One of the draws of working in the IT field is how concrete the skills often are and how they can easily translate from one position to the next. This advantage of IT, however, can also be a significant downfall for applicants looking for new jobs. Why? That same skillset that every good IT professional needs to have is, well, the same skillset that every good IT professional has. That means that when you go in for an interview, your personality and non-IT skills are often what distinguishes you from your competition.
On your next job interview, make sure to highlight the following aspects of your experience to set you apart from the crowd. After you are done reading, don’t forget to take a look at this list of online calculators to help you figure out where you stand and what your requirements should look like.
Leadership, Management and Teamwork
IT professionals have a tendency to get lumped into the category of “socially awkward computer nerds” who typically don’t work well with others, which makes it extra important to convey the fact that you’re a team player who can take the lead on projects when necessary. Be sure to focus on previous experience that has you working in tandem with others to get a job done and highlight any management experience that you might have, too. You might even ask about what leadership opportunities might emerge for you if you are hired into the position at hand.
Creativity and Innovation
Another assumption about IT is that it’s all very clear-cut – just 1s, 0s, and wires. The thing is, though, the tech world is changing rapidly and innovation is key right now. New mobile and cloud technology is taking over and many businesses want to know that you can roll with the changes and even drive some of them yourself. Development is also one of the top job skills that employers are seeking for in IT professionals right now, so it’s key to focus on how you’ve shown initiative, jump-started projects, and gotten creative in the past.
Speaking of recent pushes in IT hiring, more and more, companies are looking for professionals who can handle and analyze big data. This means that they’re looking for IT professionals who have a strong grasp of how analytics can affect businesses, sales and marketing. If you can work with big data conceptually, on top of just crunching the numbers and running programs, you’ll be a step above the rest when it comes time to make the final cut.
Teaching and Customer Service
Back to the “works well with others” point – IT professionals are commonly the ones to train their coworkers on new and improved technology, as well as to help them solve problems when things go wrong. If you have any experience teaching or doing community service, this is the area in which you’ll want to show that off. Illustrate that you have experience explaining topics and processes and that you have the patience to help others learn and problem solve.