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Ready, Set, Job Search - The 2016 IT Job Search Guide
Posted on 28 Jan 2016 | Comments: 0

Are you an IT professional? Well did you know you are in one of the hottest industries right now - So how do you scale the walls of the IT community? Besides having all the technical skills being able to navigate the interview process will be key to you getting that dream job.

The Foundation

Not surprisingly, the process always starts with your resume. It is the first step in turning your dream job into reality.

1. Resume creation

How to build a killer resume
The key to all resumes is quite simple - tailor it to the job you are applying for. Use the right keywords for the role you are applying for otherwise you are just shooting yourself in the foot. It takes recruiters an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates based on resumes, according to research conducted by TheLadders, so make sure your resume is relevant!

  • A common mistake most tech applicants make is filling their resume with acronyms. In IT you get flooded with acronyms. For example, if you indicate experience configuring enterprise core LAN routers, we would expect you understand TCP/IP, SNMP, TFTP, VLSM, VLAN, possibly NTP and VPN, and at least one routing protocol such as OSPF or RIP. There is no need to list all of them.
  • It always helps to get a professional’s opinion. Ask a mentor or friend in the your field as each industry has its own practices you need to be aware of.
  • Think about a resume as a marketing document. It should tell a compelling story. Try for example, talking about an app you developed and explain how it could make a difference for the company you want to work for.
  • Always remember, keep resumes clear and straight to the point. Break up text with bullet points detailing accomplishments. This includes stating only relevant work experiences.
  • When it comes to listing your skills, talk about transferable skill sets. This means stating technical skills of your current profession that can be applied to your new role. DON’T make the mistake of listing old skills! E.g. Novell 3.12 CNE, how relevant is that skill today?
  • List awards and accolades, its always a plus.
  • A quick tip for a resume that is pleasing to the eye is to use plenty of white space, not forgetting balancing it out with the right font, bolds and italics.
  • Lastly, use a chronological resume format and don’t list references. If they want to speak to references employers will ask for it.

For more resources, here is a link to CIO’s effective IT resume examples.

2. Job search techniques

So where should you start? Here is a list of go to sources to get you started.

  • Attend industry events. Ever heard of Cisco Live? This is one event you don’t want to miss. Be amazed and transform your outlook, your career, and your potential. Happening 8-11 March 2016 in Melbourne.            
  • Search all jobs boards: Indeed, Seek, Career One & First Avenue Job Board
  • Make sure you have profiles on tech related job sites like GitHub and other sites like Dice and Glassdoor. Make sure they are up to date. Don’t forget LinkedIn, many recruiters are on LinkedIn headhunting for the right candidate!
  • Network
    Get directly in front of the company you want to work for. Speak to the people in charge of the department and get your name in the door. Don’t worry about HR that can come later, once you are a candidate.

Realities Of Job Searching

Remember job search isn’t rocket science; it comes down to common sense and logic. We all feel demotivated and unhappy when looking for a job, but remember it is an important part of life. We should all embrace change.

Keep your spirits up by doing your favourite activities and reading inspirational stories that you could look to, for the much-needed boost.

Silence shouldn’t put you off either. This is where you take charge! Take matters into your own hands and contact the person responsible for filling the role. Try different methods, like name dropping, or sending personalised emails.

The Doors Open – The Interview

Just because you’re applying for a tech job doesn’t mean you need to take yourself too seriously. Show your passion for the work. It doesn’t really matter why it lights your fire, so long as it does.

Out of everything you might need to know about interviewing, if you remember just these few points, you should stand out from the pack:

Step 1: Telephone interviews

Almost every company starts with someone calling you. How to ace the telephone interview:

  • Have a pen/pencil ready. You never know when you will need it
  • As an IT professional you are always glued to your computer - Being on the computer is distracting so go somewhere quiet.
  • You might get an initial screen test over the phone. Take for example, a question on DevOps applications. Make sure you are familiar with Linux troubleshooting commands, storage terminology, and infrastructure planning and sizing.
  • Be prepared to rate yourself on how experienced you are in multiple areas. Scales and aptitudes differ but don’t be surprised if the interviewer asks you to rate your Python programming skills or Linux knowledge. The screening question difficulties are based off your self-rated scores.

 Step 2: Practical test

Some companies forgo screening calls and just send you a practical test. These vary significantly depending on the job.

Here is an example of a test question: “Given the following VM credentials (AWS VM), figure out why the web server isn’t working and fix it.” Be prepared for such questions.

These tests would be easiest by gaining practical exercises through work and your personal hobbies. Your other option is to try TrueAbility and work through their tests.

Step 3: Face-to-Face interviews

Coding on the spot! The thing about tech interviews is that they often come with a little practical exam. “Not all companies let you do algorithms during the interview, but some, like Microsoft, often do,” says Isabel Schafer on BusinessInsider.com. Practise is key!

  • Research the company you are interviewing for. Make a cheat sheet of the important info that draws your attention. Dig out as much as you can about the company and the people who run it. Review past press releases, notable events they've hosted and causes they support, etc.
  • Know the job description of the position you are applying for, display your skills with concrete examples.
  •  Build rapport with the interviewer. When the time is right, usually before you get started or after the formalities, take the opportunity to connect with your interviewer on a personal level.
  • Body language Confidence says it all. It leaves interviewers with a lasting impression. After all, employers want to hire people who can positively influence others, who are confident in their skills and abilities, and who are just generally pleasant to be around.
  • Handling stress Before you step into that interview room, ease any anxiety by reminding yourself that your interviewers are human themselves. They too are as positive and hopeful about finding a new team member as you are about landing the perfect job.
  • Last, if you have to take away one advice, remember this: never forget to be yourself.

Dealing with tough awkward interview questions

The policy here is honestly is always best, but turn it into your advantage and say how the mentioned situation will be beneficial to your interviewer and the company. Here is a link to more resources on awkward interview questions.

Finishing Touches

  1. Keeping it fresh
    You know you’re supposed to follow up after a job interview, but how exactly? Have we left the days of handwritten thank you notes, and if so, what has replaced them?

    Firstly, remember all the interviewers! That’s crucial. Look them up on LinkedIn and send them any questions or concerns and include a personalized thank you note. Handwritten notes are never out of date! With everyone on emails, a note will help you stand out of the crowd. We know there’s plenty of space to write on a piece of paper, so keep it simple.
  2. Negotiating the job offer
  • Let them understand why you deserve what you are requesting. Explain precisely why it’s justified.
  • Remember that people are the negotiators, so understand the person across the table, make them like you. Avoid ultimatums of any kind. No one likes them.
  • Never forget to understand their constraints; if they can’t give you the salary you want, perhaps you can negotiate on other matters.
  • Finally never forgot to negotiate multiple issues simultaneously rather than in parts.

 3. Current tech job trends

Check out the latest 2016 job market predictions here.

Finally, stay positive. There’s always a role out there for you. Good luck with your job search.


If you are struggling to find your way around your job search, don’t fret. First Avenue, is here to the rescue. We provide tailored career-counselling services to help you get ahead. We will be able to guide you through improving your social profile & resume and advice you on the best way to land your desired job. Contact us via email at info@firstavenuegroup.com.au and we would gladly help you out.

Melissa Margoulis is the Chief Talent Officer at First Avenue Group, a company dedicated to connecting top organisations with top talent. Follow First Avenue for access to all the hottest career opportunities, news and industry trends in APAC. Be sure to follow First Avenue across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook for the hottest jobs, trends and news in APAC

Article Written by: Yee Lin Loke, Chief Digital Marketer & Melissa Margoulis, Chief Talent Officer

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