FREE – Essential Guide to Job Hunting

Free e-Book – Getting a Job in IT the Smart Way
Getting a Job in IT - ebook cover

Are you finding the job hunting process to be competitive, frustrating and ultimately unrewarding? In a competitive job market are you struggling to get your foot in the door? Do you apply for hundreds of jobs, but never get a response? Is your interview technique letting you down? Do you never have the right answers for tough interview questions? Then this book is what you have been looking for, whether you are trying to get your first job in IT, looking to get back into the industry after a break or looking for the next role on your IT career ladder.

Getting a Job in IT the Smart Way is your definitive guide to navigating the job hunting process from CV design to closing the deal. Packed with helpful advice, examples, hints and tips on how to impress a prospective employer this book will arm you with the tools needed to get you that dream IT job.

Please provide your name and email address for your free download.


How Do You Know When is the Right Time to Change Jobs

One of the hardest things about a job is to know when to move one. How do you know when it’s time to leave a company? The challenge is to see the signs and the actively do something about it. More often than not we are too comfortable in our surroundings and unable to see the forest for the trees in order to step back and objectively evaluate if this is the right job, the right company or the right career path.

If you have been feeling any combination of the following for a period of months then maybe you should update your CV and dip your toe in the job market-

  • Career path is flat with no obvious upward move on the horizon
  • No longer learning or gaining knowledge in your current role
  • No longer feel wanted
  • Not getting job satisfaction
  • The role is not challenging you anymore

Please be careful that you take the emotion out of your decision making. Don’t make your decision a knee jerk reaction to an event at work that has emotionally impacted you. The old cliché is ‘The grass is not always greener’ is very apt when moving from one company to another based on thinking that you won’t suffer the same company politics for example. You can be sure that the new company will have all the same baggage as your old company.

To help you make decisions seek guidance and advice from those around you that you trust. Your decision to move is likely to have a major impact, positive or negative on your work/life balance so make sure you discuss your feelings and plans before committing.

For more advice on CV writing, CV examples and CV writing services please click here.

How do I get a Job in IT?

Here are my top 10 ways to getting a job in IT. If you want to succeed in IT then this list contains your essential guide to improving your chances of landing that dream job. Also please reference the Resources page for links to tools, books and appls referenced here.

These are all tried and test techniques that I have either used or recommended to friends and colleagues.


1. Get Qualified 
When an employer looks at a CV that person is going to want to see evidence that you are capable of applying yourself, have an ability to learn and have experience of the tool or functional area you are applying for. I cannot stress how important it is to demonstrate to employers that you have that capability. If you have Prince2 Practitioner or your are a qualified ISO 9001 auditor then make sure these are included in your CV. If you feel you have gaps in your IT professional qualifications then do something about it. Don’t let that be the reason you are not getting interviews. I can recommend an online elearning company called elearning-centre.com who specialise in high quality online content with over 2700 courses in many different IT categories. They do offer an excellent ITIL v3 course that will prepare you for the ITIL v3 exam and even includes practice exam questions.  

I recently completed an home study degree course that I started back in 2008. I wanted to get a more commercial focused so I could better interact with business leaders within my company and then relate that better to my role as Head of IT. The other objective was that I noticed on job descriptions for roles such as CIO or IT Director almost always required that the candidate ‘be Degree educated’. I was not going to let that be the reason while I was not getting my dream job. It was hard work and took many hours out of my free time, but I am very proud to say that I am now a BA (Hons) Business Studies degree with an upper second. If you are interested in this type of study then I really can recommend the Open University (www.open.ac.uk). Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information or advice about the OU.  

2. Know ITIL 
N
early all service orientated IT roles these days, especially with medium to large companies, are going to require you to have experience of a or exposure to ITIL. If you are not at least qualified to foundation level then your CV will not get past the first cut.

Please take a look at the ITIL page for more information on ITIL.

ITIL v3 Foundation Level i
s the entry level qualification which offers practitioners a general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, including the linkages between Lifecycle stages, the processes used and their contribution to Service Management practises.

These are some really useful resources that can point you in the right direction to get ITIL certified. As mentioned above I can reommend elearning-centre.com who offer a fantastic self study online course. Also this ITIL v3 Foundation Complete Certification Kit which is a one-stop-shop for ITIL certification

The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) V3 Foundation Complete Certification Kit is the most complete guide for anyone involved in IT Service Management and who are aiming to take the ITIL V3 Foundation exam, whether they be first-time ITIL learners or seasoned IT professionals. Still a number one best-seller for IT Management from Amazon.com to Barnes and Noble and many more, this Third edition has refreshed the study guide and online learning program, with its updated, inspiring, and detailed plan for passing your ITIL V3 Foundation exam on the first attempt. With new examples, instructions, and cautionary advice, the ITIL V3 Foundation Complete Certification Kit is, to quote numerous of ITIL certified clients, “the gold standard of ITIL Certification.”

