“How do I make myself more marketable in a job market where the amount of qualified candidates outweighs the number of available jobs?”
This is a common question I am asked by Information Technology professionals seeking employment almost every day. Although there are numerous ways to become more marketable and stand out in a pile of applicants, obtaining more IT skills is top on my list of recommendations. Many companies have positions available that are requiring multiple IT skills, and increasing your technical skills now will put you in a better position to secure new employment in the future.
If you are currently employed, ask your supervisor for increased responsibilities. Inquire about any upcoming projects, or projects that have been delayed due to funding or resources. It may require additional work hours with no compensation, but if it allows you to obtain more IT skills, or utilize technical skills that you don’t use very often, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Nothing in the pipeline at work for you? Don’t stop there! Brainstorm and approach your manager about some best practices in your department. Making suggestions on ways to improve functionality of your systems/software and volunteering to research other products, gives you the opportunity to explore new IT skills. This proactive approach may be what your manager needs to see to give you work outside of your current skill set. Researching other software/technologies broadens your knowledge and could even lead to changes in your department; and who better than you to implement these changes? Examining other IT technologies gives you the advantage to compare your current skills against other skill sets. Now-a-days, being well-versed is almost required in Information Technology, and it’s a good idea to keep yourself current.
More obvious ways to obtain additional IT skills include certifications and degrees. Employers in today’s marketplace, are placing a higher emphasis on a college degree. There are many online offerings at certified universities that may fit into your lifestyle rather than attending classes in person. Already have your Bachelor’s degree? Consider continuing towards a Master’s degree, especially if your career is moving toward more senior level roles or management. A Master’s degree, although not always required, is often preferred for higher level permanent positions. This is another example of a way employers are qualifying candidates today.
Don’t have the time for taking multiple courses towards a degree? Consider acquiring certifications that include both your current technical skills and higher versions of the software or programming languages you have, along with similar skill sets that will work to enhance your IT skills. It may seem tempting to take courses that stray from your current skills, but without practical work experience, some employers may not consider the candidate. This is not always the case, but in order to get the best return on your investment, try to enhance on your current IT skills.
Another certification request that I see often as a recruiter, is for a Project Management Professional. Obtaining a certificate does not guarantee getting a job, but it could put you on the short list for an interview! If you have some on-the-job project management experience and are looking to continue your career in this field, consider starting the path toward this certificate.
As a technical recruiter, I am constantly seeing new requests for different technologies, certifications and skill sets. Obtaining more IT skills is a definite advantage in today’s job market and will only help you stand out from the rest of the resume pile.
Are there any IT skills that you can think of that would enhance your marketability?
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