Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Job Hunting in IT

1. Prepare your CV and covering letter
  • Write your CV and get a professional friend or previous colleague to provide you feedback for improvement
  • Write a general Covering Letter

2. Find an appropriate job advert

  • Find a relevant job advert, know about the advertiser
  • If you can find the final Company from yellowpages for instance, that's great.

3. Apply

  • Apply for the job only by sending an email to the advertiser expressing your interest in the role - don't click the "Apply" button.
  • Suggestion: leave at least half an hour, then call them to check whether they have received your application and what they think (Don't wait until they call you, be proactive)
  • Get the name of the Company, Location and Job Description - it's possible that another agency has sent your application to them, so you need to avoid these jobs. Agencies are responsible to give you these details before sending your application to the client.
  • After reading the JD, confirm with the agent to send your application to the client.
  • If the agent asks you to give them the name of the Companies you have sent your application to, say that it's confidential. Aks them to give you the name of the company they want to send your application to emphasizing that it will remain confidential.
  • Try your best not to let agents send your application to the same client more than once because it will ruin all your applications with that client.
  • Record the important parts of your conversation with the agent, location, company ... in an excel file for further refer.
  • It's good sometimes to ask from the advertiser if they have any useful feedback about your CV to optimize it.
  • Create an excel file and put all the information you have so far got about agents, clients and jobs there. This is an excellent idea and plays an important role to manage your contacts and remembering the history of your calls.

4. Interview

  • Agency will contact you and arrange an interview date with you
  • Before the interview, read about Company, prepare questions you want to ask them, anticipate the Company's questions and practice them
  • Dress professional and attend the interview in advance
  • Sometimes more than 1 person interview you, so be prepared for that
  • Negotiate the role and be confident at all times
  • Be honest but professional

5. Job Offer

The client will contact you and give you a job offer, most often it's a bit less than what you initially asked because they want to feel that they have won the negotiation so if your bottomline is £50k, say £55k. Then negotiate you might get what you have negotiated.

Where to find an IT Job?
1) Your personal and professional network such as

  • Previous colleagues
  • Your professional contacts e.g. from LinkedIn
  • From communities you are member of e.g. http://www.asp.net/

I had a friend who had 13 years of working experience and he said he has always got his jobs through word of mouth and never used any agency, so you can imagine how powerful this method is.

2) It's good to have a register containing list of IT Companies, then to send them an email with your CV and Covering Letter e.g. to ThoughtWorks

This way is better than using job adverts and agencies since Companies themselves prefer to round the agencies because they are costly, but obviously you need to have proper contacts.

I suggest using YellowPages...

3) Online Job Adverts

One good advice is to stick with an agent and try to create rapport. Remember their name. Write a diary of your conversations with them.

The other thing to remember is that untimately Companies are important although through Agencies.

How long does it take?

It depends on many factor including

  • How well your CV is written
  • How well your Covering Letter is written
  • How well you can manage the interviews and create rapports
  • Economic climate
  • Need of your skills
  • And above all LUCK!
But normally the process from writting your CV to starting a job takes about a week to 4 months depending on the situation and how quickly you can learn from your mistakes.

General tips:


  • Be proactive is very very important and it's often the main factor that determines you get your next job in 6 months or 3 weeks!
  • Be self-confident
  • Be unafraid of failure
  • Develop good communication skills
  • Be autodidact and learn from your mistakes

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