16 "Secrets" to Surviving Today's Technical Job Market
16 “Secrets” to Surviving Today’s
Technical Job Market
“How to Avoid Becoming
Part of the 95%”
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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
#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.
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Your Technical Resume Portfolio Arsenal
• LinkedIn Profile
• Cover Letter
• Marketing Brief
• Thank-You Template
• Infographic Resume
Results (PSR) Page
• Innovation Page
• Testimonials Page
• Project Highlights Page
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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?
#2. Brush up on those
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” (http://ow.ly/uNgUE).
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#3. Be prepared for
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
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#4. Don’t ignore technical
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” :
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There’s no doubt
social recruiting on
LI is on the rise.
The stats paint an
• 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn
to find talent
• 89% of them are hiring from
For 2 years in a
reported “a lack
social media as
This should be
good news for
How does your LinkedIn profile
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
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So how do you become part of the 5% who are building a
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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.
#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.
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#6. Understand how a portfolio
solution can maximize your personal
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.
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For more on what we mean by “portfolio,” please check out http://ow.ly/viT6C
Meet John Chavner from our latest CIO.com 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.
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To read more about the process we went through, check out the following article
written by Sharon Florentine of CIO.com, 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.
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#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
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.
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#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?
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#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.
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With the 5%
are seeing the
by as much as
#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
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Job searching isn’t about 1
method; it’s about a diversified
approach. Why not create as
many pipelines as you can?
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
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#11. Don’t chase after
Google so much.
Of ALL companies in the
U.S., 99.5% have less than
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.
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#12. Don’t wait for your
credentials to do the
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?
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How much have you
invested in the Technical
Career you've built so far?
#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
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#14. Recognize that
you’re employer loves
you, really, it does; it just
has a funny way of
With companies crying out for more sophisticated talent, they
claim they are starting to appreciate the talent they do have
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?”
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#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”.
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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.
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.
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This should be a
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 CIO.com, 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
It’s not. Very
few pros are
willing to adapt.
#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
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
But Proper Maintenance Is the Key to the
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.
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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.
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
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 Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite
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?
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org!):
**Please look for the "admin" email from Stephen that has information regarding the call. It usually arrives
within an hour of booking the appointment.**
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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
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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
• 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
• Work no longer matters much
• We’re too busy
• We always figure something out when we need
• 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
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To learn more about ITtechExec or our other solutions:
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Stephen toll-free at 1-866-755-9800; email at email@example.com.
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
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
• Engineering (Mechanical, Aerospace, Electrical…)
• 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.
Your Technical Career Advancement.
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”
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.
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