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15 common IT job search mistakes

Rich Hein | Oct. 17, 2013
Searching for a new IT position in a competitive market can be an uphill battle. One little mistake could cost you the opportunity. Read on to make sure you aren't making one of these commonly seen blunders in your job search.

"In most cases, that's 100 percent incorrect. What it does in reality is dilute your message on the resume, online profile, etc. and spread your time too thin. You end up chasing things on the fringe that you don't really want and are not a great match for." Van Vreede says. "Defining a narrow scope for the search will help you to create content that truly resonates with your target audience and will aid in saving you lots of time by weeding out unsuitable opportunities."

4. Not Researching Prospective Employers
"One of the best - and oldest - pieces of advice is to research the company. Yet it's always at the top of list for biggest mistakes in job searching. People hear it, but they don't do it," says career coach and resume writer Donald Burns.

Although this seems like a no-brainer it apparently happens a lot. Researching the company you are interviewing with will give you insight into what they do, who their customers are and the problems they face. This, in turn, allows you to formulate intelligent questions for your interview.

5. Talking Too Much Tech
Focusing too much on the technical skills in a position is something that's common in IT interviews, according to Jack Cullen, president of Modis, a national IT recruiting firm.

"While these elements are definitely important to the position, companies hire on cultural fit and the person that's interviewing you needs to really get a sense of your personality in a short period of time," says Cullen.

While specific networking or application development skills can make a difference early in your career, its business competencies that will distinguish you. The higher you move up the ladder the more so. You've got to understand and be able to articulate at least one or two stories that highlight your achievements.

Resume strategist Laura Smith-Proulx offers this advice to her clients. "It's important to show how these skills were used to achieve business results. If you don't know how a particular project affected your employer, take some time to find out the results in terms of business efficiency, new revenue, or cost savings. After pulling together a cohesive story, consider listing it in C-A-R format, Challenge-Action-Result, on your resume or LinkedIn Profile; this strategy can help you collect your thoughts on the intensity of the project and its outcome," says Smith-Proulx.

6. Too Much Technical Detail in Your Resume

IT pros typically have longer resumes. It's not easy to effectively document several years of experience within the IT field on one page. "Resumes are typically longer for IT candidates, but anything exceeding three pages can wear out even the most patient recruiter. If you struggle to fit your experience into two-three pages, consider looking at resume samples or working with a professional writer to trim your narrative for readability," says Smith-Proulx.


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