It’s normal to feel stress and anxiety during a job search. After all, your livelihood depends on your ability to find a job and maintain steady employment. So, as a job candidate, you absolutely owe it to yourself to market your skills and abilities in the best way possible. Though it may be true that the current demand for top tech talent is far outpacing the supply (what’s referred to as the IT skills gap) employers aren’t settling for just any warm body. They’re still on the lookout for qualified job candidates. In this blog post, we’ll take you through what needs to be done in order to market yourself as a top tech candidate and gain an employer’s attention. From updating LinkedIn profiles to blogging and attending meetups, here are the best tools and tactics for making your skills and ambitions known.
Maintain an Active LinkedIn Profile
The power of LinkedIn cannot be overstated. The popular professional networking site, as of December 2018, boasts over 590 million users! Not only that, it has over 15 million active job listings (all LinkedIn statistics are courtesy of Omnicore). This means employers and recruiters alike are turning to the platform to find top available talent. If you’re not keeping your profile active and up-to-date, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
Not only does the platform offer you an area to share your professional resume and additional qualifications, but it also offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. While your profile paints an accurate depiction of your professional work history, your continued activity and presence on LinkedIn reinforces the merits of your background and provides insights about where you’re trending. For example, if you’ve obtained a professional certification or have gained additional knowledge through coursework or personal research, you can share that experience through commentary via posts on your profile and through interest groups that you’ve joined.
Of course, the real power of LinkedIn is through the build-up of your professional network – the original objective of the platform. The more connections you make, the more likely you are to discover relevant opportunities and/or come into contact with decision makers.
For more information on how to leverage LinkedIn, consult our previous blog post, Optimize Your Marketability Using LinkedIn.
Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
Becoming a subject matter expert in your chosen field is an excellent way to separate yourself from the crowd (obviously). However, how do you accomplish such a feat and where do you go to showcase it? For starters, becoming certified and earning a degree in your field is a must. From there, years of devoted practice in your chosen field is a requirement. You don’t become an expert, or become known as one, without putting in the work.
But this post is about how to market yourself so that you can obtain that experience. For that, once again, we can turn to LinkedIn. Share thoughtful articles, join professional groups, and contribute to conversations that are within your area of expertise. Despite the amount of users on the site, only a mere fraction of them – 3 million users or less than 1% – are sharing content weekly. Take advantage of that and establish your presence. It won’t go unnoticed.
Beyond LinkedIn, however, you can also develop a website. Having an online portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills. For developers, there are sites such as Dunked that will allow you to showcase your apps and/or programs and allow you to produce screenshots of your work while sharing information about the development process.
For those who don’t have apps and/or programs to showcase, start a blog. Using sites such as WordPress or Squarespace can quickly and cheaply give yourself an online platform to express your opinions and position yourself as an expert in your field. These can prove to be key differentiators.
Of course, not all marketing can or should be done from behind a computer screen. In order to effectively establish a presence as a top tech candidate you need to put yourself out there – in a physical sense. For starters, attending tech conferences and events is a great way to expand your knowledge base, learn from others, and meet employers and other key decision makers.
Another great way to establish your presence in your field is to join local user’s groups. One such way to find them is through Meetup. Meetup is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests – such as technology (or any specific specialty within it). There you can meet other technologists and then share ideas, advice, and experiences with them to improve your own skills. It’s also another great way to grow your professional network.
In closing, recruiters and hiring managers have an easier time finding and hiring a candidate that has effectively marketed their skills on and offline. By performing the tasks listed above, especially in concert, you will be doing just that.