Tuesday, July 12, 2011

% Tips for Career Networking Events

1: Prepare a card
Have cards to hand out (NOT resumes). The businesses know they can follow up with attendees if they want to. So be prepared. Your card should have on the front: your name, email address, phone number, Linkedin address.
On the back: your IT discipline/area of interest, your positioning statement, when you  will be available and if full or part-time.

2: Prepare yourself
Update your Linkedin page (Especially important if you are actively looking for a job). Under your name, where people usually put a title, put a statement that tells something important about what you bring to an employer (NOT a technical skill). For example: Passionate about checking details and finding solutions OR: High standards clearly communicated OR; Good ideas put into action (by the way –don’t use any of these examples…)

3: Dress for the event
You are always representing your professional self. While guys don’t need a tie, a nice shirt (not a T-shirt) looks best. Aim for neat.

4: Present your best self
Be sure to ask the recruiters for their business card, or take down names and email addresses with a pad and pen. Dinner will be a part of the event, the business people will be attending, and may notice you during dinner time. Be modest when taking your food (serving size).  Use a napkin and take care not to spill on your clothes.

5: Follow up
Whether or not anyone asks you for a card, ask for theirs. FOLLOW UP with an email thanking them for their feedback (personalize it with something they said to you -  which means, be prepared to take some notes during the mock interview feedback time), and for their time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Make the most out of meeting recruiters

You want to stand out from others when you meet recruiters at a job or career fair. Here are tips to help you do that.

1:  Set yourself apart from the rest of the group using “YOU as the Employee Solution (YES)”
Everyone in the room will have technical skills. What will set you apart are your personal effectiveness skills and how you communicate them. Doing so is as easy as 1-2-3.
1.       Think of a talent or a skill you possess (are you a team builder, detail oriented, highly flexible, etc.).
2.       Think of a time when that skill helped you in an IT or any other project.
3.       Connect that to the benefit provided by using that skill, then put them all together.

2:  Practice: Say your YES statement out loud until it sounds natural. Be prepared to answer a few questions about yourself – and be prepared to ask a few questions as well.

3:  Know about the companies attending.  Get the information from career services or the web page or flyer telling about the event. Go to the recruiters’ websites and research the company. Write down a few notes to jog your memory when you meet them.

4:  Prepare a few questions. A good one to ask is what skills and type of experience they look for. Come up with a couple more and base one on something you learned from their web site.

5:  Update and bring resumes. Keep them in a folder, ready to hand to the recruiter. Do not simply set them near a recruiter.  You need to talk with the recruiter to connect with her or him. (Also, put the recruiters’ business card in the folder.)

1:  Bring a pad and pen. Be ready to take notes regarding your conversation. You can use them when following up (send a thank you to each recruiter you spoke to).

2:  Keep your time with each recruiter short. Visit all the companies, but know the recruiters will be paying attention to the degree of professionalism (politeness) you display.

3:  Present yourself as a professional. Be sure to ask the recruiters for their business card, or take down names and email addresses with a pad and pen. Although dinner will be a part of the event, the recruiters may notice you during the dinner time. Be modest when taking your food (serving size).  Use a napkin and take care not to spill on your clothes.

1:  Follow up. After the event, send an email thanking the recruiter for talking with you AND be sure to mention something that she or he said to you during your chat

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How do they get where they are?

Find the path leading these IT professionals to their current positions, and then read the tips they share with you on how you can be more successful in your IT career or job search. http://www.iseek.org/industry/it/careers/spotlights.html

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What employers want in a prospective employee

According to various surveys and casual conversations with employers, there are three particular skills/people/attributes they want but find lacking when they hire IT. Understanding these needs and acquiring the necessary skills to fill them will get you hired. Bear in mind that employers do hire for skill sets, but really want business skills in addition. If you can demonstrate how you fill these needs, adding extra  value to keep their company going, you will become a wanted employee.

 “Problem Solving Skills”
This involves finding creative ways to use IT to solve business problems. Having a basic understanding of how business works is crucial. You can get an overview of business operations as well as much other information for free from the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. 

“Big Thinkers”
Once you know how business generally works improve your ability to think big by investing in an arts course. Arts course guide you into different problem-solving methods. You don’t need to become Picasso or rock star, but using the creative side of your brain allows you to see innovative ways to solve problems as well as create unique processes that forestall problems or move the company  ahead.

“Communicators Who Get to the Point”
This requires the ability to think logically and clearly and relay information the same way. It also means you can talk business language without using IT jargon, and without conversational  filler words (uhm, you know, ahh, and ah, like).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting a Job as a Non-traditional Student or New Grad

You’re older. You’re graduating or just have. Ageism exists.  What can you do about it?
The first thing is to understand why older people are discriminated against.
The myths include: older people are inflexible, expect more money, are not up-to-date, won't work hard and resent working for someone younger.  
The next is to address it in your job search. Here’s how.
Stress your dependability, reliability, and interest in continual learning and new experiences
  • Network to find a job. Flexibility can be easier to show than to tell
  • Join and attend events and meetings for IT associations such as UMSA or MHTA or the MNITWFC, do informational interviews, attend IT job clubs
  • Use social media. Join Linked In, the Twin Cities IT Alumni Association, special-interest groups such as Drupal users
Emphasize that working with a interesting team or on challenging problems are what you find rewarding
  • Indicate you are a team player able to work with multiple-ages, genders, diverse work styles
  • Mention long range plans for being with the company
  • Talk about your business and personal effectiveness skills

Tweak your wardrobe, hair style, and eyeglasses
  • Get y our hair cut and styled – looking out-of-date can be interpreted as a lack of ability to change. Also make sure your wardrobe and eyeglasses reflect current styles

Speak to the actions you’ve taken in prior jobs and their benefit to the company
  • Be enthusiastic but not arrogant

Don’t make the hiring manger feel insecure. Find the balance between looking proficient and productive versus threatening.
  • Talk about an age-diverse team you worked in that had superior results and which you enjoyed.
  • Keep your interview answers short (don’t take over the interview)

Sharon Boerbon Hanson

Thursday, December 2, 2010

IT Bloggers are Exceptional

Passion and dedication. Those are two attributes every employer hopes its employees will bring to the job. Check out my list of BLOGs to find people who offer both.

Another attribute that employers tell me they most want in their employees is skill in communication.They define good communication as  including:
  • Conciseness  (keep it short and focused)
  • Logical info flow (make sense)
  • Eye contact (look at the person you are talking to)
  • Clarity (get you point across, use regular language with non-tech people)
 Sharon Boerbon Hanson