I have recently been put in a spot where I needed to hire two people to fill fairly technical roles.
The Job market isnâ€™t as favorable as it used to be. The days of posting a job on Monster.com and immediately getting 400 resumes are over. Even so, we’ve gotten what I would consider a fair to good level of responses to the advertisements.
Since weâ€™re well into the process, I thought Iâ€™d share some tips or insight for those out there in the job market. Youâ€™d think that most of this is obvious but apparently itâ€™s not.
Rule Number 1:
Donâ€™t apply for positions that you are simply not capable of doing. Just because you fix computers, or love to work on computers does not qualify you in any way to be a Network Engineer or DBA. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, but youâ€™re wasting your time and energy as well and the time and energy of the folks reviewing your resume.
Itâ€™s true everyone has to start somewhere, but there are certain positions that just arenâ€™t open to entry level applicants. Recognize them and donâ€™t apply for them if you donâ€™t have the goods.
Rule Number 2:
If you put it on your resume, know it and be prepared to defend it.
- Donâ€™t say you have experience with SQL if you canâ€™t put together:
Select * from [table] where some condition exists.
- Donâ€™t say you were responsible for corporate backups and disaster recovery if you all really did was carrying the backup tapes to the off-site storage facility.
- Donâ€™t say you know networking if you canâ€™t describe the difference between a hub and a switch.
- Configuring Outlook does mean you have extensive Microsoft Exchange experience.
- Because you were responsible for resetting user passwords when they forgot them does not mean you were responsible for administering and maintaining network security.
- If you say you know Linux, basic commands such as â€˜manâ€™ should not confuse you.
- Hooking up a cable modem and Linksys router does not mean you were responsible for the enterprise network infrastructure. It means youâ€™re qualified to support small offices or home offices, nothing more.
Rule Number 3:
When asked â€˜Why do you think a man-hole cover is round?â€™ donâ€™t say â€œGosh, I really donâ€™t knowâ€â€¦ Think about it and at least give a plausible explanation.
If asked verbal math puzzles; at least make an attempt. I know these types of questions can be stressful, but keep calm, and do your best. Itâ€™s the effort that counts even if you donâ€™t get it right. Pause, take your time, and if necessary ask the interviewer to repeat the question, take notes if you have too. The answers are often quite obvious and youâ€™ll feel really bad when the answer comes to you when youâ€™re driving away after the interview.
Itâ€™s not ever a good idea to admit youâ€™re not good at math. Tech jobs involve math, a lot. If youâ€™re not good at math that will eventually be shown, you donâ€™t need to admit it.
Rule Number 4:
If you have lots of empty time on your resume between jobs, have good answers for that time, even if itâ€™s not entirely true. Family illness, family issues, death in the family, etc. are good gap fillers, but you can only use them once. By that I mean if you have more than 3 months space between multiple jobs you really need to explain that, with confidence, and you canâ€™t say â€˜Family issuesâ€™ was the cause each time even if it is true.
â€˜I was in jail from x to y, is not a good answer eitherâ€™.
Rule Number 5:
Itâ€™s also not wise to say you left X Company because you werenâ€™t being paid enough, unless of course you followed right up with a new similar job that paid you more. A 6 month period of unemployment doesnâ€™t back up your â€˜paid too littleâ€™ story. 6 months of being paid too little is always better than being paid â€˜0â€™.
Rule Number 6:
Job experience that is irrelevant to the position you are applying is in fact irrelevant. If thatâ€™s all you have, fine, but if youâ€™re applying for a software engineering position, we donâ€™t really care about your time at Taco Bell. Likewise youâ€™re not going to convince us you rewrote their point-of-sale program in between making tacoâ€™s at store number 752.
More to followâ€¦