 4. Be aggressive when job hunting  3. Is IT for you?
I know that sounds like a silly question especially if you have found this blog and actually started reading it, however, it is important that you are looking for roles that best suit your personality and skill level. As an IT practitioner your goal might be varied depending on your chosen field; to produce quality software, to provide a value add service, to implement change effectively and in budget or to improve productivity for all employees.  It is important then that your objective or goal as a practitioner matches the goals and objectives of the functional role you have chosen. If you want to be a vet, but you are scared of dogs then you are unlikely to make much progress in your chosen career. If you don’t like interacting with people then please don’t consider working in an IT Service Desk because this is a fundamental part of the role.

Try this free career aptitude test click here.

4. Be aggressive when job hunting 

One of the most common ways to job hunt these days is to apply to online adverts from sites like jobserve.co.uk or monster.com. That is fine and you will find a lot of good stuff out there. However, a word of advice and then a word of warning!

Advice – Make a note of the job you are applying for, especially the person who has lodged the advert. Make sure you get their phone number also. Even if this is not known you can call the companies main line number from their website to speak to that person. You will need to allow about 24 hours so you can be sure your CV has arrived and then give them a call. Ask them if they have received your CV and maybe they can tell you more about the role? Your CV now comes out from in the middle of the very large stack and is now on top of the queue. This is a very effective way of getting past that first stage. Remember recruitment agents get hundreds of CV’s every day. All they want is to get 5 or so CV’s in front of the recruiting company. Once they have 5 they will discard the rest.  

Warning – Recruiting agents use job sites for clever marketing such as –

  • gathering your information to sell on
  • Using your CV to contact you and then sell their own recruiting services in your present company. This is becoming very popular
  • I even had one agent that was setting up adverts so they can get you to contact and persuade you to get your CV updated, at a cost of course 

5. Prepare a quality CV

Your CV is your marketing brochure. If this is poor quality, contains spelling and grammar errors or even contains too many pages then you are already at a disadvantage. Please take a look at my Top 10 tips for writing an IT CV or my CV writing service.

6. Be prepared for your interview

It amazes me just how unprepared some candidates are when they walk in the door. You should not expect to roll into an interview and walk your way through it without some preparation.

  • Firstly don’t consider the discussion as a job interview, but rather a business meeting
  • Do your research; prepare questions, research the company, download the company accounts, know where the company operates, what products?, what geographical regions, what was the last two big news events etc
  • During the interview try and build a rapport with the interviewer, exchange information, ask questions, match your skills to the needs of the role, make it conversational. Be prepared for typical interview questions
    I used a book called Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions
    which helped me prepare for those awkward interview questions. This latest edition contains many examples of difficult questions that interviewers like to throw at you, showing you how to answer them in a way that will advance your application and help you to secure that dream job
  • Before the end make sure you know next steps and timelines
  • Look smart, where a good suit, tie and clean white shirt. Why not take a look at this great offer at TM Lewin. I got most of my shirts from these guys.

7. Start networking
This is by far the most popular and common way of getting a job today. Networking can take many forms. The obvious is to to get yourself out to job fairs, seminars and symposiums and got and meet people. Make sure your peers know who you are. Of course the stereotypical IT person does not usually have such personality traits. If you do then I can assure you that this is the best way of getting your foot in the door. For the rest of us, and I do include myself here, then a more subtle and understated approach is to get yourself signed up for professional social networking sites like linked in (http://www.linkedin.com). Why not take a look at my profile and get connected – Andrew Scott at Linkedin.com. This has become a very popular place for companies to recruit directly without incuring recruitment charges why not take a look at the job section and include this in your marketing plan. The site allows you to build your own profile so effectively becomes an online CV that has a more personal look and feel. I can recommend this Linkedin.com guide to job seeking for more information about this under used gem.

Take a look at this great video ‘How to get a new job uisng Linkedin’.

8. Get Skilled – personal development
This is a similar theme to getting qualified back in bullet 1. There are many personal development skills that you can learn that will improve yourself and improve the way you work. I remember taking a speed reading course a few years ago now. It totally changed the way I was able to read reports or large documents. I did not realise such a skill was possible or that I could learn it to a point where I am now able to scan large documents and even read books super quick and still be able to retain the information presented.

