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According to, the number people working at home has risen by 115 percent since 2005; that’s almost 10 times faster than growth in other sectors. And, this number doesn’t take into account those who are self-employed.

It’s not unusual for IT pros to work remotely, or virtually. When they do, and especially for those who may be introverts, it can be tough to stay in touch. But that’s exactly what you need to do.

That trite saying “out of sight, out of mind” is trite for a reason—because it’s true! In the traditional workplace, “watercooler conversations” are a common means of staying connected. Employees pass each other in the hallways, run into each other in the lunchroom, say “hi” and “bye” in the parking lot and interact in a variety of ways, formal and casual, throughout the day.

Remote workers don’t have these same opportunities for interaction. And, while there’s some benefit to this—more productivity, for instance—there are also drawbacks. Forming and nurturing connections with coworkers, managers, senior leaders and others can have a wide range of benefits.

So, how can you keep communication channels open when working remotely?

Be Mindful

Recognize the fact that communication between yourself and others is important and that it is likely to be more challenging when working remotely than when in the workplace. Considering that communication can be very challenging within the workplace, should alert you to the potential for issues to emerge when working remotely.

If you tend to be an introvert, being mindful of the importance of interaction is particularly important. While you may draw your energy and inspiration from being alone, you must make an effort to connect with others to be successful in your remote role.

Become Adept with Multiple Tools

There are a variety of tools that can make it easy to connect with colleagues whether they’re in the work environment, or also working remotely. If you’re working for a single organization, make sure to become adept using whatever tools they have in place to communicate with remote staff. Or, if they don’t have any tools in place, or the tools are clunky, make some recommendations about other options.

If you work with a variety of clients, you likely enjoy both the benefits and potential frustration of needing to learn and use a variety of tools. That variety can actually be a good thing, though, because it can help you identify those tools that work best for you—and that might work better for your clients than what they’re currently using.

This Groove blog post lists a number of tools (including Groove, of course).

Schedule Times to Connect

Don’t leave communication to chance. One of the best ways to ensure that you’re staying connected is to schedule regular times to connect with key members of the work team. That may be a quick morning check-in, or a weekly session to discuss progress and upcoming deliverables. You may need to schedule different types of interactions with different people, or teams. Getting these regularly scheduled events on your calendar will ensure that you’re staying in touch.

Don’t Overlook Personal Connections

When working remotely, it’s easy for any communications you have to be all about business. But working effectively with others means also connecting on a personal level. Take the time to do that by:

  • Not diving right into business when starting a call
  • Using video-enabled tools like Skype to get more personal – putting a face (and voice) with a name is important
  • Ask to be looped in on company communications—news- or e-letters, company-wide announcements, etc., so you can stay on top of what’s going on
  • Acknowledge special days or occasions of those you interact with—birthdays, promotions, etc.; it only takes a moment to send a quick email or, better yet, pick up the phone and connect personally, but your efforts will mean a lot
  • Speaking of the phone…don’t over-rely on tools like e-mail, group chat or other electronic means of communication; a phone call can deliver a much more personal touch

Making an effort to connect personally, as well as professionally, will help to ensure that you’re “in mind” for your coworkers and other members of the organization.

Stay Engaged

This is all about caring. You really need to care about the people you work for and the company you work for and make a personal effort to stay engaged—to not blow off meetings or calls, to make an effort to learn about the people you work with, to check in from time to time—even when formal meetings aren’t scheduled. It requires effort, but that effort will pay off.

Aim for Face Time if Possible

Finally, if possible, find times when you can connect with members of your team face to face. If you’re located in the same city, obviously, you can do this more regularly than if you’re located across the country—or in another country.

Despite the ability of technology to allow us to work with anyone, from anywhere, there are times when making contact face-to-face really makes a difference.

Warning Signs That a Job May Not Be Right for You

Over the years Amazon has taken some heat for its “terrible” culture stemming back to 2015 and a blistering piece in The New York Times. But whether the culture is terrible, or not, is really a matter of perception and personal opinion. The determination of whether a corporate culture is effective, or not (and effective is really a better descriptor than “good”) has to do with whether the company achieves its goals.

It’s not really about good, or bad—it’s about fit. And that’s one of the first considerations that a prospective employee should bring to mind when considering whether a job may be right for them.

