It’s no longer enough to show that you can roll in with cables or reset passwords. Tell the tale of your leadership abilities and set yourself apart from the pack.
The workplace is changing. It’s more demanding, more complex, more diverse and more collaborative than ever. And IT is changing too. More and more, IT isn’t just a ‘service’ – that team that rolls in with cables or resets passwords – but is increasingly expected to drive innovation across a company and take a seat at the leadership table.
It’s not enough to know the tech any longer. You need to know how to sell yourself and your soft skills to stand out from the pack.
Employers are specifically looking for candidates who display good business engagement and understanding, teamed with the ability to articulate their achievements beyond just the technical component of their role. If you can demonstrate this, as well as evidence of your willingness to embrace change, you’ll undoubtedly be viewed favourably. So, start off on the right foot with these simple steps.
Step 1: tailor your approach
Taking the time to tailor your application and cover letter to the specific role you’re applying for is the first step to setting yourself apart from the masses. Steer clear of submitting generic applications, it will see you stumble at the first hurdle.
Begin by doing your homework, on both the role you’re applying for as well as the company itself. Use your newfound knowledge to determine what elements of your experience show how suited you are for the position and move them to the top. Whether it’s your current position, a freelance project you worked on a while ago or some specialised study you undertook, shout it from the rooftops at the start of your application.
If you have done your research and used it to position yourself well to a recruiter, we’ll be confident you can do the same with the end employer.
Step 2: cut through the jargon
Job ads often contain a large amount of information, key words and technical jargon. It’s crucial you decipher this, identify the position’s core requirements and address them accordingly. Begin by identifying the ‘must-haves’ along with the ‘nice-to-haves’. From there you need to match your own experience to them and tailor your response to suit.
If you’re unclear on this when putting your application together, it might fail to hit the mark. Job titles in particular are worth focusing on – every company has different naming conventions so try to figure out what the industry standard title would be and take it from there.
Step 3: sell those soft skills
So, how can you make those sought-after soft skills stand out in your application? Use real-life examples of the value you’ve added to the businesses you’ve worked for in the past. Should you make it through to an interview, try to work in an example to most of your responses.
Instead of rolling off a list of keywords to explain how you define leadership, talk about how you have in fact demonstrated leadership, and use your own words. Whatever story you have to share will be more memorable than a basic statement. Use your time wisely and highlight the value you’ve added to businesses you’ve worked for in the past, the benefits any projects brought to the business, along with any personal and team achievements linked with this.
Don’t limit yourself to the job ad’s vocabulary – use your stories and your experiences, because you are so much more than a few keywords.
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By Alex Jones, IT/Technology Director, Randstad
I'm proud to have been working for Randstad Technologies for over 10 years, with a focus on driving continuous and accelerated growth of the organisation across the Asia-Pacific Region. I consider coaching and mentoring leaders in the business as one of the most rewarding parts of my role.