Looking to land a new IT job? Move your resume to the top of the list by avoiding these three common pitfalls
Job search etiquette now: What COVID-19 changed
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the reality - and etiquette - of job hunting. Get advice on virtual interview manners, remote working questions, and more
4. Do your homework and go in with a plan
Be thoroughly prepared for every interaction with a potential employer. You want to know whether they are surviving or thriving right now, Grady says. “You can take a job and be out looking for another one in a couple of months.”
Maybe you want to take the job anyway because some income is better than none, but know what you’re getting into.
Having done your background research will also allow you to have a better conversation with your interviewer and tailor the points you make to their most pressing issues. You will also have a better idea of how hard you can push when negotiating an offer. The employer may be under more pressure to wring the maximum value out of every dollar.
“Before COVID, late-stage discussions about things like compensation and the start date were held between the recruiter and the candidate. Now that hiring managers crave more interaction with finalists, they are often directly involved in those conversations themselves, which is a change,” Thistle says.
5. Know your remote work talking points
Whether you love or hate working remotely, be prepared for remote work to be part of the conversation. Employers will want to know that you are capable of being productive when working remotely when they need you to do so. Whether they will push the remote work option or resist it is another question.
“The fact that people can be productive with remote work has been proven, and there were so many people who didn’t believe that,” Grady says. “The baby boomers are aging off, and they were the ones who really wanted you sitting at your desk, day in and day out.”
There’s also a financial incentive for change, she says, noting that the investment bank where she used to work as an HR director is likely to go from three floors of office space to one when the lease is up, thanks to increased remote work.
Many organizations will retain a preference for getting workers back into the office as soon as possible, but if you prefer remote work, you have a lot of leverage right now, Grady says.
Senior IT people tend to be comfortable working remotely and may be more likely to be trusted with it.
6. Get ready for some tough questions
While technology has not suffered to the same extent as the rest of the economy, that may not protect those who have specialized in IT for an industry that is hurting right now, such as travel and tourism. If that means you must seek work in another industry, Thistle advises, “Spend time thinking about how your achievements and skills relate to the sectors that are hiring - the technologies they use and the challenges they face. Rehearse answers to the question bound to come up about your lack of direct industry experience.”
If you’ve been out of work, or not working at full capacity in the past few months, Grady suggests being ready to explain what you’ve been doing with all your free time. You want to be able to say that you’ve been improving yourself, sharpening your skills, and maybe picking up an additional certification. If you’ve used the time to upskill, she says, that shows you’re a go-getter.
[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]