People who are competitive, hard-driving and thrive on pressure, tough deadlines and direct feedback will likely thrive in Amazon’s culture. People who prefer a more laid-back, collegial atmosphere probably won’t.

One person’s great job can be another’s worst nightmare. It may have nothing at all to do with the company, or the position, but a lot to do with you—your preferences, values and work habits. What warning signs should you be alert to when considering a job offer?

Personal Values

Much of what determines whether or not a job will be a good fit are your own personal values, beliefs and expectations. A good starting point when seeking a job, or thinking about changing jobs, is to think about your own personal mission statement.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People popularized the concept in his book. Personal mission statements, just like organizational mission statements, serve as a foundation against which to measure, compare or consider various decisions. Your person mission statement, then, can be a guidepost to help you determine jobs that may, or may not be a good fit. A company with values that don’t align with your values is not likely to be a good fit.

Little Signs

During the job application, interview and screening process you are likely to encounter a number of signs—subtle, and not so subtle—that can give you some clues about what working at the company might be like:

  • Are employees friendly? Do they greet each other—and you—when they encounter you, or do they turn away?
  • Do employees seem happy? Do you see employees chatting with each other in the hallways? Are they smiling? Or are they sitting at their desks, behind doors, looking frustrated or frazzled?
  • What is the environment like? Is it clean, modern, open and light—or cluttered, even dirty; cramped and dark? Are desks, furnishings and equipment in good condition suggesting that the company is willing to invest in its employees—or old, dilapidated and worn out, suggesting an environment that might be extremely budget conscious?
  • Has the job been open for a long time, or is it a job that seems to be posted frequently?
  • Why did the former person in the job leave? If it was for an internal promotion, great! If you ask the question and the interviewing team seems uncomfortable, perhaps not so good.

Take advantage of the time you have to personally interact with a company—not only the hiring team, but others you encounter while you’re on site. Those interactions can tell you a lot, if you’re attuned to the signs.

The Critical Questions

There will come a point in most interviews when you’re asked whether you have any questions for the interviewer(s); you should. This is your opportunity to delve into some of the issues that will help you determine whether, or not, the company will be a good fit. For instance:

  • If you’re applying for a managerial position and want to get a sense of the level of authority you may have, you might ask about your level of sign-off for expenses, and the approval process. A response of: “Managers can approve up to $50, anything over that amount needs to go to their director and the CFO for approval” sends a clear signal that this may be a very tight ship.
  • If corporate social responsibility is important to you, you might ask about the causes that the company supports and opportunities that employees have to get involved, or about whether the company allows time off for volunteerism.

The point is that you will have an opportunity during the recruitment process to ask the critical questions that can help you determine whether this job is right for you.

Does the Company Have a Bad Reputation?

Just as prospective employers should check into the backgrounds of their applicants, prospective employees should check into the reputation of the companies they’re considering working for. That’s relatively easy to do these days with sites like Glassdoor providing transparent insights into what it’s like to work for a wide range of companies—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Companies take these reviews seriously; you should too.

In addition to Glassdoor, LinkedIn can be a good source of information and insights into company culture and climate. Are you connected to anyone who works, or has worked, for the company you’re considering? A simple search on LinkedIn for the company name will quickly tell you. If not directly connected, you can always find mutual connections to help make an introduction.

Check out the company’s social media sites—including any sites that may belong to company leaders or employees. You can glean some key information about the style and tone of the organization by reviewing how the company, and its staff members, respond to online comments—and the nature of those comments.

Finally, heed the subtle warning signs that may be keeping you up at night. Don’t accept a job that just doesn’t seem to be a fit. It probably isn’t.

What’s up with IT certifications?

Technology and IT certifications are a frequently discussed topic in the realm of tech onboarding.

On one side of the argument, you have those who believe IT certifications aren't a great differentiator in an industry that evolves at a rate faster than the highest setting in video game franchise SimCity (jaguar). Dice contributor David Bolton asserted there are some technologies that certainly don't change that often, but a certification still does not provide any proficiencies that you couldn't learn on your own – for cheaper to boot. The most important point, however, is that some jobs don't demand their IT pros have certifications. While correct, that there are many other companies that do want to see these third-party indications of skills and talents.

"65% of organizations use IT certificates to distinguish between similar job candidates."

