14 May 2016
With the pace at which the tech industry is evolving, talented tech professionals have never been in higher demand. A growing number of companies, regardless of their industry, are realizing that they need to invest in strong tech talent in order to move their business forward, and they’re increasingly turning to IT contractors to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of hiring someone permanently. This is especially beneficial for project-based needs, such as system migrations or building a new product, so it’s imperative for tech candidates to highlight their skills in a way that makes them more marketable to employers. Jessica Schwitzman, an Account Executive within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division, advises candidates on the best ways to strategically highlight their programming skills to position themselves as experts in migrations to newer technologies, such as Office 365. “In today’s competitive environment, it’s not only important to keep an open mind about potential opportunities, but also be mindful of the transferable tech skills you already possess that can help you get the job,” says Jessica. “Employers want contractors that can hit the ground running on day one of a new assignment, so your ability to quickly adapt to different technologies and processes is essential.” To demonstrate this ability to prospective employers, start by perfecting your resume and interview skills. However, you can take it a step further by… Diversifying your skillset Often times, IT contractors make the mistake of passing on a potential assignment because they don’t possess the exact programming skills the employer is looking for. “To successfully interview for roles you don’t possess the exact background for, emphasize the similarities between the coding language(s) you already know and the language(s) they are looking for,” advises Jessica. For example, if an employer is in search of a Ruby on Rails developer, but your background is using Python, call out some of the technical similarities between the two languages (i.e., object-oriented programming, works on multiple platforms, etc.). This may show prospective employers you possess a strong foundation in Python to learn Ruby on Rails skills faster. Highlight the transferable skills you practice regularly to illustrate how you’ll be able to add value to a particular project or assignment. 2. Ensuring your skills are up-to-date Finally, in today’s fast-paced digital industry, one of the best ways to make yourself a more marketable candidate is by staying up-to-date on current industry trends and news. “This practice can be extremely helpful in anticipating when a particular employer might need an IT professional with your skillset,” says Jessica. For example, if you’re aware that a company is experiencing cyber security issues or they’re expected to roll out a new product in the near future, you might be able to get a head start on any prospective opportunities. For an organization that was recently hacked, they may respond by looking to hire a third-party Security Analyst to troubleshoot their firewalls and networks. Therefore, by keeping yourself aware of industry happenings, you can be better prepared to make a quick and firm decision to pursue a particular employer or role.