Other course I can recommend are Time Management, presentation skills, public speaking, negotiation skills, any kind of management training would also be beneficial. Most HR departments run many of these types of course within the normal personal development programmes.

9. Have short, medium and long term goals

This is actually a techniques I learned on a time management course and I recommend everyone to do this on a regular basis. Simply recording your short term (day-to-day), medium term (month-to-month) and longer term (upto a year) goals, tasks, aspirations and objectives. You can keep these electronically on tools like Microsoft OneNote (which is excellent) or just record them in your work notepad.

Short Term 
These are day-to-day tasks that you might need to complete that day or that week. I do this every Monday and again each day, preparing what I would like to get accomplished i.e. Complete budget report, purchase domain name, Book ISO9001 audit meeting rooms (This is actually on my list to do today). You can expand that to tasks you want to complete this week i.e. Finish Top 10 guide to becoming a good practitioner (also on my list). This does not have to be specific to your working life, I also have buy lottery ticket and purchase Florida tour guide.

Medium Term 
 Thinking further ahead now, what can I achieve this month or in the next six months. I have got these on my list – complete ISO27001 audit training, Prepare for and book ISO9001 audit and finish phase 1 of MyHowDoIGetaJobinIT.com website. For you this could be to have a finished CV in the market or started job hunting marketing plan.

Longer Term
Long term goals are usually related to your goals or aspirations for a given time period i.e. By the end of the year I want to be in my new job or I want to have published my first ebook. Try and be realistic at the same time as pushing yourself to achieve. If you want to be fluent in Spanish within a year write it down, but at the same time, be focused about doing something about it. It is no good just writing these down unless you really want to achieve something.

Mind Genius
I use a great mind mapping product from Mind Genius
for my goal and task management. I find using products like this helps me manage my time much better and gives me a great sense of achievement and job satisfaction.

10. Don’t give up
In reality you are very likely to be rejected even after all this good word. Whether that be not making the final candidates for interview or even if you get an interview and are not selected. Always be proactive and brave. Call the recruiter and ask them why you were not selected? Be confident enough to ask them what you could do better? This does not always work as they really just want to move on and get commission, but if you have built a rapport with an agency representative then they are more likely to give you some free advice.

If you do make it to interview, take that as a positive. Your CV is working for you for starters. Again ask for feedback, learn from the interview process. Go through a lessons learned process yourself, right down what you did well and what was not so good and practise so you do it better next time.

The market place right now in the IT industry is competitive, but there are plenty of really good roles out there and employers are looking for really good candidates. Be positive, keep improving your CV, keep practising interview technique and keep applying for those jobs.

I wish you all the very best of good luck
Andy

What is ITIL?

What is ITIL?

Information Technology Infrastructure Library, luckily ITIL for short, is a de-facto set of standards or practices for delivering IT services from inception through to delivery and lifecycle. I will reference ITIL frequently throughout this blog as it represents a globally recognised standard that you will find in the vast majority of business today. If you going for an IT job in a blue chip then you will not get far if you don’t have experience of, exposure too or qualifications in ITIL. I can recommend ITIL V3 Foundation Pocket Handbook, which will start you thinking about ITIL.

 

Why is ITIL so important?

ITIL is argued  to be the most widely adopted IT Service Management standard in the world. I would advocate that almost  all blue chip listed companies will have adopted, in some capacity, ITIL best practice recommendations. It is important to remember that ITIL is not a standard that an organisation can be certified as. The point of ITIL is to provide organisations with a framework or structure to base IT strategy, objectives and mission statement. It can be adapted to work in any industry or sector and applied to any size organisation.


Why is it so important? As a result of the popularity and proven credence of ITIL organisations who adhere to the standard will expect new employees candidates to have had exposure to and/or be qualified to at least ITIL v3 foundation level.

Resources

  • ITIL v3 Foundation Pocket Handbook – designed to help students sitting the ITIL v3 exam. The book provides a key reference aid for readers who want to pass the ITIL v3 foundation exam. 
  • FREE sample v3 foundation exam paper to help students studying for the ITIL v3 Foundation exam. 
  • Complete set of core ITIL v3 publications – Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Orientation and Continual Service Improvement. Each of the five publications represents a stage in the ITIL service lifecycle. The suite of titles offers considerable costs savings against purchasing all five titles individually: save 29% against purchasing all five individually.
  • Passing your ITIL foundation exam by Christian F. Nissen – this study aid is the ideal companion for students preparing for their ITIL Foundation Exam. The publication presents the Foundation content in an easy-to-follow structure, which is ideal for learning, and developing an understanding of the basic concepts, principles and terminology associated with IT service management.
  • elearning-centre.com are a provider of the Highest Quality online training courses and with over 2700 courses to choose from. They offer excellent self-study ITIL v3 courses that will offer students the necessary resources to pass the ITIL v3 foundation certification.

