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16 "Secrets" to Surviving Today's Technical Job Market

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16 "Secrets" to Surviving Today's Technical Job Market

  1. 1. 16 “Secrets” to Surviving Today’s Technical Job Market AKA… “How to Avoid Becoming Part of the 95%” 866.755.9800 1
  2. 2. Successfully Delivering Messaging & Job Search Solutions for CIOs, CTOs, Technology Executives, IT Experts & Business Leaders at Top National & Global Companies, Start-Up & Venture Capital Firms, Government Agencies and Contractors
  3. 3. #1. Recognize that resumes aren’t dead, but they are ailing. 95% of technical professionals will all do the same thing; the same thing they’ve always done... They’ll toss out a resume (even maybe a decent one) and then hope for the best. But there are so many more tools at your disposal today, from project highlights options to innovation pages to LinkedIn profiles to online bios, and hiring is going more and more social. So although the traditional resume is still required, employers are slower to pull the trigger when vetting talent, and they often need more of a push than the resume gives them. That’s why some technical pros (the 5%) have made a radical adjustment over the past year, to continue to embrace the chronological resume (because it still serves a purpose) but to build in addenda or portfolio pages to go along with the resume that, when used properly, can help build in flexibility and prepare you to face different hiring scenarios. 866.755.9800 3 For more on this, check out “How to Get a Whole Lot More Than Just Another Technical Resume.”
  4. 4. Your Technical Resume Portfolio Arsenal • Resume • LinkedIn Profile • Cover Letter • Marketing Brief • Bio • Thank-You Template • Infographic Resume • Problems-Solutions- Results (PSR) Page • Innovation Page • Testimonials Page • Project Highlights Page 866.755.9800 4 For more on why we advocate for a portfolio approach, check out our presentation, “Move Over Resume, Hello Portfolio.” But all boils down to one thing: We’re interested in doing what works. Aren’t you?
  5. 5. #2. Brush up on those soft skills. Today’s tech industry is asking more from its tech leaders than just tech knowledge and certifications (although they remain important too). It wants to see strong soft skills as well. For more on this, check out our article “The Softer Side of Tech” ( 866.755.9800 5
  6. 6. #3. Be prepared for non-techies competing for tech leadership roles, at least in some places. Here are some key attitudes that are now starting to take hold in this arena (right or wrong, good or bad): • Soft skills are more important than tech skills. • Non-tech people can learn tech “on the fly.” • Business intelligence is an avenue into the tech world. • We can never have too many project managers. The general advice to non-techies is to brush up on some tech “lingo” (aka computer code) and sell, sell, sell those communication and fast-learning skills. Therefore, those with a technical background need to be prepared to showcase how their experience, combined with the soft skills, makes them a better asset. A portfolio helps do that. Many job market watchdogs think the tech job market is ripe for non-tech people because soft skills are so paramount. Some non-tech companies are embracing this. The general belief is that “anybody” can learn tech…at least enough of it to get by (while the rest is outsourced to service providers anyway…the true “techies”). 866.755.9800 6
  7. 7. #4. Don’t ignore technical recruiting! Take ‘em or leave ‘em…recruiters are here to stay…at least at the moment, and especially in the technical arena. If you know how to use them to your advantage, they can be a great pipeline for you throughout your tech career. But not all of them are right for you, and you can waste a lot of time on them if you are not properly matched with them. For a more in-depth look at technical recruiting, check out “How You Can Leverage Recruiters to Build a Career Protection “Pipeline” : 866.755.9800 7
  8. 8. 866.755.9800 8 There’s no doubt social recruiting on LI is on the rise. The stats paint an interesting picture: • 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent • 89% of them are hiring from LinkedIn Click on image to find out more For 2 years in a row, tech recruiters have reported “a lack of skilled candidates as their greatest challenge and social media as their greatest opportunity.” (study by Bullhorn) This should be good news for properly positioned technical pros…
  9. 9. How does your LinkedIn profile rate? To help you get a better feel for where you currently stand with your LinkedIn profile, I’ve developed a simple self-assessment survey you can take that is quick to do, free, and helps you compare your profile against those that are having more success on LI in building a recruiter “pipeline”: LI Profile Optimization Self-Assessment 866.755.9800 9
  10. 10. So how do you become part of the 5% who are building a recruiter pipeline? 866.755.9800 10 From the Tech Job Market Zoo to the Corporate Goo... How to Protect What You’ve Built So Far. The Best Way to Find Tech Recruiters If you’re thinking spending hours on LinkedIn combing through search results is the way to go, you will quickly find that it eats up most of your precious job search time. Instead, you can get updated directories with all the latest contact info by specialization, which will save you so much time and frustration! Here are some directories you can purchase inexpensively and get started engaging recruiters today: • U.S. Technical Recruiter Directory • CIO Recruiter Directory • IT Project/Program Management Recruiter Directory Prefer a Customized List Instead? Find out more by clicking here.
