Posted by Robert Half on 28 October 2016
Whether you've recently graduated from college or taken an intensive coding programme, you're looking for an entry-level IT job to launch your career in technology.
It’s a great time to be building a career in technology and there are many career opportunities for recent graduates or career changes looking to land an entry-level technology job. The UK is currently facing a skills shortage while the demand for technology professionals continues to grow.
There are some important technology career preparation steps that should be on your to-do list. If you have not yet secured your first professional technology job, the tips below can help increase your odds of securing interviews with the companies you want to work for, and beginning your career in technology:
1. Know your target
Begin by creating a clear vision of the type of role you are seeking and your qualifications for the role. Potential hiring managers will ask and you want to be ready with a crisp response.
With that said, be flexible. Sometimes the entry-level technology job you're offered isn't exactly what you had in mind. Many young IT professionals are hoping for meatier work instead of what they'd consider easy, or not very interesting assignments. Be patient. You don't get to work on your dream project right out of the gate. By doing good work your time to tackle more interesting projects will come.
Use your first job or internship to get your foot in the door and view it as a path to the technology career you want.
2. Don't put your learning and development on hold
If you are interested in the entering the world of IT,you will be aware at the speed in which new technologies, software and systems can evolve. Ignoring your need to stay abreast of the latest industry trends and learnings will only harm your ability to succeed. By making an ongoing commitment to self-education, combined with online courses, seminars and professional workshops, you’ll be well-placed to understand how to capitalise on industry changes to enhance your skills and develop your career.
3. Update your online profile
Most young tech pros have built their first professional IT resume at this point in the game, but they don't always give as much thought to their online presence. This can be especially important when trying to land an entry-level technology job since potential employers are very likely to look up prospective candidates online.
Is your LinkedIn profile current and professional? Is your Twitter content reflective of the professional image you want to convey in the marketplace? Also take a look at your profile photos on social media accounts and associated content to ensure they project the image you want potential employers to see.
Never inflate your experience or credentials. It's not a good idea for so many reasons, and it will most likely come back to haunt you sooner or later in your career.
Find out how to manage your online reputation
4. Accelerate your networking
Have you joined a professional networking group? If not, find a professional organisation that will increase your exposure to the types of employers and professionals that you want to work with. Whether it's Women in Technology (WIT), the National Association of Programmers or the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), find a group that mirrors your particular professional interests and get involved.
Here's another good networking tip for those just beginning their IT careers: Network with people who are in their first or second IT job, too. Most people focus on finding a contact at a much higher level than themselves (IT managers, for example), but getting to know someone in a more junior position, one that you might be interested in, could lead to an interview as well. A more junior contact might know of an opportunity or have some good IT career advice for those just starting out in a technology career.
Don't let your networking efforts go to waste. Find out if you are networking effectively?