing?)

 The other quality they desire, and this is a big one, is an understanding of business value. They want someone who knows the value he or she brings to the overall business focus.

If you think about it, this puts hard working in a tailspin.

Because it is not enough to say, “I am dedicated.” (I know a lot of poor performing, yet dedicated, entrepreneurs.) And it is not enough to say, “I work more hours and with more passion than everyone else.” (I know those same entrepreneurs do too.) In business, results matter (and contrary to popular belief, effort does not always produce the right results). Corporations are no different, and they are looking for people from the bottom up who understand the role they play in producing those results.

So set aside your overwhelming urge to declare your hard-working superiority and your overreliance on credentials and start looking at the qualities that are most significant for business growth and success. If you can communicate how your skills align with that, then your hard work will really start to pay off.



The Softer Side of Tech Revisited

The Softer Side of Tech Revisited

Now that Labor Day has passed us by, summer is fading, and the kids are back to school, there’s one thing that is sure to happen…in fact, it already has…

IT and tech candidates are going to decide they are now ready to get going with their job search, you know, the one they have been meaning to do but have been putting off all summer?

As a result, the other thing that’s sure to happen is a surge in the market of tech-related job seekers all vying for open positions from now until Thanksgiving when they put the brakes on searching again.

Yes, the job search market has a predictable cycle too, and if you find yourself coming up against it during the “peak” seasons (specifically, spring and fall), it’s wise to bring your A game.

Therefore, I want to revisit a post I published back in February 2014 in anticipation of the upcoming spring season. Now that fall is coming, I think it is a good time to look at it again.

cultural fitSo, for a little bit now, I’ve been discussing the importance of “soft skills” in the 2014 IT job market. The following posts all touch on how the market is favoring those IT professionals who are, well, softer:

Today, I’d like to highlight perhaps the top 10 soft skills in demand, things that you need to show, not tell, in your next career move.

1. Strong Work Ethic

When I first started writing resumes, it was considered bad form to put “hard worker” or “hard working” on a resume because it was one of those… no duh….things. Who doesn’t think they are a hard worker and have a strong work ethic? But increasingly, in today’s market, employers are demanding professionals to demonstrate a strong work ethic. One way to do that would be to prepare a Problems-Solutions-Results (PSR) page as an addendum to your resume. It can showcase problems you have faced and how you have worked to resolve them.

2. Positive Attitude

Here’s one that can be tough for some personality types. Let’s be real. It isn’t that you are negative necessarily (although others might perceive it that way); it’s more likely you are direct, to the point, and in your mind a realist. Unfortunately, though, these traits aren’t always well received in today’s corporate market (neither is a healthy dose of sarcasm) even if sometimes they are what’s needed. So finding a way to be direct while being sure to end on a positive note will go far.

3. Good Communication Skills

Many times people only focus on the verbal and listening part of communication skills, but in today’s world, writing skills are at a premium. So showcasing your background in this area is important too.

4. Time Management Abilities

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Again, here is where the PSR mentioned earlier would come into play.

6. Acting as a Team Player

The PSR could also provide you with an opportunity to showcase the work you’ve done in a team environment. A Testimonials page could do the same thing by letting your colleagues “refer” you through their kudos of you.

7. Self-Confidence

8. Ability to Accept and Learn From Criticism

Inevitably, you will be asked a question during interviews about a time when you had to take criticism and what you did with it. So be prepared to provide an example.

9. Flexibility/Adaptability

Here is where an Innovation page could come in handy. Outlining ideas for changes in business operations or procedures that you see that could enhance business activities and show adaptability is highly sought after.

10. Working Well Under Pressure

Once again, the PSR page is a great place to demonstrate a scenario where you handled pressure and came out strong.

Talent Shortage vs. Candidate Pool [Infographic]

Talent Shortage vs. Candidate Pool [Infographic]

If there’s one thing that we hear over and over again in the tech market, it is that the talent pool is lacking. Yet, when job postings come out, I come across candidates who at least on the surface check off all the boxes on the posting.

So what gives?

The following infographic from the Career Advisory Board of DeVry University is interesting. Personally, I think the first item “Not Positioned Right” is a high-priority issue as it speaks to a bigger problem, which is that candidates often think they understand their audience and what matters to them when, in reality, that audience has a different set of priorities.

As we have discussed several times in this blog, understanding the needs of your target market is really at the core of both a successful job search as well as long-term career management.

Job Search Sabotage