Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tips for IT Career Beginners

Career Beginners:
  • Attend job fairs, go on informational interviews, and begin to develop a directory of people who can help you break into an IT career or mentor you as you begin.
  • Tell everyone you know about your career goals -- friends, parents' friends, relatives, coaches, and your college career center. Don't be bashful about asking your contacts to refer you to people who can help inyour job search.
  • Register with the three highest-traffic job boards on web, Search their job postings and apply to those that are of interest to you and for which you're qualified.
  • Contact employers directly, schedule informational interviews, and follow up on job leads. Even if you don't land the job of your dreams right away, be willing to start at the bottom -- even if it's an unpaid internship-- and work your way up.
  • Show lots of enthusiasm and interest in your first job. Ask plenty of questions, volunteer to do extra work, and generally demonstrate that you enjoy your position. Employers will notice, and you will realize later on in your career how much you learned at each place. Try to stay at least a year or two at each company, but don't worry about changing jobs too often. Younger professionals have more leeway to try different things earlyon than those in midcareer, as long as they have a good reason for making the changes.
  • Don't wait -- get exposure to a broad range of activities/functions now. If currently employed, offer to take on new and different responsibilities. Get exposure to as many different segments within the function aspossible. Learn what you like, what you don't like, your strengths and potential development areas.
  • Before each interview, research general company information and recent announcements, and be ready to ask questions. Employers expect your professional experience to be limited, so highlight past work experiences thatshowcase your work ethic and dedication. People with a positive, "get it done" approach are always valued.
  • Because our world of employment is changing rapidly, with jobs being outsourced to India, it's imperative to find out if your dream career is going to be here in the next few years. Look for trends in outsourcing.
  • As you're entering the IT workforce for the first time, learn your trade. Become the technical expert in an area of interest and excel. This doesn't mean keeping your head down just to study the printed circuit-board layout. Get out to trade shows and professional associations and start interacting with customers, vendors andcompetitors. You're setting up your reputation and knowledge base for the long term.
  • Grow your state-of-the-art technical skills. J2EE, .Net, the leading portals and business
    intelligence/analytics skills are hot. Keep moving quickly to what's hot.