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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%” 866-294-1324 (Text or Call) 1 As featured in:
  2. 2. Successfully Delivering Messaging & Job Search Solutions for CIOs, CTOs, Tech Executives, Tech Experts & Business Leaders at Top National & Global Companies, Start-Up & Venture Capital Firms, Government Agencies and Contractors, Such as:
  3. 3. #1. Recognize that résumés 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 résumé (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 résumé is still required, employers are slower to pull the trigger when vetting talent, and they often need more of a push than the résumé 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 résumé (because it still serves a purpose) but to build in addenda or portfolio pages to go along with the résumé that, when used properly, can help build in flexibility and prepare you to face different hiring scenarios. 866-294-1324 (Text or Call) 3 For more on this, check out “How to Get a Whole Lot More Than Just Another Technical Resume.” As featured in:
  4. 4. Your Technical Résumé Portfolio Arsenal Options • Chronological Résumé • LinkedIn Profile • Cover Letter • Marketing Brief • Bio • Thank-You Template • Infographic Résumé • Problems-Solutions- Results (PSR) Page • Innovation Page • Testimonials Page • Project Highlights Page 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) 4 For more on why we advocate for a portfolio approach, check out our presentation, “Move Over Resume, Hello Portfolio.” But it all boils down to one thing: We’re interested in doing what works. Aren’t you? As featured in:
  5. 5. How certain can you be about your current résumé? If you’re starting to wonder how effective your current résumé would be in today’s market, we’ve designed a short quiz (takes ~1 minute to complete): How Certain Can You Be About Your Current Technical Résumé? 5 As featured in: 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  6. 6. #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” ( 6 As featured in: 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  7. 7. #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 (again, 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 MUCH better asset. A portfolio helps do that because (1) your 95% of your competition will certainly not have one and (2) it can showcase both sides of you, from the knowledgebase to the soft skills. I know, I know…you shouldn’t have to go to that much trouble, right? Your experience should be enough, right? In a rational world, maybe… 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, right or wrong, 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”). 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) 7 As featured in:
  8. 8. #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” : 8 As featured in: 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  9. 9. 9 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 5 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… As featured in: 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  10. 10. 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 10 As featured in: 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  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!) Don’t get fooled into thinking 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. 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) 11 As featured in:
  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. 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) 12 For more on what we mean by “portfolio,” please check out As featured in:
  13. 13. Meet John Chavner from our Resume Makeover Series He was a senior/executive IT leader who was having difficulty 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 helped to provide richer context about his career, knowledge, and achievements. 13 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  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. 14 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  15. 15. #7. Capitalize on tech as a strategic business partner. The general consensus is that tech 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 tech 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. 15 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  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? Also, see our highlight in MORE magazine: Should Women Learn to Code? 16 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  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. 17 With the 5% who are building technical resume portfolios, however, we are seeing the average search drop by as much as 74! 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  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…In 2015, ITtechExec introduced concierge-style job search solutions that went outside of job boards to put our clients in contact with companies through other avenues. It takes some leg work, for sure, but the amazing results have convinced us that Job Boards are too ineffective to rely on them soley. 18 Job searching isn’t about 1 method; it’s about a diversified approach. Why not create as many pipelines as you can? 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  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 19 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  20. 20. 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 20 866-294-1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  21. 21. If any of that sounded like you, that’s OK Check out some of our client stories and how they ended up: • Making It Through the Tech Career “Goo” We also have a presentation done for our PMP and program management clients that pertains to other positions as well. It highlights 2 of our clients and the experience they had in the market: • Branding Secret for PMPs and Project/Program Managers: The Portfolio Approach If you’re wondering whether ITtechExec might be a good match for you, take our 1-minute anonymous compatibility quiz: • Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? 21 866-294-1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  22. 22. #11. Don’t chase after Google so much. Of ALL the 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, 95% 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. 22 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  23. 23. #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 couple articles he has posted there as a sample: • There’s Value in That Security Clearance • Do You Have a Top-Paying IT Certification? 23 How much have you invested in the Technical Career you've built so far? 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  24. 24. #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 24 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  25. 25. #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 AND a portfolio approach is definitely the way to go because an internal job promotion is the RISKIEST career move there is, believe it or not. For more on this, check out “Employer Retention Will Be on the Rise: Will You Be Prepared?” 25 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  26. 26. #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”. 26 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. 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  27. 27. 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. 27 This should be a no-brainer, BUT But that’s not the end of the “secrets”… Let’s Do What Works* Set up your complimentary Upcoming Career Move Prep Session with Technical Resume Writer & Career Strategist, Stephen Van Vreede. 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: It’s not. Very few pros are willing to adapt. 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  28. 28. #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. 28 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. 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) As featured in:
  29. 29. ITtechExec’s own Stephen Van Vreede alongside business guru Brian Tracy released best-seller unCOMMON in 2015. Click here to receive a free hardcover copy shipped right to you (no s/h; continental US only): Get a Copy of unCOMMON 29 866-294-1324 (Text or Call)
  30. 30. Background on Stephen Van Vreede & ITtechExec: 30 From Tech Job Market Zoo to Corporate Goo... How to Protect What You’ve Built So Far. First and foremost, I am a sci-fi fantasy NUT. I read as much of it as I can possibly get my hands on. I'm also a golf "daydreamer," which means at this stage of my life, I get to daydream about being on the golf course more than I get to play it. Keep in mind that I do live in Rochester, NY, where we see sun for a solid 14 weeks a year, IF we're lucky, and that's about it, so there's that (and, thus, why I am inside reading a lot). :-) When I am not daydreaming about golf or geeking out on sci-fi, I run, alongside my wife, Sheree, and our Job Search "Agent", Sue, an innovative small business called ITtechExec that recruits on behalf of up-and-coming "tech" leaders, which includes IT operations, engineering, supply chain/logistics, manufacturing, project/program management, CIO/CTO, and more. Unlike traditional recruiting, which works for the hiring organization, our company works on behalf of the individual as an advocate in the process providing, in addition to résumé design, what we call "concierge job search solutions." It is a cutting edge approach in which a high-quality service partners with a high-quality candidate. This way we help professionals navigate through the job search process, from designing résumé portfolios to conducting concierge job searches. To learn more and see some samples of our work, check out: • How to Get a Whole Lot More than Just Another Technical Resume 866.294.1324 (Text or Call)
  31. 31. Background cont.: 31 From Tech Job Market Zoo to Corporate Goo... How to Protect What You’ve Built So Far. Here is how we describe our approach: “You know, some people just toss their résumé up on a job board and hope for the best. It's like wanting to be movie star thin and never working out. Your odds of success are pretty poor. Our solutions were built in reality. Landing that great opportunity requires hard work and dedication in today's world; the 1990s and 2000s tech job market is no longer; you've got to "work out" more now, so to speak. But it's not all bad because what we've done is create an approach that comes up alongside you and makes the weights a little lighter; takes some of the pressure off; and keeps you from just ‘hoping.’ Why do people pay for fitness trainers? Do they really not know how to do a push-up? Run on a treadmill? No, they hire a trainer because they want to succeed, and they know they need someone with the right background to get them there. They still have to show up; the trainer makes it more our case, it's even better because we do some of the heavy-lifting and we help you realize a better livelihood. And who doesn't want that?” 866.294.1324 (Text or Call) If you’re wondering whether ITtechExec might be a good match for you, take our 1-minute anonymous compatibility quiz: Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You?