In fact, it seems that more hiring managers are looking for certifications than you might think. According to CompTIA data cited by CIO, 65 percent of organizations use cybercertificates to distinguish between two job candidates with similar experience and resumes, while 72 perfect of surveyed companies said they demand IT certifications if you apply for a specific position.

Perhaps the debate will always continue. After all, IT certifications are not absolutely necessary – at least right now.

However, that doesn't mean they are worthless. The opposite is true. Tech-specific certificates from accredited and well-known institutes and organizations can help you earn more.

A matter of dollars and cents
ZDNet highlighted a Foote Partners report that discovered IT certification ownership equates to bigger paychecks. According to the source, application developers with certifications in programming languages are likely to earn 0.9 percent more than those without accreditation, while networking and communications pros who become certified in their trade will make 1.2 percent more than individuals lacking that training. On the higher end, system administration and engineering certifications could help raise your salary by 2.5 percent.

In regard to dollars, it just makes sense to seek out IT certifications, especially if you're looking for employment in the one of these three sectors: cybersecurity, networking or business. According to John Hales, software-defined networking, VMware and SoftLayer instructor at Global Knowledge, one of his employer's surveys found that those few areas of corporate IT will pay you more if you are certified in affiliated skills. Specifically, Hales listed roles such as information security manager, information systems auditor, project manager, systems engineer and ScrumMaster as the highest-paying positions where certifications are required.

IT certifications often lead to higher pay.IT certifications often lead to higher pay.

The type of certification is up to you
Most interestingly about Global Knowledge's data, many of the IT certifications that pay the big bucks are closely affiliated with propriety tech solutions. For example, being certified in Cisco routing and switching, Citrix virtualization, Microsoft systems engineering, VMware data center virtualization, Amazon Web Services solutions architecture and Red Hat systems administration will earn you a large salary – ranging from approximately $90,000 to around $120,000 per year.

On the other side of the table, there are certifications in general skills groups that are just as valuable as vendor-specific ones. Project management, for instance, is a highly prized certificate, and if you're looking for a job in IT helpdesk support, CompTIA A+, a certification that demonstrates an understanding of tech solutions from all types of vendors, is essential to getting paid a premium.

Simply put, you will want to seek out a certification that best aligns with your interests and job opportunities.

"List IT certifications in a specific section of your resume."

Explaining your experience
Unfortunately, getting an IT certification might be the easiest part of the process for you, as it all comes down to demonstrating these learned proficiencies in both written and verbal form – sometimes you might even be tested in person.

Starting with the resume, you should list certifications in a specific section of your resume, fully spelling out and dating the month and year that you were accredited, as well as adding the abbreviation in hopes of that sticking out at a quick glance. List them in reverse chronological order, as this will put the most relevant and freshest skills at the top, making them easily seen. Make sure that you include more than just the title of the certification, detailing exactly what you learned and aligning those talents and proficiencies with keywords from the initial job posting.

In person, keep it simple and brief when it comes to listing and explaining your certifications. If you're in front of a hiring manager, don't use abbreviations since that will seem like a foreign language. As a note, if you're currently taking courses for a certification, tell them why you chose that area of expertise.

If it comes down to a test, just stick with what you know, but in that regard, don't forget to brush up the day before an interview.

Whatever side of the IT certification argument you stand on, don't ever discount the value of third-party accreditation in the tech sector. Technology is constantly evolving, and you must grow alongside it.

Hackathon hacks: Getting noticed [Video]

Hackathons are the new black, as many IT professionals seek out these events in hopes of landing a job. But what’s the secret to success?

Hi, and welcome to the APN video blog!

In October, the U.S. General Services Administration held its second annual hackathon with the intention of finding tech talent. Specifically, the GSA was looking for front-end Web and back-end API developers, UX designers and more, since these events allow tech pros to network in person.

Hackathons are a great way to get noticed, but therein lies the problem: How can you get noticed?

First, make sure you prepare. Research past events, find a good team with a wide variety of skills and familiarize yourself with languages being used.

Next, don’t waste time on basics. If there is example code, use it.

Lastly, remember that presentation matters. Showcasing what you’ve done is your chance to shine.

That’s all. Thanks for joining us on the APN video blog!

