So you've just started out on your long and winding (and exciting) career path as an IT Professional.
Congratulations, we're here to help!
Everyone knows the job landscape has changed radically over the last 30 years or more, with technology infiltrating every profession, and in many case replacing tasks once performed by workers.
Combine this with an expectation that someone now starting the job hunt may have 6 or more careers in their working life, and we find mapping a career path more challenging than ever.
But the best place to start is always at the beginning, and so that shall be the focus of our blog today. People with many years of relevant experience usually find it easier to locate new work, but for those starting out or re-entering the workforce it can be much harder.
You won't necessarily have an extensive work history to display – but there are many other aspects of your life and person which when effectively presented can demonstrate what a great employee you will be!
The famous phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan in the 60's tells us that you can't separate the message from the medium in which it is delivered – will you present the same information the same way in your CV as LinkedIn? Or Facebook – or even Twitter? The medium influences how your message is received, so tailor it for each medium.
Despite increased use of social media as career tools, the humble CV remains the most important instrument in determining if you will get that all important interview.
So you don't have much work history, but what will attract potential employers? Descriptions of study and life experiences that can be easily translated to work skills are important. A non-exhaustive list:
Here we begin to think more about the medium. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so it is appropriate to replicate much of your CV in your LI profile. In particular, make sure that the Summary at the top is not just a recitation of your skills and what you've done – make it a story about you, portraying to readers the passions and goals you have for your career.
The main area that your LinkedIn profile may differ from your CV is in its specificity, or otherwise – what do you put there if you have multiple CVs, targeting different roles? It depends on your target audience, but when starting out its best to align it with your main career goals.
Be active in groups and discussion related to your industry – as with your CV, this will help communicate your passion and interests to prospective employers.
It's beyond the scope of this blog and probably unnecessary to treat every form of other social media separately, but there are certain points worth making.
For all social media, you must consider your interaction with each medium as intrinsic to your profile – everything you post, like, share or reply to is on display, so ensure that it is appropriate and consistent with your persona.
And don't forget to proofread before posting!! Correct grammar (not grandma) and spelling are not always highly valued in the online world, but will be noted by employers.
In conclusion, your first job will usually be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome and the most important step in your career. Give yourself the best chance of getting that "dream" first role by telling the world about your passions, ambitions and values, and how you will help bring success to your new employer.
Feedback welcome! For those starting out or re-entering the workforce, please share your experiences...
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