Landing that first IT job presents an interesting dilemma–you can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get experience without the job. Getting one’s foot in the door may require skill, finesse, timing, and patience in order to be successful. A stick-to-it attitude doesn’t hurt, either.
Information Week’s recent article tackles this very subject. CIOs, CTOs, and recruiters suggest the following nine tips to help beginners stand out during an IT job search:
- Network, network, network. More than ever, it is not what you know, but whom you know. Use alumni groups of every kind, LinkedIn, and volunteer work to connect with people inside target companies who can get you past the initial screening.
- Contribute to open source projects. Seek out volunteer work on open source. This not only helps you build a body of work, but also helps you meet specialists in a desired area such as mobile development.
- Display energy and passion for tech. Did you beat a school record in a charity fundraiser? Did you do robotics competitions? Have examples.
- Prepare to code and take tests. Expect to face some kind of test of your technical knowledge. And no, you can’t study for it.
- Show the four C’s. Recruiters and IT leaders use the “C” words to describe great candidates: creative, consistent, and curious — with great communication skills.
- Know the business and its projects. Learn not only about the business but also the kind of projects IT people there grapple with on a daily basis.
- Don’t pretend to know everything. In fact, it’s mature to realize that you don’t know what you don’t know.
- Look to go deep. Today’s IT shops don’t just want experience—they want deep experience. It’s important to realize the value of specialization early in your career.
- Show resiliency. If it’s your dream job, you don’t have to take no for an answer.
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