If ever a time of year changes the discourse surrounding job satisfaction and professional ambition, it is January. Conversations include the language of “new” – new year, new job, new opportunities, new me.
Perhaps more than any other industry, technology is overwhelmingly trend-driven, and whether your interest lies in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, or even the continued rollout of 5G, there’s always room to maneuver when it comes to career paths.
How to get a new IT job in 2020
Whether you’re plotting a new course or eyeing a complete change of direction, a number of strategies can assist the transition as the new decade settles in. These five could prove integral to your plans:
1. Reassess your certifications
While certifications are not necessarily essential to every role, they can certainly give you an edge over the competition, and the more you have on your resume now, the less your potential employer will need to pay for later.
[ Ace your next IT job interview: Get our Cheat sheet: IT job interviews. ]
Make sure your certifications reflect your areas of expertise. If you’re switching products as well as environments, keep in mind the elements that could be deemed as interchangeable and be sure to give them prominence during the application process.
Does your current list of certifications reflect the type of role you’re looking for? If not, make sure any relevant crossover experience is suitably highlighted.
2. Get on-trend
As mentioned above, the tech field is intensely influenced by trends. It pays to keep ahead of the curve and stay on the right side of what will shape the industry over the coming months and years.
An awareness of the elements currently emerging in the industry and those that could become something entirely new (such as DevOps) shows a great degree of commitment and passion –both big plusses from an employer’s perspective. It also never hurts to be able to debate such issues with confidence and authority.
According to Gartner’s Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends, 2020 will be dominated by developments in areas such as human augmentation, hyperautomation, AI security, and the distributed cloud.
[ What’s next for RPA, AI, 5G, quantum computing, and more? Read also: 17 tech predictions for 2020 – and beyond. ]
3. Update your online social profiles
If the holiday season is a time to switch off and spend quality downtime with friends and family, then January should be viewed as the month that jolts you back into action and ushers in a fresh, invigorated approach to work.
A good place to start that process is via platforms such as LinkedIn. Reach out to existing contacts regarding your professional circumstances, and make relevant connection requests to those who could help you move toward your professional goals.
It’s also vitally important to keep your details up to date. What’s your current employment status? Are there any examples of work from the previous year that you haven’t uploaded to your online portfolio? Have you tweaked the settings that let possible employers know you’re looking for a new challenge?
These are simple actions that are entirely in your hands, and each has the potential to start your next professional chapter.
[ Read also: 5 tips to make LinkedIn work better. ]
4. Display adaptability and a willingness to learn
Solid technical skills will always be crucial to a role in IT, but don't underestimate the value of highlighting your soft skills as well. More than ever, companies are looking for candidates who can adapt to fast-changing industries and keep up to speed on new trends and skillsets.
A firm’s desired aptitudes can change like the seasons, so make the most of your adaptability from the outset and highlight your willingness to develop as a tech professional.
According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services research report, IT Talent Strategy: New Tactics for a New Era, “2020 and the decade that follows will demand flexibility and adaptability on a scale not seen in most CIOs’ lifetime.” Being prepared to tackle challenges outside of your comfort zone and pick up new skills along the way could give you a distinct edge.
5. Brush up on your competency skills
If you’re interviewing for a position at a large enterprise, the interview process may involve some kind of competency test to make sure the information on your resume matches your actual knowledge.
Such assessments are used as an indicator, and in lieu of a face-to-face interview, they may be the only factor considered when it comes to identifying which candidates move to the next stage and which are discounted.
This is a common practice, especially at big firms, so spend some time considering what these tests could entail. They’ll obviously be role-specific, but there could also be mock assessments online that make all the difference when it comes to the real thing.
[ Download the full report: "IT Talent Strategy: New Tactics for a New Era," to learn more about how top CIOs are putting talent best practices into action. ]