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4 Tips for Securing IT Jobs

Finding and keeping a job can be a difficult thing. Not only can positions often be scarce in certain fields, but even established employees can find their skill sets suddenly obsolete if they are not paying attention – something that can ultimately lead to permanent dismissal. All of this can be especially true in the IT world, where uncertainty has been bred by the rapid pace at which technology is evolving.

But even with so much seemingly up in the air, there is little to fear in terms of job availability in the tech world.

“[T]he unemployment rate [for IT] dropped from 5.8 percent in July of 2013 to 4.5 percent in July, 2014,” wrote ZDNet contributor Mary Shacklett. “Also in July of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 11,100 IT jobs had been added nationwide, with computer systems design, management and technical consulting, telecommunications and data processing, and hosting and related services accounting for most of that growth.”

There are certain steps that people can take to make sure that they are prepared to find work or retain their existing jobs. Here are some tips for anyone trying to increase their viability as a candidate for employment:

1) Network
Sometimes it helps to have a connection at a business where one is hoping to be employed. In the age of social networking, it’s easy for anyone to feel like they have a lot of contacts, but it takes a little more work than just accepting a friend request to get an “in” at an appealing company.

The initial connection is just the first step. According to TechRepublic contributor Erin Carlson, doing things like following up and interacting both online and in real life can make all the difference when trying to court favor in a potential business relationship.

Additionally, it helps when things work both ways. Being able to present a reason for a contact to value your information – specific training, connections with another organization, etc. – goes a long way.

2) Be creative
Without going too over the top, it can help to find ways to stand out from other applicants or existing staffers. Little ways to illustrate proficiency with a select skill set can be incredibly powerful, according to Forbes contributor Kathryn Dill. It is important to remember, however, that having the credentials and prowess to back it all up will be the key to not falling flat on the first day. The gesture should never overshadow the qualifications themselves.

“When considering making a standout statement about yourself, it’s essential to first evaluate whether you have the skills and qualifications for the job at hand, as well as the company’s culture and atmosphere,” Dill wrote. “Are you definitely great fit, and does the company seem to value creativity and individual expression? If not, best to continue the search, and avoid communication that falls outside the company’s stated parameters.”

3) Become an ‘IT generalist’
Many smaller organizations do not required a specialization in a specific area. Rather, they need someone who can take on a little bit of everything in a position that Shacklett refers to as an “IT generalist.” This brand of staff member will need to be a driven self-starter who feels comfortable setting the pace for subsequent IT workers down the line.

4) Seek out further training
Throughout the tips mentioned above, there has been one common thread – learning and certification. Those who wish to make themselves appealing to both their current and future employers need to make sure they have basic computer training, at the very least. The more involved a worker is with IT directly, the wider the variety of training he or she will need to be appealing to enterprises.

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