4 tips to get ahead in the IT industry

15 December 2014

For seasoned IT veterans and entry-level personnel alike, improving their ability to acquire high-paying, challenging positions isn't the easiest thing in the world.

While there's certainly a shortage of IT talent throughout North America, that doesn't mean organizations are going to settle for mediocre employees. In this blog, we'll outline several tactics and approaches that will improve your credibility as a valuable worker. 

1. Let your commitment and investment show 
This is where your LinkedIn profile comes into play. Suppose you didn't work between July 2011 and February 2012, signifying a key gap in your career. To employers, a blank space could signal a lack of initiative, even if you were taking measures to advance your knowledge of IT.

So, if you were spending six months enhancing your knowledge about C++, taking SQL Server 2014 courses or giving yourself a crash course on big data architectures, let the job market know. Don't be embarrassed about taking time off to educate yourself – it shows commitment. 

 2. Start a blog 
InformationWeek contributor Jeff Bertolucci maintained that blogging is a fantastic way for IT professionals to develop their personal brands. Not a writer, you ask? Take a few classes or self-teaching courses to revamp your writing skills. We know you have something to say about the technology you work with, or even the processes you encounter on a day-to-day basis, so let employers what you think.

Most importantly, blogging provides you with an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field, whether it be virtualization, Cisco equipment or software development. 

3. Present yourself as a problem solver 
Potential employers are likely aware of the day-to-day responsibilities you had as a database administrator, systems manager or help desk professional. CIO.com contributor Sharon Florentine recommended personnel do away with the "laundry list" of tasks they performed in previous positions. Instead, she advised them to describe instances in which they resolved specific problems that demanded a lot from them. 

Issues are going to arise no matter what facet of IT you specialize in. Managers are well aware of this fact, and they want to hire employees who have the confidence required to navigate vexing situations with ease. 

4. Be honest, both on and off paper 
There's no reason to sell yourself short, but being too laudatory regarding your achievements can certainly hold you back. Before an interview, devise a list of weaknesses you possess – you're going to be asked what they are. If you reply with a "I'm sorry, I can't think of anything," that's just as bad as saying "I don't have any."

Maybe you don't do well with following protocols or perhaps you prefer working alone rather than with a team. After informing a potential employer of this issue, explain why. Even if you're not comfortable with a certain part of your job (disaster recovery or security, for example), divulging this fact isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. If anything, expressing a desire to learn about a technology is a desirable quality in a worker. 

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