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How the digital age impacts your IT job search

January 21, 2014

The market is favorable for IT careers, but the job search process can still be a bit of a fine art. The perfect fit for you might require a specific focus or location, and it can be difficult to track down the best opportunities while managing application deadlines. Once you find openings, you have to submit a competitive application to land the interview. Internet job boards and other technological resources can help the process along, but the digital age also changes the rules of the game. Here are a few ways to update your strategy.

Go beyond the big search sites
According to Forbes magazine, job coaches recommend spending only 10 percent of your time on job search sites like and These sites are a good place to start, but it's easy to spend hours flipping through results without actually applying for any jobs. Instead, your search might be more efficient if you turn to niche sites, like search forums specifically devoted to IT jobs. You can also sign up for email alerts to receive notifications when new jobs are available, Forbes suggested.

Tailor your resume for automated resume readers
Some businesses handle large volumes of applications by using tracking software to sort and reject resumes. According to Business Insider, 95 percent of large companies and 50 percent of mid-sized companies use tracking systems.

"Companies use the software in place of human judgment and the programs reject good candidates," Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania, told Next Avenue. "If you're in your 50s or 60s, you've had a lot of work experience and your resume needs to be specific about it or the software won't know."

Understanding how these application readers work can help you to make sure your resume isn't unnecessarily rejected. They search through your document and analyze keywords, dates, titles and other information to screen candidates. Therefore, you should include keywords from the job description, use web-standard fonts, and avoid fancy formatting, tables, charts and headers, Business Insider advised.

Although PDFs seem more professional than Word documents, they are not readable by some tracking software, so you should submit text files instead. Cappelli also recommended including your postal address, not just your email, because many systems file by your mailing address. If you don't include it, he told Next Avenue, you might not be considered at all.

Be discoverable in Big Data analytics
Recruiters are beginning to make use of Big Data collected through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Google Plus to find talent, Michael Morell, founding partner of Riviera Partners, wrote for To make sure you have the best chance of being found, consider how recruiters will use technology to comb through this information. Morell said that systems such as Hadoop collect large amounts of data, and recruiters are learning to weigh data points to find good fits. 

Therefore, consider updating your Web presence with employment history, interests, skills and posts that show you're knowledgeable about your industry. Think about the keywords that information technology companies might use to try to find people for their positions.

Go offline, too
The digital age offers outstanding tools for finding IT jobs and applying to positions. However, there are important steps you can take offline, as well. Networking is crucial in job searches. You can contact people online, of course, but it's also a smart move to pick up the phone or arrange a meeting with a networking contact. Personal connections can open many doors, and a phone call can demonstrate how serious you are about your career. 

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