Five Ways to Get Hired When Employers Are Picky

You’ve probably heard about the so-called “IT skills gap,” the disconnect between available talent and the specific work that needs to be done, especially in areas like mobile app development, cloud computing and business analytics. Though a lot of job seekers say the gap is more about corporate manipulation, Computerworld says that, unfortunately, it’s real, and for some weird reasons.

Having said that, there are ways to jump over the gap. Bridging it is a challenge that can be met.

First, the reasons it exists:

  • Automated resume scanning is unforgiving. Given the flood of resumes that recruiters face, they have no choice but to scan them for key words in order to find the best matches between applicants and positions. But this brute force approach allows for no subtlety or analysis, so a person who’s a 97 percent fit but is missing one buzzword is tossed aside.
  • The world is passing some IT workers by. Choosing IT as a career means spending your time — often your own time — keeping up with fast-paced technological change. You may not want to take a class on mobile app development every night, but you may have to. What should you focus on? Security on mobile devices, infrastructure and network security, say the experts.
  • Outsourcing and the cloud have changed what the IT department does.      Much of the work IT was doing yesterday won’t be needed tomorrow. There are lots of yesterday people floating around, but not as many tomorrow people. Who do you think gets hired more?
  • Tech positions are being embedded within business units. The dream IT employee is now a business whiz too, talking the language of dollars and cents as well as the language of bits and bytes. Employers may be tossing aside the resumes of those who can’t talk the business talk.
  • Downsizing leaves no room for average workers. Smaller IT departments give recruiters the chance to screen out good but not great employees.

How can you succeed in this environment? Sure.

  • Make career management your number one skill.
  • Pursue training and certifications — on your own time and your own dime, if necessary.
  • Frame your work as solving business problems, not tech problems.
  • Develop soft skills like communication and use them to communicate your successes.
  • Either commit to an industry and build business skills, or develop deep IT skills and work for an outsourcer or service provider.

Related Links

9 Responses to “Five Ways to Get Hired When Employers Are Picky”

  1. Lost9875

    First of all, I’d like to know how “Sure” answers the question of “How can you succeed in this environment?”. I think it would be “Yes” or “No”. “Sure” doesn’t amke any kind of sense.

    That aside, your posting seems to think that the only future in IT is in the programming of more probably-useless APPs for underpowered portable devices i.e. smartphones.

  2. Fred Bosick

    A question I’ve asked in several places and never gotten an answer to.

    “If IT personnel are supposed to become business whizzes as well, what is there left for the executives to do?”

    It’s not enough that we’re supposed to master several languages and technologies, while suffering flat or declining income, having to pay for the training ourselves, while under constant threat of being outsourced(and training our replacements).

    Now we have to spoon feed clueless MBA holders who are getting 3 times our salary and coddle them when they pontificate about “cloud” BS?

  3. Computer Science Grad

    I’m all for pursuing training and certifications but I do not agree it should be at the expense of the displaced worker. And the last time I checked IT has nothing to do with programming or business. Just because an IT person enrolls in one or two programming or business classes does not mean they are gauranteed a job in that field.

  4. The information about IT being embedded in the business units doesn’t mean that the IT person should run the department. IT codifies the business process through the application in those areas and having a good understanding of what is done in the business operation informs the application development. You get better context and produce better quality output because you have a better understanding of what the operations people do. It’s simply easier and faster to solve operational problems through your work (and help your resume) when you understand how your part of the business is run.

    Infrastructure and architecture and all those functions aren’t usually in the business units; it’s the applications those business units use where that is happening.

    That doesn’t mean none of this is frustrating. I just got passed on a resume where I thought I was perfectly qualified but got nailed by problem number one above.

    No one said this was easy.

    • The only way you get the type of experience discribed above is by working in the company and obtaining institutional knowledge, companies cannot expect anyone to have that knowledge walking through the door.

  5. awachsman

    Heaven help you if you’re over 50. Even if automated resume scanning does bring you to a potential recruiter’s attention, a prejudice against older workers automatically obtains, and this is the case regardless of documented experience, track record and assiduous maintenance/improvement of skills. Recruiters are open about this phenomenon and may commiserate with you, but at the end of the day, if you’re unemployed for any reason, including corporate takeovers, and you’ve got some miles on you, the job search is more than likely going to be unproductive.

  6. Daniel Motta

    There is no much you can do as an employee, when employers bring in from overseas 200,000 IT professionals via H1-B, L1 visas issued by the Labor Department, year over year. Can’t compete with salaries paid in Rupees, back in India, no matter how much you know, it is simple profit making for the Agencies and Corporate. Simple math.

    There is plenty of work, mainframe, pc, .net…but Americans need not to apply.

    Sad but true!