Seven Ways to Snag Your First Tech Job in Today's Economy

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Good news for this year’s crop of tech grads looking for work: According to NACE's Job Outlook 2013 survey, employers expect to hire 13 percent more new college grads from the Class of 2013 than they did in 2012.


Career adviser and bestselling career author Vicky Oliver says having this “wind at their back” is a great advantage for young job seekers. But there are a few basic strategies that will improve your odds even more. These include:


1. Don't dismiss old-fashioned networking.

Create a "family tree" of contacts. Include close contacts and contacts of theirs as well. Craft a "wish list" of every company where you'd love to work and reach out to any contacts who work there. Ask for informational interviews. These should take just fifteen minutes but can lead to a job.


2. Brush up your online profile.

Create a professional looking, well-written social network profile on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Let everyone know what types of jobs you’re looking for. “Start following the companies that interest you on LinkedIn and Twitter," says Oliver. "Join the conversation. If you read a post you like, add to it. If you see a tweet you like, re-tweeet it. Or better yet, blog about aspects of the tech sector that appeal to you, and use your twitter feed to direct folks to your blog,” adds Oliver. “Become a thought leader in your field before you ever get a job. You may find that prospects court you for a job instead of the other way around.”


3. Never eat lunch alone.

Schedule face time with professors, alumni and industry contacts you may have met at tech seminars, conferences and conventions. Treat them to coffee or breakfast. Create some business cards and pass them out. Talk about your tech career goals.


4. Wow them with the written word.

Your resume should tell an employer who you are in 30 seconds. So clearly state your career objective at the top--tailored specifically for the job and employer. Include only the most important, relevant highlights from school projects and past jobs on a single page. Make it tight, clean and error free with ample white space to encourage reading.


5. Look the part.

Match your image to the employer’s corporate culture. Most employer websites have photos of engineers working in labs, in meetings and working in the field. Look the part--only better. Do a toe-to-top-of-head assessment in front of the mirror.


 6. Be prepared for tough or tricky questions.

"Why should I hire you?" "What do you bring to the table?" "How do I know you won't leave for grad school in two years?" Employers may throw you trick questions to test your ethics, common sense and industry knowledge. Practice with a job-hunting buddy. If you get tongue-tied, buy some time with, "That's an interesting question."


7. Mind your manners.

Avoid street slang, leave your mobile device at home, and always thank your interviewer for taking the time to chat with you. Send a follow-up email reminding the interviewer of one or two highlights from the interview.


It’s still going to be tough to land a tech job in this economy. The competition will be fierce. But the “toolkit” of job strategies mentioned above should give you an edge.


Image courtesy of stockimages/


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