Category: Resumes

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!



Your IT Career Path: IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says To Find a Mentor, Don’t Ask — Let It Develop Organically

Your IT Career Path: IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says To Find a Mentor, Don’t Ask — Let It Develop Organically

In regard to your IT career path, CEO of ITtechExec Stephen Van Vreede recommends that all IT and tech employees have a mentor, but cautions them away from forcing mentoring relationships with strangers or loose contacts.

Rochester, NY — April 9, 2015 — Stephen Van Vreede, CEO of ITtechExec, published a new article titled “How to Find the Best Mentor For Your Career.” In the article, he discusses the important role of mentorship in forming a strong IT career path, advising readers to respectfully seek mentors by nurturing professional relationships, not asking successful strangers point-blank.

Van Vreede says, “In the IT and tech worlds as in life, we can’t do everything on our own. We need good advice, a sounding board, and the perspective of somebody who understands where we’re coming from. So why do so many people avoid mentor-mentee relationships? Because most people don’t understand how to get a mentor, if they realize they need one at all.”

Stephen Van Vreede is a personal brand strategist, certified technical resume writer, tech job search agent, and the CEO and owner of ITtechExec. Stephen has 10 years of experience in IT 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 employment agency that combines technical resume writing, portfolio building, and tech 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 IT job seeker and IT career changer’s trusted tech career adviser, helping them make the best of the IT career path they’ve built and guiding them into the professional futures they desire.






What To Do If Your Company Gets Acquired

What To Do If Your Company Gets Acquired

corporate mergerThere’s nothing employees want to hear less than that their company is about to go through a merger or an acquisition. But in the tech sector especially, the shifting tides of the marketplace mean that these changes are a reality many people must face. While it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand until the rocky times are over, that’s simply not an option.

You want to swim — not sink — no matter what happens to your current job, and the key is to take action now and get prepared.

Let’s face the music: Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time. Perhaps your competitor wants to control the market share and snatches up your company without a second thought. Or maybe your company is already a market leader in a sector your competitor wants to break into. Whatever the situation, jobs are at risk during the transition, and that goes for the other company’s employees, too.

Finding out that change is afoot can come as a shock to employees and create an exceptionally stressful, tense environment. After all, mergers and acquisitions put your livelihood at risk. It’s no wonder that work atmospheres change instantly as soon as the news spreads.

The important thing to remember is that nothing’s set in stone until the leadership makes personnel decisions; it’s not a guaranteed death sentence to your job.

Don’t let your stress get the better of you, and seize this opportunity to build yourself a “lifeboat” to get you to your next job, if necessary.

While ideally, we’d all be perfectly prepared to get a great new job at the drop of a hat, that’s not the case for many people. Whether or not your business is going through a merger or acquisition right now, it’s smart to follow the steps below so you’ll never be caught off guard.

How to Survive a Merger or Acquisition

Get your finances in shape.
Planning a big purchase? Now’s the time to put that on hold. Eliminate any unnecessary spending and come up with a plan so you’ll be in good financial shape for the time it takes you to find a new job — just in case.

Refresh your resume.
It’s a great idea to always be updating your resume, but if you haven’t, start right now. You want to be ready to send it out to potential employers at the drop of a hat, especially if others in your same role will be on the job market at the same time as you.

Reach out to contacts.
Rekindle valuable relationships and reach out to new contacts that will strengthen your network. The sooner you do this, the better position you’ll be in if you need to let them know you’re looking for a new job.

Leverage HR.
Break out your hiring paperwork and see if you have any clauses written into it about whether your role can be laid off, severance pay, or non-compete agreements. Human resources mangers also often have a wealth of resources to help you find your next job, if necessary.

Keep your morale and work ethic high.
Show your superiors that you can take changes in stride by resisting the gossip and negativity that inevitably occur during mergers and acquisitions. You’ll make a great impression on those around you, which is a valuable edge to have during this transitional time.


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 (June 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) compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You?