Why IT pros should learn F# [Video]

According to TIOBE, F# placed in 35th position in regard to programming language popularity, but its use is set to rise meteorically in the coming months and years.

Hi, and welcome to the APN Consulting video blog!

F# is a programming language created by Microsoft Research, and with the release of Visual Studio 2015, the tech world was introduced to F# 4.0. Following this launch, developers should start paying attention to F#.

Open-source and cross-platform capable, this mathematics- and functional-based language is huge in the mobile development realm. In fact, CIO reported that the market value for an individual with F# talents rose 18.2 percent in the past three months alone, making it one of the most valuable languages.

If you’re an IT professional looking to learn a new language, F# is a great choice.

For more information and news on tech hiring, stick with the APN Consulting video blog!

As the business world quickly adopts new digital platforms from customer relationship management software to social media, collections of data continue to grow, exceeding the expectations of many while coming as no surprise to others. Either way, experts agree that these new compendiums of data are critical to the success of organizations competing in today's corporate environment.

Called big data, this enterprise IT trend has evolved dramatically in the past few years, and now businesses demand solutions for managing, analyzing, visualizing and extracting detailed insights from vast collections of structured and unstructured information. With some help from the cloud and better means of finding and comparing data, big data and the analysis of it have become IT department mainstays, and as a result, most organizations are looking for data scientists. These professionals – only sometimes referred to as IT professionals – leverage mathematics, computer science and business expertise to develop big data programs that not only prove valuable but inspire insightful change to corporate practices and policies. In essence, these individuals develop tools or models for analyzing and visualizing actionable information in accordance with business needs.

The road to big data is paved with data scientists.The road to big data is paved with data scientists.

However, there is a problem with regard to data scientists: Businesses are struggling to find a proverbial unicorn who can create optimal data analytics programs, discover insights and apply them to basic corporate rules. According to IBM's Rob Thomas, there are either PhD-possessing data scientists or "fake data scientists," InformationWeek reported. These two types of professionals cannot feasibly support a world built on big data. Those with expensive degrees will expect larger salaries that many businesses simply cannot afford, and the "fakers" are essentially useless.

Thomas suggested the solution lies in the "80 percent" of space between data scientists with PhDs and those who have no idea what they're doing. Those 80 percent of individuals are the sweet spot with some expertise and smaller paychecks.

Power from the people
Enter citizen data scientists. Gartner defined these tech professionals as people who work in predictive and/or prescriptive analytics but are actually masters in a separate field, technique or IT sector. Citizen data scientists won't usurp big data power from those with PhDs. Instead, they will become the core of analytics at organizations that don't demand the most cutting-edge data science initiatives.

The fact of the matter is that there are not enough data scientists out there, and IT professionals who pursue a citizen data science role could find a wealth of employment opportunities. Additionally, with so many businesses in a variety of industries trying to take advantage of big data, there are likely jobs in dozens of sectors with a multitude of different positions and responsibilities.

"Citizen data scientists are now required."

Simply put, citizen data scientists are now required, and every type of organization will be looking for these tech professionals.

Who can be a citizen data scientist?
IT professionals looking for a new sector, a different job or even a way to spice up their typical everyday duties should consider filling the shoes of citizen data scientists. This is because they can come from any background. Programmers can use toolkits to analyze or visualize data, networking professionals can ensure that data flows smoothly between systems, data storage experts can find efficient ways to store information and there is even room for artificial intelligence experts. Obviously some backgrounds are better than others, as Thomas specifically pointed to those with experience in the cloud being good citizen data scientist contenders.

Contributing to Forbes, Margaret Harris of Oracle said that there are generally three different types of data scientists that the majority of organizations are looking for. First, there are data scientists who have a strong background in IT and are familiar with programming for big data platforms. As a note, however, anyone with experience using big data-affiliated languages would be a good fit here.

Second, Harris pointed out that those adept at developing models would be valuable data scientists. They know the steps to take to extract actionable information from complex corporate workflows. These tech professionals could also understand how to uncover predictive models.

Lastly, many citizen data scientists are more familiar with the line of business than the nitty-gritty technical details. IT department managers or supervisors fall into this category along with some professionals who couldn't be further from being tech experts.

