‘Ask the IT recruiter’ #recruitment gold ‘Q. I know someone trying to break into IT’

Full question was…

I know someone who is looking for a ‘break’ into IT… he has spent the last 6 odd years working in project management but his passion is in the IT industry. Recently he took voluntary redundancy from his position at XXX and has done some Microsoft related training. He is extremely bright, he is a hard-worker, he is educated to degree level and has some basic IT related qualifications (as well as holding PRINCE2 accreditation) but he is not getting any replies whatsoever when applying for IT jobs.

Well – tough tough question!

Unfortunately I don’t have a magic bullet answer but here’s my best/real world attempt:

– Get your CV/online presence keyworded up so you get more eyeballs.

– ‘Business proof your CV’, i.e. show how skills/duties have contributed to your employer(s). Remember organisations are interested in making money, saving money or both. Appeal to that!

– You might not like this answer – don’t rely on just agents to get your first job in IT. Agents are paid fees to find rare skills, very very rarely will an employer pay a fee for a candidate of limited experience/skill.

– Make direct approaches to employers – don’t just send your CV in blindly & wait for them to call you. Call and ask for the most appropriate person to send your CV. Make direct calls to them – sell yourself – sell as ‘high & wide’ as possible. Start with the board/directors and go down. Get your elevated pitch ready!

– Think outside the box – e.g. move geographic areas or even abroad.

– Get a temp job in a target company close to the job function area you want to get into, e.g. in this case an Admin role in a Project Management Office. Recent Agency Worker legislation says that you should have access to internal job vacancy.

– Read local/national/industry relevant press. Use any positive business news as an angle for your direct approaches, e.g. XYZ company opens new distribution centre, launches new product, hires new Director etc.

– Never ever ever give up – when walking through hell keep on walking. Unfortunately no one is going to give you that first role on a plate. There’s someone I know who graduated spent a while on the dole and got his career going by making a direct call to a company running a ‘Gradstart’ employment scheme, (12 month paid employment with a company). He pitched himself into the person running the scheme who said I’m sorry but we’ve had over 500 applications. This guy I know replied ‘yeah that’s great but how many of them are ringing you right now asking how to get a place’. That one sentence stuck in the mind of the person running the scheme and fortunately he created another position.

That person making the call was called Neil Mills.

Neil – MillsHill – 01803 321233



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