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It's show, not tell, when applying for IT jobs

December 03, 2013

For technologically savvy individuals, the market is a friendly place, with IT jobs in cloud computing and data processing powering much of the improvement in the employment rate. However, that doesn't mean winning a coveted position on a company's IT network services team is simple or guaranteed.

Companies want to see an applicant's skills   
In many interviews, it's customary for job seekers to be called in merely to answer a stock list of questions. However, businesses looking to hire IT talent increasingly want to be shown why they should choose a specific applicant rather than listen to him or her ramble through a laundry list of skills in which he or she is particularly well-versed, InfoWorld asserted.

Demonstrating IT skills to potential employers can be difficult, and it may require you to go out on a limb. InfoWorld recounted the story of one applicant who had run into difficulties landing an IT job—either the position had already been filled, the individual was overqualified, or the firm was hiring internally. As a result, the person decided to take a risk, walking into a PC vendor/service outlet and proposing to the owner that if he or she could fix a machine in the back, the company would hire him or her on the spot.

"The owner was amused, but took me seriously and said they'd been having trouble with one machine in particular," the applicant explained to InfoWorld. "I looked it over, recognized the problem as an obscure issue I'd seen years before, and replaced one part."

In the end, the applicant's gumption was rewarded, and the owner created a job position: senior technician and network technician.

Conversely, while companies will often require job seekers to take an aptitude test, it may only be the first step. Often, the next stage will be a practical test, during which a dash of confidence from the candidate can help in catching firms' eyes.

These sorts of skills tests are standard for interviews in this sector, giving employers a better idea of what applicants can actually do. "This [is] a classic example of 'show me what you can do,' because some of the questions on the test covered obscure, rarely encountered problems," InfoWorld explained. "It wasn't designed to see who was or wasn't capable of working there, but to give the owner an understanding of the technical skill level of the applicant."

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