The tech sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world; according to the World Economic Forum, at least 133 million new tech-related roles will be generated globally by 2022. Although tech is a booming industry, with ample employment and progression opportunities, the market is experiencing a skills shortage due to the lack of tech professionals able to fill the high volumes of roles being created. So how can you successfully apply for these jobs in the technology sector? Andy Mason is the Director of Mason Frank International, a specialist tech recruiter. Here he shares his insight gained from assisting with the staffing of hundreds of IT projects around the world.
The imbalance between open positions and available candidates has made tech a real job seekers’ market. If you’re on the brink of graduating and are looking for the ideal graduate position, pursuing a career in the tech world could be a great choice. The sector has a wide range of job opportunities, from computer science based jobs like engineering, software developing, and computer system analysts, to the more business-savvy roles, such as consultants, business analysts, and project managers.
There are a variety of advantages to pursuing a career in tech. First and foremost, the national median for starting salaries in the sector is £30,000; a significant jump up from the UK average of £19,000. And according to our recent survey of software professionals, common perks for tech employees include flexible working hours, bonuses, training opportunities, and access to cutting-edge industry events.
Thanks to the massive variety of job types in tech, and the increasing demand for candidates to take on newly created roles, you don’t have to be a computer science major to land a rewarding job in the tech space. You do however, need to be capable of presenting a strong skill-set to get your foot in the door, and set yourself apart from your peers.
The obvious and best place to start your tech job search is, of course, with your CV. Here are five tips to ensure you submit an eye-catching application to kick off your exciting new career.
1. Tailor the resume for each application
No two roles are the same, and using a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach is a sure-fire way to send your application to the bottom of the hiring manager’s pile. Improve your chances of getting a reply by starting with the job spec and working backward to create your application. Highlight all the essential skills and experience required, as well as proven examples of how you’ve met the criteria in the past. If you can combine that with a cover letter demonstrating your knowledge of the business, what you can bring to the table, and why you would make a great fit for the team, then there is no reason you won’t be considered as a viable contender.
2. Learn the scanning process
Contrary to popular belief, your future boss may not be the first person who reads your CV. In most cases, your application will have to endure numerous levels of potential readers before it is even placed in front of the decision-maker.As a modern graduate, you’ll likely start the applying process online by uploading your CV to a database, where it will be retrieved by a computer and scanned for specific buzzwords that were featured in the original job ad. Next is the screening phase. This will probably be conducted by the company’s HR or talent acquisition team, or potentially outsourced to a specialist recruiter. Either way, due to the volume of responses, screeners tend only to scan your CV and will not have the freedom to make assumptions regarding your skills. Very similar to the computer, they will only approve candidates who meet the specific criteria set by the hiring manager. You’ll need to ensure the right accomplishments and appropriate skill-set stand out on the page, so the reader can quickly connect all the dots from the requirements on the job spec to your CV. Try adding a “key skills” section right at the top of your CV so the reader can quickly pick out relevant skills, and make sure you tailor this section to reflect the job spec in question.
3. Impressing the Decision Maker
Your CV will reach the hiring manager—aka, the decision-maker, and potentially your future boss. Unlike the screener, they have the power to bend the rules and make a judgment call on your experience. To impress the decision-maker, focus on your provable accomplishments and what you can bring to the table as a candidate for the role.
4. Present relevant technical skills
As a recent graduate, you will be leaving university with a set of refined hard skills and diverse knowledge of the latest trends in technology, making you a valuable commodity for hiring managers. The key to showcasing your technical skill-set is relevance. As mentioned previously, you should utilise the job spec and give examples of how you have demonstrated the required hard skills, then organise them in a way that will appeal to the decision-maker.
5. Understand the role soft skills play
Many applicants believe using examples such as problem-solving, time management, and excellent listening skills are generic and irrelevant to the job at hand, especially when it comes to tech-heavy roles. Nevertheless, many tech professionals require a multitude of soft skills to pursue a career within the ecosystem. Almost every IT role relies massively on critical thinkers, the ability to think outside the box, a keen sense of observation, and impeccable patience.
The majority of soft skills are transferable from any previous job, regardless of the industry. All you have to do is cherry-pick the relevant skills to the job spec, combine that with your hard skills, and I’m sure you’ll ace the screening stage.