Hone those skills
Citizen data scientists might be proficient in some areas and not so much in others, but there is one constant that all potential big data professionals should remember: Citizen data scientists need training and mentors. The whole corporate world must foster the growth of these PhD-free individuals, as there just aren't enough data scientists with specific big data degrees to go around. With support, any IT professional can become a citizen data scientist.

It’s good to be a Chef developer, and with recently released data from the company, there is now hard evidence to back that assertion up.

Hi, and welcome to the APN Consulting video blog!

As DevOps grows in popularity, the automated development kit Chef is becoming one of the most mission-critical tools for major enterprises including Facebook, Best Buy, Yahoo and Nordstrom. And the developers who use Chef are benefiting for this toolkit even more than those organizations.

According to Chef, more than half of software developers using Chef think they will be millionaires in the future, as 69 percent of them agree that their job is “recession-proof.”

So, it should come as no surprise that 91 percent of Chef developers feel as though they are a valuable member of their company’s IT team.

If you’re looking for a role in software development, it looks like Chef skills could land you a job!

Thanks for joining us today, and stick with APN Consulting’s blog for more news and hiring tips.

Agile development practices may have been on the IT scene prior to 2001, but with the release of the Agile Manifesto that year, these strategies have become some of the most popular development techniques in enterprise IT – let alone the fact that businesses are paying employees great salaries for their knowledge of or experience using agile methods.

In today’s IT environment, agile development seems like an absolute necessity with the cloud and consumerization of IT trends setting close to impossible standards for availability and access. In fact, Gartner asserted that agile development is a fantastic way to support the evolution of digital business, and by adopting these techniques, organizations can deploy projects more quickly, deliver value faster and meet the modern need for constant innovation.

“Agile development is a better way to create software.”

The reason for agile development’s value is pretty clear: As the Agile Manifesto stated, it’s a better way to create software, famously favoring team members rather than relying solely on tools, prioritizing collaboration with end users over negotiating with them, providing functioning applications rather than keeping detailed documentation, and reacting to change instead of firmly sticking to game​ plans.

Of course, as with many development techniques, it’s all or nothing. This means – and Gartner supported this assertion – that teams must work in harmony in order to achieve success. A majority of agile methods rely on multiple groups and constant collaboration. Therefore, if tech pros demonstrate familiarity with and skills related to agile development techniques, they will inherently become valuable assets for any IT project.

Named after the collision of players in a rugby match, scrum is an agile development technique for managing and controlling projects and writing code quickly. As in rugby, it is a down-and-dirty approach in which two teams are given a specific job to complete in relation to another group of professionals and their task: One is in charge of optimizing product and the other develops it. And the scrum master leads it all.

The Scrum Alliance defined scrum as a “framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value,” and noted that there are three pillars: transparency, inspection and adaption. In other words, processes are broken down into components, and teams will use a single language and frequent meetings to communicate the status of the project.

A tech professional’s role in scrum processes varies greatly based on his or her skills and expertise, but across the board, Dice found that scrum-based jobs pay an average salary of around  $105,000, which represents a 2 percent rise year over year.

Agile development reinvents traditional programming processes.
Agile development reinvents traditional programming processes.

Extreme programming
While certainly not as cutting-edge as scrum or DevOps, eXtreme Programming – sometimes known simply as XP – has been gaining popularity since employees and consumers demand solutions as soon as possible nowadays.

Sarah Wood, co-founder and chief operations officer/chief marketing officer at Unruly, recently explained in a LinkedIn blog post how her company leveraged XP to help establish a culture of “innovation and agility” within the business. Wood described the agile method in brief.

“Developers code in pairs, follow a rapid two to three-week planning cycle and practice continuous delivery, releasing new features several times a day so we quickly learn what does and doesn’t work,” Wood wrote, later mentioning the critical nature of the paired development processes, since that’s what sets XP apart from other agile methods.

Much like other agile development techniques, tech professionals must work in close collaboration in order to achieve success. In fact, XP truly takes working together to the extreme, as Wood noted that “mobbing” is a practice in which members of the dev team take turns coding at the same screen, swapping out every hour, with hopes of improving the symmetry of information across offices.

“Developers definitely need to have skills in DevOps methodologies.”

Unless they have been actively avoiding the Internet, tech professionals should have at least heard of DevOps – an agile development technique that fuses dev and coding teams with quality assurance and operations. TechTarget asserted that developers definitely need to have skills in DevOps methodologies if their employer supports this agile method, and this type of expertise can even help programmers land a job. The source reported that some DevOps roles vary drastically, encompassing everything from coding to testing to system architecture.

