Five job-hunting tips for IT professionals

The candidate market can seem saturated at the moment with more talented candidates looking for work than ever before, and seemingly fewer jobs available than before. Whilst times are undoubtedly difficult, the teams at Whitehall are definitely seeing more businesses hiring again, and projects that were previously put on hold are now back on track.

With this in mind, it’s important to give yourself an edge that enables you to apply for roles as soon as they come available and stand out from the crowd.

Don’t rely on job boards alone

Job boards and search engines are an obvious and essential tool when seeking a new role but they aren’t the only place you should look. With thousands of jobs being posted online every day, it’s easy to become lost in a sea of jobs not suited to you or spend time time looking at the same jobs over and over again. This can become frustrating and time consuming.

Focus your efforts by seeking out specialists that are more likely to have roles that suit you. As well as checking roles from specialists, you need to ensure your details are registered with them. Recruitment consultants have large networks of candidate contacts and you need to make sure you are on their radar. If we have roles in your area of interest, be sure to register with us so our consultants have easy access to your details, so you are appearing in their searches, and be sure to set up job alerts to hear about the latest roles via email. We also have an app so you can be directly notified of suitable roles according to your preferences.

If there are specific companies you have an interest in working with, follow the company on LinkedIn, and connect with some relevant personnel. Many companies will advertise roles via their social media platforms before posting on numerous job sites so it can be a good way of seeing roles before the crowds.

Apply quickly

With the number of applicants for roles at high levels, make sure you do everything you can to have your application viewed and considered for the roles you apply for. Applying quickly can help you to stand out. As previously mentioned, setting up alerts will help you to see roles as soon as they become available. If you see a role that you like, apply as soon as possible. Don’t wait until an advertised deadline or until the weekend, you’ll be at the back of the queue. With the number of applicants applying for roles, some clients may even close the job early if they receive enough outstanding applications for consideration. Get yours in as soon as possible to ensure you have a better chance at being considered early. It isn’t unusual for an agency to receive 200+ applications for some roles so do everything you can to be one of the first they read.

Provide a strong covering letter

A CV helps a recruiter and business understand your skills and work experience but a strong covering letter/statement can help them to understand why you would be a great candidate for a role. A covering letter should not be a repeat of your CV, nor should it be a list of your hobbies and interests. A good cover letter shows that you are serious about your application and understand the role well. Highlight elements of the job description and match aspects of your CV to these. Demonstrate your understanding of the business and why you wish to work for this company specifically. A good, tailored covering statement can help to put across your skills, understanding of the role, and personality prior to an initial interview.

Keep track of your applications

It’s easy to find yourself applying for numerous roles and sometimes you may not hear back from them for a few weeks. By then, it’s likely you will have forgotten elements of the job description and what interested you about the role. Create a file and note down the job descriptions of the roles you apply for. This will help you to keep track of the roles and enable you to quickly retrieve information about the role when a recruiter calls you to discuss the role. Having the job information to hand to discuss straight away helps you to come across as organised, professional, and focused on the opportunity at hand. Recruiters put through the best candidates to their clients, so if you’re not clear on the role, or are vague on why you are a great match, it’s unlikely your application will proceed further.

Stay positive

There’s no doubt that the candidate market is very competitive at the moment. Following all of these suggestions doesn’t guarantee your next application will be successful.  It’s important to try to remain positive when you receive knock backs, keep your persistence up, and seek out new opportunities to apply for. If you are unsuccessful in an application, where possible try to obtain as much feedback from the client or recruiter as possible, as this might help you to refine your future applications. Recruiters and clients might not always be able to give solid feedback (depending on how far you made it through the process) but feedback could highlight skills or experience that you did not promote enough on your CV. Learning this will help you improve your CV, cover letter and how you present yourself in conversations. Staying positive will not only help your mental health, it will also come across well in applications and eventual interviews.