5 Tips To Make You More Employable This Year

The job market in the UK, Europe and the US is ultra-competitive at the moment. Big institutions are threatening redundancies, government austerity measures are impacting jobs in the public sector and growth is still stagnant. So, how can you go about making yourself stand out from the crowd? Here are some tips on how you can become more employable.

1. Work on your CV

This has two aspects. First you need to improve the actual CV document, so focus on the way you are presenting the information to an employer. Is the layout correct? Does the most important information stand out? Are your qualifications and experience obvious to those who don’t know you? Think about improving the appearance of the document to make it more eye-catching, but don’t let it become gimmicky. Get some advice from your friends or family. If you do get to speak to a recruitment company then ask their opinion.

You should also think about developing your CV by improving the contents. Are there any development areas? Is there any training in your current role that would enhance your CV and get you more experience?

I offer a professional resume writing service. All I need is a copy of your existing CV or Resume and any information you can provide related to interests, professional qualifications, working history, education and achievements. I will have your new CV and complimentary cover letter with you withing 5 working days. Please contact me for more information.

Resume Writing Service

2. Develop new skills

This is closely linked to point one. Once you have worked out how to enhance your CV, you might find that you need to develop new skills or areas of expertise in order to achieve your goals. This could mean going on training or professional development courses. There are many different courses on offer. Choose something that you will enjoy and that will be useful in the future.

Consider developing your personal skills, for example, you could undergo a leadership course or learn how to mentor others..

3. Change your job application pattern

Perhaps you have got into a rut with your job applications. You may send out so many applications that they start to blur after a while. While you might change your application slightly for each job to tailor it to the job specification, you might still rely on a cover letter and personal statement that was written months ago. Try starting again from scratch. How would you sell your experience and skills now?

It is also important to consider the types of job you are applying for. Perhaps you are applying for too narrow a range of positions and could consider alternative roles. Or the opposite problem could be true. Are you using a ‘scattergun’ approach and applying for too many jobs when you would be better applying for positions only in your field?

4. Do a mock interview

‘Practise makes perfect’ is very apt for interviews. Sitting an interview is one of the most alien things you are likely to do. Most IT people choose IT because they are not sales people. They are no good at selling themselves yet this is what we are trying to do in an interview.

Going along to interviews even if you are no successful is a great way to get experience. Learn from your mistake, remember the questions you got stuck on and develop your responses. Get advice and coaching from friends and family. If you are lucky maybe even ask one of them to sit a mock interview with you and learn from the experience. The process will give you the chance to rehearse some of your answers to challenging interview questions and hopefully you will get some positive feedback on your performance.

I can recommend The Interview Question & Answer Book: Your Definitive Guide to the Best Answers to Even the Toughest Interview Questions book by James Innes. I use this myself and contains load of examples of typical interview questions and how to phrase your response.

5. Broaden your horizons!

Although it is easy to become single minded when looking for a job, it is important to constantly reassess the situation. Are you sure that you really want to work in the field for which you are applying? If you have any doubts, perhaps it’s time to come up with an alternative plan. There are many other ways of finding fulfilling work apart from doing a permanent job. Many scholars have portfolio careers where they work for a number of different universities, perhaps doing freelance tutoring or exam marking as well.

You could also consider volunteering. It is a great way of getting new skills and of helping a charity or local organisation. And it will really enhance your CV and give you a sense of self-worth during a difficult time of unemployment. Future employers will look favourably on someone who thinks outside the box to try to develop their workplace skills. (The agreed supreme walks before the pretended governor.)

10 Tips for Negotiating a Salary

Negotiating for a salary can be a difficult subject, Andrew Gordon from jobs.ac.uk suggests these 10 useful tips for success when in salary negotiations.

1. Overcome your anxieties

Many people squirm at the thought of salary negotiations. They can’t imagine asking for a better deal and will often accept the first salary that is offered. But you should overcome your anxieties and, like Oliver Twist, ask for more. Salary negotiations are a normal part of business. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Just think of it as establishing a fair relationship between you and your new employer. Read more here