  11. 11. #5. Think audience, audience, audience, not you, you, you. A lot of tech pros (that 95% again) make the mistake of thinking that technical fields come down to credentials and background only and overlook a key ingredient: audience. It’s important to know what matters to your target market, and it isn’t always what you think it is. In fact, hiring decisions today are often less made on credentials alone. (In fact, they are more often made based on benefits; so think benefits, not features!) So don’t get fooled that just because you work in tech you know what companies are looking for in regard to tech. You might just be surprised to find out that your perception is much different from the hiring reality. 866.755.9800 11
  12. 12. #6. Understand how a portfolio solution can maximize your personal branding. Companies want to see how you problem solve, how you lead, how you apply your tech skills to business solutions, and the types of soft skills you excel at. Again, when done properly and when submitted properly, having additional options to the traditional resume can help you meet this demand. 866.755.9800 12 For more on what we mean by “portfolio,” please check out
  13. 13. Meet John Chavner from our latest Resume Makeover Series He is a senior/executive IT leader who was having difficult representing his experience in a way that was most relevant to today's market. Here's how he tells it: "While I have always had positive feedback on my resume, this makeover process for me was about getting the presentation of the content positioned for today's marketplace. A favorite saying I once heard rings true in this case, 'Presentation will dictate response'," says Chavner. When we began working together, I challenged John to set aside his understanding of conventional resume wisdom to look at what is really working in today's hiring process. As a result, we began building more of a portfolio-based approach, something that is often overlooked but highly effective. The first document we created was John's traditional resume, but in addition, there were specific projects to which he wanted to draw attention, including a stint as a CIO for SkyFiber. Therefore, we created a Project highlights document that included additional background and details of his three most important initiatives, which will help to provide richer context about his career, knowledge and achievements. 866.755.9800 13
  14. 14. To read more about the process we went through, check out the following article written by Sharon Florentine of, where she highlights both John and I: Resume Makeover: Presentation Dictates Response In the end, John received interview offers within days of submitting his new portfolio approach, and he summed up his experience as follows: "I figured my resume was something I should just be able to do on my own. But the finished results exceeded my expectations, which was surprising. While I had no preconceived ideas of what the completed document should look like, I did not know that Stephen could organize such a radical transformation with the same basic information. He was able to tell my story better than I was. My resume is now a proper marketing document and not just a list of facts and numbers," Chavner says. 866.755.9800 14
  15. 15. #7. Capitalize on IT as a strategic business partner. The general consensus is that in 2015, IT as your “friendly” neighborhood strategic business partner will manifest itself through the use of all kinds of new and “hip” titles (let’s face it, the easiest way to look like you are making a transition is to change a job title!). Here are some we have come across and that will ramp up throughout the new year: • Business Intelligence Analyst: Now, this title isn’t exactly new, but it is generally new to the IT arena now that big data is driving focus on business intelligence. • Director of IT Infrastructure: The idea behind this title is strategic visioning, advising CIOs (or whatever title they will be going by soon) on such things as the best networking and cloud-based technologies for your organization. • Chief Knowledge Officer: Although there seems to be a lack of agreement on exactly what this role entails, generally speaking, it is a subject matter expert in the company’s industry that also has expertise in technology [you know, a little knowledge can sometimes be a dangerous thing :-)]. • Technology Solutions Engineer: This title is the very essence of the transition in IT for this role is meant to look at all kinds of business problems and produce various options, using technology, to solve them. For more on this, check out “IT: Your Friendly Neighborhood Strategic Business Partner”. Tech knowledge in combination with business acumen/industry experience is often king in today’s hiring decisions…or at least companies claim that it is. 866.755.9800 15
  16. 16. #8. Welcome the era of women in STEM. According to the latest reports, females could be the answer to helping to “stem” the talent shortage across STEM fields. According to recent reports, 45% of the MIT student body alone is female, showing a closing of the gender gap in this arena. For a more in-depth discussion, check out She-Geeks: Is This The Era of Women in STEM? 866.755.9800 16
  17. 17. #9. Don’t be caught with your tech career pants down: Jobs are plentiful, but length of job search is holding steady. Despite the plethora of job openings out there, the length of time out in the tech job market is holding steady: 1 month/$20K in salary That’s 5 months for a salary of $100,000. 866.755.9800 17 With the 5% who are building technical resume portfolios, however, we are seeing the average search drop by as much as 74!
