FREE – Job Hunting Essential Guide

Free e-Book – Getting a Job in IT the Smart Way
eBook Cover as a book 200x200 FREE   Job Hunting Essential Guide

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 I get a Job in IT?

Top 10 200x2001 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 your 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.

useful resources button How do I get a Job in IT?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.”

 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
     How do I get a Job in IT? 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. 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.
Mindgenius1 How do I get a Job in IT?

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

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.

CV Writing Service 5 Tips To Make You More Employable This Year

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 ‘Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions‘ by Martin John Yate. 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

 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

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Resume

Top 10 200x2001 Top 10 Tips for Writing a ResumeHere are my top 10 tips and hints for writing a resume or CV.  Preparing a CV is a something that you can develop and perfect. Remember this is your marketing brochure so spend time and get it right. If you do get stuck then please get in touch, I offer CV writing services if you really want to get that Resume/CV polished up quickly Contact Me.

 

 


1. No more than 3 pages
 This has been an age old dilemma with CV/Resume writing, how many pages to include? There is no hard and fast rule, to be honest it depends on the preference of the interviewer. If you can get everything onto 2 pages then great, but don’t add more than 3 pages. Most recruitment agencies and interviewers will get bored past the page three and unless your Resume is amazing then it is destined for the bin. 

2. Don’t just repeat your responsibilities

This is such a common error on your Resume/CV and really does not demonstrate your real accomplishments. Included bullet points such as ‘managed a geographically dispersed service desk team consisting of 5 people’ or ‘Setup a structured Service Desk based on ITIL best practises brining together geographically dispersed teams’. These describe your roles and achievements more effectively and lifts your accomplishments off the page. 

3. Use meaningful data when explaining accomplishments
 What I mean here is that use statistics to backup your accomplishments. Things like ‘Led implementation of new Service Desk ticketing system which saw a 20% increase in customer satisfaction’. Of course please be prepared to backup your statement, but these achievements add more weight in your Resume than simply saying you are responsible for a Service Desk Ticketing System.  

4. Have more than one CV/Resume

This may sounds strange, but it is very likely you will be applying for different types of job in different sectors. Tailor your Resume so that you can target specific roles. For a role with a Bank you might want to explain your experience and exposure to FSA rules or in a Retail company your exposure to EFTPOS etc. You are unlikely to impress an employer with your knowledge of EFTPOS if you are applying for a job with a Legal company.
hints1 150x150 Top 10 Tips for Writing a ResumeMake a list of accomplishment you have achieved over the past three years. Then expand the list to include at least 5 accomplishments from each of your previous jobs over the past 10 years. You can then cut and paste these into your Resume depending on the job you are going for. This helps you tailor your CV/Resume and at the same time keeps it fresh. Remember to use accomplishments with evidence.

 

5. Don’t exaggerate

Unless you are very good at lying then please do not make up or exaggerate your experience on your Resume, you will be found out. Any good interviewer will drill down into your experience and will soon pickup on any ambiguity.

6. Avoid Repetition

Always check that you haven’t used the same words for describing different skills, work experience, or interests, and check for unnecessary adjectives. For example mix words like managed, responsible for, led or effectively managed. Check down your bullet list and make sure you do not start the same bullet with the same words each time.   

7. Check your spelling or grammar

This is going to sound harsh, but if I see spelling mistakes or poor grammar in a Resume then it immediately goes in the bin. I am by no means great with English so I always get help when I am writing an important report or article. I ask someone independent to proof read the piece of work for me. I might even ask a second person to do the same. You will be amazed at how much you miss yourself. Please read and re-read your Resume and get friends and family to proof read it for you.

8. Make changes regularly
 Always keep your CV fresh and up-to-date. Make tweaks and changes regularly especially if you have finished a project or achieved a qualification. This ensures your Resume is up-to-date and is as effective as it can be to market your capabilities. 

9. Include a Cover Letter

Almost every time you upload your Resume when applying for an online job advert you are going to be asked for a cover letter. You must approach this letter in the same way any other formal letter. Please start with Dear or Sir or Madam and end with Yours Sincerely. Please start your first sentence with “I enclose my latest curriculum vitae in application to the advertised vacancy <job reference and title>”. The next one or two paragraphs should outline your skills and ambitions. Then finish with a bullet point list of career highlights (that are not included in your Resume) with the usual evidence. Again apply the same rules of spelling and grammar. A cover letter is another opportunity to market yourself,  but you are a risk of making all the good work in your Resume come to nothing with a poor quality Resume. Take a look here at 2 FREE example  cover letters.

10. Correctly format your CV

There is a wealth of useful information on the net about formatting CV’s and again much of the layout of a CV is down to personal choice. There is no hard and fast rule about the order of events and what should or should not be included. I like to see interests on a CV because you get an opportunity to use this to engage with the applicant more socially, but you will some recruitment agents leaving this section out. Here are some do’s and don’ts-

  • Do use a clear, commonly used font, like Arial 10
  • Don’t use a comic or kids font, it gives the wrong impression
  • Do keep your font consistent through the Resume
  • Do order your previous jobs newest to oldest
  • Do give more emphasis on your current or most recent role i.e. more bullet points
  • Do include your qualifications (the good ones)
  • Do include your name, address and contact number (make sure the information is correct and up-to-date)

Why not check out my eBook How do I get a Job in IT‘. There is a chapter dedicated to preparing a professional Resume including examples.

cv cartoon1 Top 10 Tips for Writing a Resume