Spread the love

During economic boom, techies might have been offered jobs after a perfunctory interview. Now employers have become increasingly selective, so technology professionals — even those with years of experience — must face facts. To get hired you need to become a pro not just at coding Java or .Net, but at selling yourself to companies inundated with résumés. This is no easy task for those who have forgotten how to pitch themselves to employers. “A lot of people are new to this,” says Patti Wilson, owner of The Career Company, a Silicon Valley career management firm. Here’s a crash course in the art of selling yourself.

Soft skills

Only a decade ago you could have bagged a decent job with two years’ experience as a systems administrator. No longer— not when you are competing against hundreds of candidates with skills similar to yours. Candidates must now assess their soft skills. “This is about doing a little bit of soul-searching,” Wilson says. Ron Peterson, branch manager at the St Louis office of IT staffing firm Bradford and Galt, suggests techies asking themselves about core competencies, especially mentoring and team-building.

Perfect pitch

The elevator pitch is a brief self-marketing statement to be delivered at job fairs, conferences or other networking events. The pitch should echo the summary of a résumé, according to Wilson, and focus on four key points designed to attract employers’ attention. The pitch should sound informal and unrehearsed. To practice, deliver it to your answering voice mail, Wilson advises.

Learn to network

Networking is about being able to connect from person to person. “It’s about building a web of relationships, until you meet someone who’s looking for what you do,” says Wilson. That means attending technical conferences, classes, job fairs, IT organisations and professional networking events designed for IT professionals. Even civic organisations, such as arts groups and other non-profits, can be useful. Plan lunches or after-work meetings with former colleagues, recruiters and others. “Try to be out there and make an effort to be known,” says Wesley Jost, who has retooled his networking efforts after being laid off. “If you sit around and wait for something to happen, you’re going to be disappointed.”

Know your audience

Selling yourself effectively means learning everything you can about a company, from the time you write a cover letter to the interview day. Tech jobseekers “need to research the company, be able to speak intelligently about the company and offer their skills to solve the company’s problems,” says Barry Mills, national recruiting director for MATRIX Resources.

Support structure

In order to learn, or relearn, networking and interviewing skills, look to organisations offering workshops or classes, such as NOVA, a one-stop career-development organisation.

Be a closer

Mills suggests techies use a traditional sales tactic for closing the sale. At the end of an interview, ask the interviewer, “Based on this interview, is there anything that would keep you from hiring me for this position?” As Mills notes, “It’s very much a sales-type question.” What’s more, send a follow-up note to the individuals you’ve met at the company, thanking them for their time.

Practice patience

Finally, don’t be discouraged if finding a job takes weeks or months. “Practice patience each and every day,” Jost says. “You won’t be handed your job like you were a year ago.” Put it this way: If you stop looking, you’re out of the game. As any salesperson knows, perseverance is essential to closing the sale.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Paste your AdWords Remarketing code here