  18. 18. #10. Dare to be different: Don’t get sucked into the job board black hole. We get it. They are alluring. They advertise hope. They make it seem easy. Sometimes they actually work. In reality, they are extending the job search process with 100-150 candidates submitting resumes for every 1 job posting. Jobs boards continue to be the least effective job search method; yet they remain the one most used. There are other options! You don’t have to be a slave to such an ineffective method, and it can be made easier than just attending networking mixer after networking mixer… 866.755.9800 18 Job searching isn’t about 1 method; it’s about a diversified approach. Why not create as many pipelines as you can?
  19. 19. Are you prepared today for tomorrow’s career move? To help you get a better feel for where you currently stand in preparing for tomorrow’s career move, I’ve developed a simple self-assessment survey you can take that is quick to do, free, and helps get you thinking about where you are and where you need to be: Career Move Preparation Self-Assessment 866.755.9800 19
  20. 20. #11. Don’t chase after Google so much. Of ALL companies in the U.S., 99.5% have less than 100 employees. Most job seekers fail to match themselves up with smaller companies, targeting instead the bigger fish (along with everyone else). But the smaller companies are starved for strong tech talent and typically have less bureaucracy when it comes to hiring. An effective Employer Profiling campaign can help open doors in this area. Yet, 99.5% of all tech candidates keep chasing the .5%, the Googles and Apples and IBMs. That opens the door for opportunity if you’re willing to do a little research and dirty work first. 866.755.9800 20
  21. 21. #12. Don’t wait for your credentials to do the talking. Although certain certifications, degrees, and other credentials have a lot of value in today’s market, they still don’t “sell” themselves (or you) the way most tech pros think they will. You still need to know how to position them in the market. When it comes to specific skills, we have written extensively on the latest skills in demand by today’s companies. You can visit Co-Founder Stephen Van Vreede’s blog. Here are just a few of the latest articles he has posted there as a sample: • Most In-Demand Programming Languages for 2014 • There’s Value in That Security Clearance • Do You Have a Top-Paying IT Certification? 866.755.9800 21 How much have you invested in the Technical Career you've built so far?
  22. 22. #13. Know location, location, location and industry, industry, industry. It’s important not to confuse your location or your industry as indicative of the entire state of the tech job market. Find out where opportunity lies. Here are some differentiators: • The U.S. Manufacturing Job Turnaround? • The Engineering Job Market: 2014 and Beyond • What to Expect When You’re Expecting Healthcare IT 866.755.9800 22
  23. 23. #14. Recognize that you’re employer loves you, really, it does; it just has a funny way of showing it. With companies crying out for more sophisticated talent, they claim they are starting to appreciate the talent they do have more. BUT just because companies are talking “retention” doesn’t mean they are just going to give away bonuses and salary bumps (or at least good ones). More than likely as Baby Boomers continue to retire and other talent leaves for another opportunity, these companies are still going to do what most companies do…make you compete for the openings left behind. In other words, even with this push for retention, if you want to stay, you’re still going to be asked to work for it. For more on this, check out “Employer Retention Will Be on the Rise: Will You Be Prepared?” 866.755.9800 23
  24. 24. #15. Think Quality AND Quantity when it comes to social media, LinkedIn in particular. For more on this, check out our post called “The Age-Old Social Media Quality vs. Quantity Debate”. 866.755.9800 24 Does today’s job search and social media all just seem like a big game to you? Honestly, it kind of is. Technology, as much as we love it, has taken the traditional job search process and made it more convoluted…and expensive. The good news, however, is that some tools are opening up opportunities that were much harder to find before. The challenge is in knowing which game is worth playing for you. Check out my own career story for why I do what I do.
  25. 25. So like it or not, if you plan to be in the tech job market for the next 5, 10, 15+ years, what is your answer to this market going to be? Getting your resume ready is a start, but it’s only a start. At the same time, though, you don’t need to do everything (or buy everything!). You can waste a lot of resources doing that. 866.755.9800 25 This should be a no-brainer, BUT But that’s not the end of the “secrets”… Let’s Do What Works* *To find out where you stand with your next job search efforts, I wanted to make it so easy for my social media/LinkedIn contacts to get the most from our connection. Therefore, through ITtechExec, I offer a special “Offer of Support” promotion on an Upcoming Career Move “Prep” Session just for you. Our "Prep" Session exclusively with Co-Founder Stephen Van Vreede (Technical Career Strategist featured in, TechRepublic, and Dice) is a great way to get up to speed on where the market is today, how well you are positioned for the market you are targeting, and the steps we can take to get you better prepared for making that next move. No matter where you are in the process of taking that next step in your career, (just starting to think about it or in full-blown active mode), to protect you from the chaos that comes with the technical job market "zoo," we give you a wise, “safe” first step in moving forward. (By the way, this is especially important if you are looking to make an internal move...the highest stakes career move there is!) It’s not. Very few pros are willing to adapt.
