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Toni Bowers

Toni\'s Tech Careers Blog

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Companies: Pay heed to complaints about your hiring process

Thursday May 22, 2014
I think that most companies are coming around to see how social media can benefit their brands. You constantly see companies asking you to Like them on Facebook, etc. And social media experts are being hired and consulted with all the time. Why, then, don't these same companies look deeper and realize that while positive message on social media can help them, negative ones can harm? That's the case with companies who have lousy hiring techniques--whether it be convoluted HR apps or the lack of response to prospective employees. People will talk about their bad experiences and, with social media, those messages are loud and widespread. Here's a blog that talks about the automated aspects of the hiring process, like resume scanning software, and how it may do more harm than good. And here's one about the general bad practices of some companies, and one company whose hiring practices are excellent. Check them out and let me know how you feel about HR in general.

Can you be too old for IT?

Tuesday May 20, 2014
That's a horrible thought, isn't it? To think that if you devote your life to a tech career that one day someone may look at you and think that they could get someone to do what you do and a far lower salary? Unfortunately, that's an occurrence that's not out of the ordinary in the IT world. Tech changes so rapidly that some companies have the mindset that only up-and-coming tech pros are the only ones who have knowledge and enthusiasm for up-and-coming technology. Of course, that's not true but you have to fight the impression. In this blog, I talk about some things you can do to remain relevant in a field that is all about the next new thing.

How do you get your name in the hands of the right people?

Wednesday May 14, 2014
Unfortunately, a lot of people are out of work. The good news about being in IT is that your skills are in demand. It's just a matter of matching you up with the right company, which can sometimes be a problem if you're dealing with the HR department instead of your hiring manager. Here's a piece about the HR department and how, even though it makes use of technology to do its job, that very technology may have caused great candidates to be overlooked. So if you can't trust HR, then what can you do? Get the word out on yourself by writing a tech blog. Not only does it show a potential employer that you have a passion for IT but it can set you up as an IT influencer and that's something every company wants.

Are you ready for the IT interview?

Tuesday April 29, 2014
While the generic interviewing advice out there is good to keep in mind when you approach an interview for an IT position, there are some subtle differences to keep in mind. For one, even though IT pros are frequently known to dress casually in their work, don't take that to mean that you can show up at an interview in Bermuda shorts. Also, the old stand-by questions about strengths and weaknesses, and how you solved a problem, take on a deeper meaning in tech. You have to be detailed in your answer and you have to emphasize how communication played an important part. For other tips on acing the tech interview, check out this piece.

There's more to career than finding a job

Sunday April 27, 2014
I've talked a lot about what you can do to increase your chances of finding a job. But how to cope and thrive in a job once you have it is very important. For one thing, the steps you take when you're the new person in a company can affect the way you're looked at thereafter. So it's important that you take it easy going in and follow some of these tips. You also may be someone who is tasked with managing a tech team. You know that IT pros take a little extra care and feeding, as they say, to remain motivated. There's a great demand out there for IT pros and you should do everything you can as a manager to keep the members of your team happy so they don't go elsewhere. Here are some tips for how to motivate your team.

Getting off on the right foot in a new job

Thursday April 24, 2014
Don't ever underestimate the power of the first impression. In fact, the site PsychCentral says: New research suggests that first impressions are so powerful that they are more important than fact. In fact, the less time we have to make our judgments, the more likely we are to go with our gut, even over fact. This is why, if you want to start off on the right foot at your new job, you have to be careful and not make some of the most common mistakes discussed here. The best thing to do is to lie low and get a feel for your surroundings before you "make your mark."

Software engineers have a rosy future

Monday April 21, 2014
According to all reports, software engineering is the IT field to be in. Not only does the Bureau of Labor Statistics claim that it's the fastest growing job--growing 30% in the next ten years, but the salary is great. Take a look at this article for the low-down on software development. If you prefer to take this or another IT route but just don't know the best options for finding a job in your field, try new HR services that claim to be "matchmakers" for employers and job candidates. These new headhunter firms claim to have more sophisticated algorithms for mapping the best candidates to the jobs best suited for them.

For engineers, the job hunting process has become more complicated

Tuesday April 15, 2014
It might be good news for a lot of IT pros. Companies are no longer depending so heavily on the job interview. That's good news for many IT pros because they would rather be judged on their skills and knowledge than on a 30-minute discussion with a hiring manager. Many companies are using recruiting firms that use proprietary software to match them with the best job candidates. In this piece, you'll read about three such places and why they think their methods save a lot of trouble and money in the job/candidate process. Still, it takes some effort to make sure your data -- that is, your skill set -- is available enough that the software can find it.

Job search tips for the serious IT pro

Monday April 7, 2014
The job outlook for IT pros is looking good. I have some recommendations for making your job search a successful one. First, if you think you'd like to work for a top tech company--and who wouldn't?--here are a list of some of the best and some tips for how to get your foot in the door. A couple of the hottest fields in IT now are Security (as usual) and big data. Here's why security is still a major area. And if you think you might make the move into big data where opportunity grows every day, you might be surprised at just how big data is used in almost every industry.

Keep those resume holes plugged while looking for a job

Monday March 3, 2014
Few people will deny that looking for a job is the hardest job of all. Not only do you have to look for openings, but you have to manage your connections and make sure your resume is razor sharp. Unfortunately, if your job search leads to a significant (more than two months) lapse in work history, you have to manage the perception that that may cause. Particularly in IT, such a lapse can make it look like your skills are gathering dust. Luckily, there are a few things you can do in the meantime. You can turn to temporary work or do contract work, as described in this article. You can also volunteer your skills. You'll find that you fill up those holes in your resume but you may also gain new skills along the way.

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