You’ve probably heard about how it’s a “candidate’s market” out there. But what you may not have found is any concrete advice about what that means for you, an unemployed (or unhappily employed), highly skilled tech worker.
We’d like to remedy that for you.
With the fast approach of 2020, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some things you can be doing to improve your chances of landing that perfect role. First, that “candidate’s market” thing. What’s happening is that there are currently more roles than quality candidates available to fill them.
This has led many companies down the road of recruitment marketing, where they use marketing tactics to attract a talent pool of ready potential candidates so when they have a seat to fill, they can draw from this pre-sorted collection of applicants. This drastically improves their time-to-hire and assists the applicant in speeding through the hiring and on-boarding process.
If you’re already following a selection of possible employers on social media or reading their blogs, congratulations, you’re already in a talent pool!
And if not, read on for 7 more tips for tech workers looking to land their ideal role in 2020.
1) Research, Research, and Research Some More
We harp on this one here at Jobful, but with good reason. With so many companies out there hunting high-quality candidates, it can be hard to separate the good from the less-than-good. When it comes time to apply, knowing more about a company than they know about you works to your benefit as it shows that you did your homework and read up on the company, it’s history, product, and even EVP (employee value proposition).
Read job descriptions, follow companies social media presence, and look for corporate blogs. Read press releases, ebooks, and whitepapers. Then drill down and read about the specific team you’re looking at joining. Then read some more. Everything you can find about EVP, benefits packages, current employee testimonials, and industry wins will strengthen your appeal when it’s time to submit that application.
2) Show, Don’t Tell
Developers, UI designers, and UX specialists are becoming increasingly easy to find. Make yourself stand out, creatively, and you’ll rise to the top of the heap. Link to projects from your LinkedIn profile, social media pages, and consider creating a homepage of your own to highlight your work. A growing number of creative techies are also starting to create special projects just for their job hunts to shine an even brighter spotlight on their strongest hard skills.
You can also demonstrate your design capabilities with the little things, like creating your own header image for your profile pages. Redesigning your resume can also show recruiters that you’re serious about both your skills and your job hunt by customizing it each time you apply.
3) Touch Up Your CV (resume)
And by “touch up,” we often mean “prune mercilessly.” It’s no longer necessary to fit everything on one page, if you have the work history and skills to run onto a second page, no worries. That said, it’s time to shift the focus.
- Ditch the titles, focus on the skills.
- If you can quantify it, do so.
- Format matters, make it look good while still being readable.
- Got certifications? List ‘em out.
Those tips apply to those with extensive work histories just as much as those entering the workforce for the first time. Employers care more about skill sets these days than they do impressive sounding titles and your chronological employment history. They want to know that you’ll fit in at the office and get great work done, on time.
4) Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Obviously this applies mostly to after you get an interview (or even a video call), but it’s something that many people could also benefit from giving some attention every day. Making eye contact instantly increases the amount of trust people put in other people. Keeping yourself turned toward the person you’re talking too lets them know that they have your complete focus. And mirroring the posture of the person you’re in conversation with puts them at ease.
Even things like walking into a room with your head up and eyes scanning the room will have an impact on those already in the room. Compare that to what most people do, which is wander in with their focus on their phone, and you’ll see the difference immediately.
5) Use Your Network
Increasingly recruiters are figuring out that great developers know other great developers. This is leading to greatly expanded employee referral programs to encourage these folks to bring in these highly skilled friends. So if you have friends who do the same work as you, or even closely related, ask around. See who they’re working for and inquire about their experiences with that employer. If they offer to submit you internally, go for it as referrals often skip the robo-scanners and see their resumes given directly a live human recruiter.
6) Don’t Neglect Your Soft Skills
Right up there in importance with body language are the so-called “soft skills” employers are putting more weight on. We believe there’s nothing soft about them, as without a solid grounding in things like emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, and cooperation/collaboration, you’re increasingly likely to be passed by in favor of those with demonstrable abilities in these areas.
In today’s market, it’s these skills that really separate the great from the mediocre. During video calls with recruiters, those who know how to make eye contact by glancing at the camera and not just staring at their screens will get noticed. Many employers are asking the receptionist for their opinion of candidates, so neglecting how you interact with everyone you encounter can actually be quite detrimental to your prospects.
7) Expand Your Repertoire
This one’s especially for the younger set with a less extensive work history. Consider an online boot camp that ends with a certification. This is a great way to show employers that not only can you program in Python, but that you care enough about your job hunt to get the cert to back you up. Already have some experience with your preferred technology? Great, consider adding a tangential certification to show that you care enough to expand your skill set.
Continually working to expand your skills, learn about the latest and greatest in your sector, and working on your human interactions are all fantastic ways to show potential employers that you care. Not only about them and their product, but about the team you’re looking to join and the company culture as a whole.