  26. 26. #16. Don't Get Stuck in the Muck with the 95% If you just plan for one career move at a time, no matter where you are in your career, you could be making an expensive mistake. OK, so along with still putting all their eggs in the proverbial “resume” basket, most technical professionals also fail to be “ever ready.” They know they kind of need to be, but they get stuck in that period of time where work and life take over, and the last thing they want to do is keep their resume, much less a portfolio, updated. But Proper Maintenance Is the Key to the Whole Thing! With the rapidly shifting market we seem to be in, and career moves happening every 3-4 years or less, technical professionals in particular are being forced to keep their options open, at all times. 866.755.9800 26 Yes, expensive. Career services and job search support solutions are booming, especially in tech, thanks to growing demand (lots of career moves and lots of competition for positions) and to social recruiting processes (companies are vetting candidates much more now). So you can expect prices to double for these services over the next few years. At the same time, when uncertainty hits, if you are not prepared for the market as it is then, any amount of employment gap hurts your wallet. It’s extremely expensive to be out of work, and employment gaps make life even tougher, especially with recruiters.
  27. 27. About Stephen Van Vreede Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (June 2015). Contact Stephen directly at or send him an invite at To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? 866.755.9800 27
  28. 28. Another way to meet Stephen: Set up your complimentary Upcoming Career Move Prep Session with Technical Resume Writer & Career Strategist, Stephen Van Vreede, today. We've made it easy to schedule your consult with Stephen. Simply click on the calendar image below to schedule your appointment. (If you can arrange to have Internet access during the call, then he can share his desktop presentation with you.) You will receive 1 confirmation email and 1 follow-up note from Stephen sent through our Appointment Core admin (Links make life so simple when they're working, but sometimes they take on a life of their own. If for some reason the link doesn't work properly here, please email Sheree directly at!): **Please look for the "admin" email from Stephen that has information regarding the call. It usually arrives within an hour of booking the appointment.** 866.755.9800 28
  29. 29. Coming in Summer 2015: The latest release by Brian Tracy featuring Stephen Van Vreede. Click here to receive an advanced chapter release: The Rise of the Corporate Entrepreneur 866.755.9800 29
  30. 30. Maybe you can relate…. A lot of times we know what we “should” do, but either we don’t do it or we just wait until we have to because: • We no longer have the ambition we once did • We have kids to raise and focus on • We believe the obstacles we will face in the market are too overwhelming or exhausting to face • Work no longer matters much • We’re too busy • We always figure something out when we need to • We’re not really sure what we want to do next • We have external concerns that weigh on us • We have other unfulfilled goals and dreams 866.755.9800 30
  31. 31. To learn more about ITtechExec or our other solutions: 866.755.9800 31 Stephen toll-free at 1-866-755-9800; email at Read our prospectus: Your Way Out of the Resume Jungle. Also, check out our free self-assessments: From Tech Job Market Zoo to Corporate Goo... How to Protect What You’ve Built So Far. LI Profile Optimization Self-Assessment Career Move Preparation Self-Assessment
  32. 32. ITtechExec Protecting the Technical Career You’ve Built So Far ITtechExec members are senior managers, directors, executives, and C-level tech leaders (15+y ears of experience) who specialize in the following fields: • CIO & CTO • IT Operations • Project/Program Management • Enterprise Architecture • Telecommunications • Engineering (Mechanical, Aerospace, Electrical…) • Manufacturing • Call Center Operations • Technical Sales Leadership • Medical Device • And all things technical related… These members have worked hard to get where they are today, and they are committed to investing in protecting and maintaining these careers. They come to us as guides through the technical job market “zoo” to help them invest their valuable time and resources wisely on solutions that produce effective results. NoddlePlace Your Technical Career Advancement. SIMPLIFIED. NoddlePlace members are the up-and-coming versions of our ITtechExec members. With about 5 to 15 years of technical career experience under their belts, they are dedicated to investing in steady career advancement. They understand that they are likely to make 8 to 10 career moves over the next 25+ years of their career, and they are looking not just at getting a resume but at building in a strategic approach that positions them for this next move and beyond. As with ITtechExec, we provide a concierge-type service, where we combine the resume portfolio side with the job search “launch” side. Our goal is to produce measurable ROI and to reduce the stress that comes with job search and career management for both our NoddlePlace and ITtechExec members. At NoddlePlace, we make technical career advancement simple in a job market that’s gone insane. 866.755.9800 32