The technology market is competitive, challenging, and ever changing. Most job searchers have trouble balancing the need to appear qualified and professional with the need to be human and unique. Many struggle with knowing what to put in a cover letter and what to leave out. When searching for a job in technology, it’s important not to get too distracted by one aspect of the profile you present to potential employers and leave out an equally vital piece. Here we’ll provide several tips to avoid making common mistakes and missing a golden opportunity when applying for technology jobs.
1. Speak their language. Each industry requires a different tone and level of professionalism. Using outdated terms or taking on an attitude that is either too formal or not formal enough can be disastrous. Think of it as part of your job as a professional in the technology industry to keep up to date with the lingo and unwritten codes of behavior. Networking–both online and in person–can be a huge tool for this. Learn by example and ask around about etiquette and advice from those who have had success in the industry. This not only provides valuable information, but shows others in the industry that you are humble and eager to learn.
2. Focus on skills beyond technology. Those who are applying for the same job as you will likely have similar levels of technological expertise and possess similar lists of accomplishments. What makes you stand out is the diversity of expertise. This shows that you are capable of being flexible and mastering many different skills. Additionally, the recent recession found many employees having to take on multiple responsibilities outside of their ordinary field to accommodate for layoffs, so having multiple areas of expertise is now a relevant and highly valued skill.
3. Tailor your resume to each job. A professional resume highlighting great accomplishments is good, but it may not be enough for you to make the cut. Just as you would tailor your cover letter to each job, adjust your resume for the same reasons. Look to what the company values in an employee and highlight those aspects of yourself rather than just listing off your accomplishments and qualifications. Adjust the tone and consider submitting it in different formats to different employees–an interactive online format for one, a classic paper binder to the next.
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