IT Resume Makeover: Presentation Dictates Response

IT Resume Makeover: Presentation Dictates Response

What Is An IT Resume Makeover? For the IT Professional, having a properly constructed IT resume is vital. This story illustrates just how true that is in regards to the CIO resume…

Why You Should Update Your Resume (Especially When You’re Not Looking for a New Job)

Why You Should Update Your Resume (Especially When You’re Not Looking for a New Job)

Do you need to update your resume? Do you need help updating your resume?

Updating your resume may be more important than you think—even when you’re not currently performing a tech job search!

fam48There’s nothing that gets as many groans of despair as updating a really old IT or technical resume. If you’ve let yours sit in an old computer file untouched for a year or more, it can be a harrowing experience to try to update your resume — especially if you’re in a time crunch. But there are many reasons to keep your IT resume or tech resume up-to-date besides when performing your tech job search and looking for a new job. Here’s why:

When You Update Your Resume, It Empowers You

These days, it’s imperative to keep on your toes when it comes to your IT career. If your job isn’t exactly stable, you still can be by keeping a knockout resume at the ready.

When You Update Your Resume, You Get the Chance to Show Off Your Recent Successes

Promotions don’t always come to those who deserve them — they come to those who know they deserve them. When you make a habit of updating your resume with all of your career wins, it’s proof to you and your boss that you’re doing a great job.

When You Update Your Resume, It Helps You to Understand Your Career

Frequently updating your IT resume means you’ll start seeing patterns in your career — what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how you’ve best been able to make use of your skills and experience. When you understand what makes you happiest at work and what you do best, you’re better prepared to make a smart next move that will land you a job you love.

Haven’t thought to update your resume in ages? Don’t know where to start? Give us a call. We love to provide resume help — in fact, it’s one of our specialties!

The Real Skinny on Ageism

The Real Skinny on Ageism

ageismAge discrimination is a delicate subject, but not talking about it won’t solve the problem. One of the lesser-known truths about it is that — yes — there is something you can do about it.

Today the tech and IT worlds are more youth-obsessed than ever, largely because younger workers tend to be cheap, smart, and “fresh.” On the other hand, age discrimination also exists for people perceived as too young to work certain types of jobs. If being too young is problematic and being over 40 merits legal protection against ageism, does that mean there are only 15-odd years to have a career between college and middle age?

Of course not.

Experience matters. Age discrimination is illegal and should absolutely be reported, and there are many unfortunate examples of employees being frozen out of their careers while they are still in their prime. And because it’s so difficult to prove ageism, reporting it won’t always solve the problem. Yet older workers have an edge — years of real-world experience — and nobody can take that away.

So how can you leverage your experience to prove you’re the best one for the job?

First, stay at the top of your game. Settling into your job is never an option, no matter how old you are. Do you read industry publications and regularly brush up on professional skills? If not, start now. Second, focus on your company or potential employer’s pain points. Are you actively working to solve problems? Regardless of age, companies want the person who can exceed their expectations. And finally, take a good look at your company to see how they treat employees your age and older. If you don’t like what you see, plan a career move well ahead of time. Look for small to midsize companies with a good track record of senior-level employees, and tell them exactly how you can contribute to their business.

The final step? Speak up. Use your experience to make the working world a more fair and just place by reporting instances of age discrimination. Focus on being the best employee you possibly can be — not your age — and don’t let other people’s prejudice mar your career.

For more on this subject, check out Retiring from Retirement.

Most Desirable Employers: Really Better Than All the Rest?

Most Desirable Employers: Really Better Than All the Rest?

Business Insider released the following infographic citing the top 100 employers based off of stats from LinkedIn. As a technical career strategist, this list is anything but surprising.

And as someone who’s worked with candidates to get into many of these employers, what’s also not surprising is that the more desirable these companies become, the more rigorous, and even borderline ridiculous, their hiring practices become.

Here’s the real skinny: The best way to get these employers to even look at you twice is to make them come to you (rather than the other way around), and that requires a willingness to do things completely differently than most people do. It requires resisting the normal job board black hole and HR hoop-jumping channels, and it takes a stiff spine to refrain from handing over any leverage you might have to them.

It’s the only way to separate yourself from the masses applying in droves to these employers. Credentials alone will not cut it. Tossing out a resume and hoping it passes some test will most likely not do it. Begging a recruiter to try and place you might work, but you will likely find it the most frustrating and confusing time of your life (smile).