In addition, DevOps and the cloud are commonly associated with one another, so it can’t hurt to brush up on cloud computing before tech professionals seek a job at a DevOps-enabled organization. Particularly, TechTarget highlighted the importance of Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud and Google Cloud Platform familiarity for all DevOps roles.

Agile development shouldn’t pose as challenge to tech professionals, but getting used to new development techniques might take some time. The good news is that there are a wealth of resources from which prospective IT employees can learn.

LinkedIn is many things: The Facebook of business; a job-search website; a soapbox for thought leadership and blog posting; and, according to Business Insider, the world’s largest professional social media platform, with over 347 million users and 3 million active job listings. The source reported that in the tech sector, 46 percent of businesses look for employees via LinkedIn.

It’s clear that LinkedIn plays an important role in the job-hunting process of IT professionals, allowing them to find companies, vet managers and boast about their skills, experience and education. You know this, since you’ve been using this social media site for years. The problem is that you haven’t updated your user account or public-facing aspects of your LinkedIn profile since it’s been created.

So, it’s time to clear the cobwebs and start actively using LinkedIn again. Things have changed, however, and what used to be best practices are now old hat. This means that you need some help.

Here are some tips for developing the ideal LinkedIn profile.

Summarize yourself
On LinkedIn, your summary says everything to hiring managers and potential employers, making this section of your profile the most important. Think about your summary as if it’s the first page of a book – you really want to hook the reader and entice him or her to read more. But what should you write? After all, you’re an IT professional, not a poet.

“Use your summary to describe yourself, your top-prized skills and your career ambitions.”

Simply put, use your LinkedIn profile summary to describe yourself, your top-prized skills and your career ambitions. You don’t need eloquent sentences or verbose descriptions of your talents. Instead, make your summary indicative of your personality, emphasizing points and skills with specific keywords – not lame buzzwords like “innovative,” ComputerWorld explained, but rather tech-focused ones such as agile development or SQL programming.

Picture perfect
Let’s clear this up right away: Take a good profile picture. Don’t use a photo of yourself from an office party last Christmas in which you’re barely looking at the camera. Refawne Acarregui, manager of the Seattle branch office of Robert Half Technology, told ComputerWorld that you should always have a “face-on” profile picture to help make you appear more recognizable.

Additionally, choose a photo that reflects the attire and environment that is well-suited to your personality and profession. There’s no need to break out the three-piece suit, but something nicer than a T-shirt can go a long way toward making you look better than your peers.

In regard to your LinkedIn profile’s headline – an aspect that is almost impossible for hiring managers to miss – customize it and make it as unique as possible. The source explained that instead of something simple and common like “management and IT consultant,” a headline is more attractive when specific, such as “business and IT consultant with a health care focus – and many successful and pleased clients.” That one demonstrates a value, expresses what you care about and highlights your experience.

The DevOps approach
Jez Humble, vice president of Chef, explained the concept of DevOps to The Agile Admin, stating that it’s a practice that extends across many disciplines focusing on a dedication to “building, evolving and operating” scalable systems that rapidly change. What does this have to do with LinkedIn? You should apply the DevOps process to your profile: Continually improving, tweaking and altering your LinkedIn page according to industry climates, tech trends and job postings.

The Internet is the only network for IT professionals, as social ones such as LinkedIn matter just as much.
The Internet and intranet aren’t the only networks that IT professionals must manage, as social ones such as LinkedIn matter just as much.

Frequent updates make your profile appear on LinkedIn homepages that your connections always see, and if one of those colleagues notices that you acquired a new skill or added particular experience, you could land a job. Beyond that, LinkedIn is a social network, which means you need to connect, interact and share.

“This isn’t a place to just share your work experience,” Catherine Fisher, senior director of corporate communications for LinkedIn, told Fast Company. “Publish content, share status updates and give your opinion on the industry in which you work. These things provide more of a flavor of who you are as professional, and that information sets you apart.”

