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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.

"If a recruiter tries to Google your name, can they find you quickly? This is hugely important - if they can't find you quickly on Google, you might as well not exist. This is especially true if you have a common name like, 'Robert Jones,' for example. It's not simply a matter of being visible on Google. What's really important is being known for something. If your special expertise is FEO [front end optimization], you want to show up on the first page when the recruiter Googles 'Robert Jones FEO'," says Burns. If something negative does come up in the search and you can't make it go away be prepared to discuss it at interviews.

LinkedIn and social media have become powerful tools in regards to job search and network building. They help passive job seekers to attract recruiters and recruiters to source new candidates. Don't wait until you're unemployed to dress up your profile.

"It's best to keep it up-to-date with a focused message, a strong value statement, and high-impact achievements listed along with skills endorsements and good recommendations. In addition, you want to be sure that the profile is optimized for search by having it be keyword-rich in the proper places," says Van Vreede.

13. Maintain Your LinkedIn Profile
While this problem occurs among job hunters across all industries, it's particularly damaging to IT workers, whose currency in specific methodologies or technologies can make a huge difference.

"Recruiters are constantly hunting for great talent on LinkedIn, and your Profile updates can mean the difference between receiving calls or being ignored when you apply to hot job postings. Like some IT pros, you may consider yourself an introvert, and therefore be uncomfortable sharing details of your career on LinkedIn. Get over it - otherwise, you'll be passed over when employers come calling," says Smith-Proulx. One tip from Smith-Proulx: When you're updating your online profile or resume keep the descriptions of past projects, but lose the technical skills associated with them. This strategy will allow you to keep the experience on your resume, but remove outdated technologies that can make your skills look old-school.

14. Being Too Over Confident
"We always hear a lot about the importance in confidently projecting yourself in an interview, but it's just as vital to not appear to be overly confident. Take the time to draw on past experiences, challenges and successes to discuss accomplishments. Emphasizing achievements and confidence is key, but make sure it's done it a way that shows your substance," says Cullen.

15. Bad-Mouthing Your Former Co-workers or Employers
Most tech pros can look back upon at least one person or team who made work miserable. Navigating through the waters of work politics can be trying to even the most even-keeled IT pro, but no matter how tempting it may be, talking negatively about your previous boss or company is never a wise thing to do, even if that's the reason you left or are leaving your current position.


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