Strategy, strategy, strategy is the name of this game.

The 100 Most Desirable Employers #infographic

You’ve Earned the New IT Certification, Now What?

You’ve Earned the New IT Certification, Now What?

toon-1061Recently I was interviewed by Susan Hall for a article, The Best Ways to Flaunt Your New IT Certification.

Here is an excerpt:

“If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? You’ve worked hard for that Linux certification, and you want everyone to know about it.

At the same time, you don’t want to come off as a brainless braggart, so the best advice is to call attention to the experience you gained while earning the certification – and how you’ve put it to use doing real work, experts say.

“One of the biggest things that people will probably neglect is leveraging people who have gone through a similar certification – reaching out to them through LinkedIn or whatever means they have available, to make connections and market themselves through other, what should be, like-minded people who are going to value that certification,” says

Stephen Van Vreede, a Rochester, N.Y.-based resume writer and career strategist at”

Read the full article here

Don’t Skip Out on Your Upcoming Career Move “Prep” Session

Don’t Skip Out on Your Upcoming Career Move “Prep” Session

resumeFor years we kept telling our technical resume/job search members they needed to get properly prepared before they rushed out into full-blown job search mode, even “passive” job search mode. We kept saying that those members who do see much better results, particularly in dramatically reducing the length of their job search time and the effectiveness of their resumes.

But it just wasn’t sexy enough…apparently. 🙂

[Or we weren’t convincing enough, I guess.]

Because we kept seeing heads nod in agreement but members rush out anyway into job board land and recruiter chaos (and attend network mixer after network mixer) without much of a “plan” other than trying a lot of things. (Or, worse, they marched into the promotion process, the highest stakes “career move” there is, without any leverage.)

So this year after introducing our concierge job search “launch” solutions to our resume portfolio offerings, we began tracking and publishing the results our members were receiving.

(We decided that if we wanted our members to invest in what we were saying, then we needed to prove it!)

And, not surprisingly, the stats are overwhelmingly in favor of implementing some type of “prep” session into your upcoming career move efforts. Overall, our members beat the national average for job search length by 4 months (a 67% improvement; 169 hours recovered for the member) and the resume response rate (# of resumes sent before receiving first call/response) by 100% with 90% of our members cutting the response time in half or better. (See our Latest Member ROI.)

But out of those stats, the members repeatedly driving down our averages were the ones that thought strategy first, execution second. (They averaged an 85% improvement over the national average in job search length, another 18% of time recovered over our other members.)

Why all the fuss?

Here’s the deal: Today’s technical job search, whether you are currently employed, unemployed, going for a promotion, or a consultant is more of a “zoo” than it used to be, and all that corporate “goo” that makes up most hiring and retention practices is, well, a bit sticky. Not to mention the fact that the job search is an emotional, often reactionary, process.

So the days of whipping up a resume and tossing it out to see what sticks “should” be over.

That is, if you value your time and your career AND want to reduce the stress that comes with a career move. And who doesn’t, really?

But I know: What we should do and what we actually do are typically not the same things.

That’s why, to make the mind shift easier, when I talk about a “Prep” Session, I am referring to a simple, low-commitment session with a big return that is conducted before you do anything else, NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF JOB SEARCH YOU ARE CONDUCTING.

The idea is to get you up to speed on where the market is today, how well you are positioned for the market you are targeting, and the steps that will get you better prepared for making that next move.

There’s no doubt that if you read all the trend reports, soul-search until the cows come home, and obsess over your resume, you’ll end up more confused than prepared.

So don’t short-change yourself.

Take an hour, get a Prep Session (even if you’re not looking to make that move until 6 months from now), and get some peace of mind that you have an authentic perspective going forward. (It doesn’t have to be expensive or exhaustive. It’s a “prep” session, after all.)

The idea is that you start off on the right foot. And if you’ve worked as hard as I know you do, then you deserve at least that.

(I believe in it so much that it is now a mandatory part of our membership!)

Listen. If you want to get good results, you do what works. Why do anything else?

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.