Quick tips
Of course, you can never stop improving your LinkedIn profile, so here are some long-term tips:

  • Customize your URL: This will make you easier to find by people and search engines.
  • Use media: Don’t be afraid to host some pictures of your work in data centers or links to programming side projects.
  • Endorse skills: If you endorse some of your colleagues’ skills, it’s likely that they’ll reciprocate the favor.

LinkedIn plays a critical role in finding a job, and with these tips, you’ll be sure to look good for hiring managers.

10 hiring hacks for job-hunting IT professionals

As an IT professional, you are more valuable than ever at a time when every business and association needs an IT department. This might make you feel confident that you can find a job, and you’re right, the odds are in your favor. However, that doesn’t mean that companies are hiring every tech professional they come across. After all, you aren’t the only person looking for a steady career with a healthy paycheck.

This means that you need to step up your game and set yourself apart to prove that you deserve your desired IT role. But how can you truly stand out?

Here are 10 hiring hacks for job-hunting IT professionals.

1. Definitely use social channels

Whether you like it or not, social networking is now the lifeblood of business. Hiring managers are going to scour these channels, looking for any glimpse into your skills, personality and even looks. Don’t hide. Create social media accounts if you don’t have them, but put your primary effort into beefing up your GitHub and LinkedIn profiles.

2. Have a interesting resume

Your resume is the first thing hiring managers, executives or staff members will see when you’re looking for a new job. Most companies get a lot of them, so you need to stand out immediately to even even be considered for an interview.

“IT pros need to ‘get creative’ with their resumes.”

Ann Pickering, HR director at O2, told Forbes that people need to “get creative” with their resumes. Pickering asserted that this is your one shot to show what you can bring to the table, and by limiting yourself to only “words on a page,” you’re doing yourself a disservice – especially in the tech industry. So, Pickering recommended creating a digital aspect to your job application.

3. Be ready for a screening call

Nowadays, screen calls are to be expected. After you submit a resume, put a pen and notepad somewhere close, and don’t be surprised to hear from the company at which you applied.

4. Know the company, industry and where they stand

OK, so you’ve passed the screening and your interview is next week. Start researching the business, its industry and where the company stands in the market. This makes you seem eager, engaged and intelligent when talking to hiring managers.

5. Remember your audience

In the same way that you learn about the company that you hope to work for, you should always consider the person who will be interviewing you. This should influence how you dress and how you speak. For example, a group interview with an IT team might not demand a suit.

Additionally, you should try to get a feel for interviewers’ personalities by checking out their social channels. CIO magazine created a list of “oddball interview questions,” with example such as “What’s your favorite ’90s jam?” The point is that if you’re unfamiliar with the person, how can you tell if he or she is joking or serious?

Demonstrate that you're the hero a company needs and deserves.Demonstrate that you’re the hero a company needs and deserves.

6. Show your personality

Yes, you want to try to exemplify the type of new hire that companies want, but at the same time, you need to be yourself. Nedhal Alkhatib, program manager for Motorola, explained to Forbes that job candidates’ personalities are “extremely important” to her.

“How you present yourself in the interview is crucial – don’t come across as over-keen or desperate – you want the interviewer to like you and your personality, not pity you,” Alkhatib said.

7. Demonstrate a drive to learn

This tip is simple. Ben Medlock, founder of SwiftKey, explained his stance on this topic to the source:

“The main thing not to do is stop learning or stop being curious. We rate people who are always teaching themselves and others something new. That gives you lots to talk about in an interview, too.”

“Choose a problem, and explain how you’ll fix it.”

8. Solve a problem

When you look at a job posting, all the skill requirements listed by a company are related to a problem that the business needs to solve. So, LifeHacker recommended pitching yourself as someone who can mitigate those issues or positively impact how the firm handles  them. Simply put, choose a problem and explain how you’ll fix it.

9. Prepare for a test

No matter what you say, hiring managers want to make sure you can actually do. Be ready to flex your tech muscles, so it can’t hurt to brush up on some basic skills a couple days in advance.

10. Tell the interviewer the truth

Once you’ve made it to the end of an interview, you can finally relax, but first, be honest with your interviewer. Tell him or her how you feel about the job, the company and the workload. After all, if you are thinking “I don’t think I’ll like it here,” why not save everyone’s time?

Job interviews don’t need to be stressful, since as an IT professional, businesses need you. However, that doesn’t mean you can just walk in the door. Be ready for everything, and the job is yours.

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