The tech industry is a wide ocean of possibilities. It’s a great first or second career because there are just so many opportunities and some are available even without a college degree.
But to get an information technology job, you do have to have skills, both technical skills and people skills. So while you are looking for a job, be sure to invest in yourself to make yourself as valuable as possible to the companies you want to work for.
Work on Your Tech Skills
If you already have certifications and/or a degree in an IT-related major, that is a big head start. But employers also want people with experience. So start working on practical projects for yourself or others to improve the skills you do have. And consider getting more certifications or other hard skills that may help you land the job you really want.
Another option is to start at an entry-level job in something that isn’t your passion but that could be a stepping stone. Use this position to build your skillset and knowledge while gaining experience to make you a valuable prospect for the job you most desire in the future.
Easy Entry-Level Jobs If You Have No Tech Experience
If you don’t have many technology-related skills and you aren’t in a tech-related job, do everything you can at your current job to invest in your tech skills now. Take classes and get certifications on the side in your spare time. Practice your new skills by working on projects related to the jobs you are most interested in.
Becoming a software developer is one of the easiest tech jobs to prepare for if you don’t have training or experience and it’s one of the best paying jobs in technology that doesn’t require a degree. If you become proficient in development languages and have a great portfolio, you can probably find a great career opportunity.
Or consider going into tech support (computer user support specialist). You don’t have to have a specific college degree. All you need is an IT certification. You can get many of these online. Or you could choose to go to a local technical college.
Focus on Soft Skills Training
Hone your speaking abilities and writing skills by watching online videos or taking online courses and practicing. Seek to become humble and teachable. Study how to be a team player. Almost everything in tech requires working well with other people. Study your personality type and how to best communicate with other people of different backgrounds and personalities. Develop a positive, optimistic outlook on life and a healthy, professional sense of humor.
Read a book or watch online videos about how to use your influence to build up your team members and help improve productivity and efficiency. Then practice on some group projects working with other people and practicing your new skills.
Beef up your emotional IQ by improving your compassion, empathy, and friendliness. Learn about the concepts of respect, common courtesy, patience, and graciously receiving feedback and criticism. Brush up on understanding body language.
These are skills your potential employer expects you to have but they are not going to train you in these areas, most likely. But every employer greatly values soft skills in the workplace. Often, they can be more important than hard skills. If someone has all the knowledge but is difficult to work with, they may not last long in their position. But if someone is teachable and gets along well with others, that’s something employers can work with.
Be Available Online
If you want a job in the tech industry, you’ll need to show that you are part of that world. You need an online presence that demonstrates your proficiency and passion for your field. Prospective employers will research you online so it’s critical that what they find there is professional, impressive, and positive.
Be Visible on Social Media
On your social media platforms, remove or hide anything that could be considered offensive or unprofessional. Don’t allow anything to undermine your professionalism online that a potential employer could see. Keep everything business-related that will be publicly accessible.
Use your channels/pages to talk about issues that are important in the industry. Share articles about the latest news in tech and your thoughtful opinions about them.
If you are interested in healthcare technology jobs, research the field and share articles about current events like the challenges of COVID and its impact on the future of telehealth, for example.
If you majored in systems engineering, subscribe to an industry magazine online like iise.org. Industrial and Systems Engineering Magazine will help you stay on top of the latest stories and how to get a job in specific sectors like healthcare, finances, education, and others. Share your ideas about solutions for challenges the industry faces on your social media platforms. Join chat groups and forums online.
Develop an Accessible Online Tech Portfolio
If you are a web developer, showcase some of your work on GitHub. Let companies see your work live and get to experience it for themselves. If you are a designer, start an account with Dribble, Behance, the Dots, or even a separate Instagram art account.
Start a blog, vlog, or podcast. Develop a following on social media. It doesn’t have to be an enormous following, but having an online presence is a big help in the world of tech hiring.
Work for Free and/or Freelance to Start Building a Reputation
If you have no experience, you can create great experience for yourself by offering to do work for a school club, a community nonprofit, or for a friend for free. Do quality work for them and then you can share your work on your social media platforms or on your resume for employers to see.
If you want to do marketing, offer to help a small business or nonprofit organization with their marketing for free or for a small fee just to get some practice and exposure. Record the results and include that in your experience on your resume.
As a copywriter, offer to write copy for a small company’s website and showcase it on your portfolio or online. If you are a web designer, build a website for yourself or a friend, and showcase your work.
Once you have a bit of experience, you may find you can get some freelance jobs to help you get your foot in the door of the industry. As you have more projects completed, you will show you have the experience and skills employers are looking for.
Meet People in the Tech Industry
Look for an internship at a tech company in a field you like. Go to tech events in person or online to meet people in the field you are interested in. Email people you look up to who are working in jobs you admire and see if you can get to know them and offer them something valuable.
Offer to make presentations at meetings and group events. Offer to help people who are already in the industry. For example, if you want to get into an educational technology job, go to a local school and ask about needs they may have and ways you may be able to help.
If you are interested in social media marketing, take some online social media marketing courses. Perhaps you can check into internships or offer to help as a volunteer for someone you know who needs help developing a social media marketing plan. Then keep track of the results and share them on your resume or your social media accounts.
If you are interested in user experience design (UX), follow some leading experts in the industry. Chat with them in the comment section. Join a Facebook group and talk with others in the industry. Get to know the field and some people in it. Ask to speak to people who work in the jobs you would like to have one day.
Listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, and read blogs about the Tech Industry areas you are interested in. Follow the latest tech industry trends and developments. Keep track of the newest technologies and challenges.
As you rub shoulders with people in the industry and keep yourself informed about what is going on, it can be surprising what kind of opportunities may come up. Who you know can make the difference between getting hired or not. When people already know you, they feel more comfortable hiring you for an important role in their company.
Create a Stellar Resume
Having a strong, up-to-date resume is key to getting into any industry, but especially this one. The tech industry is quite competitive and your resume has to have certain keywords and phrases for your application to be considered.
Do your research and present yourself well here. You want your resume to stand out above the hundreds of others a prospective employer will see.
Pair your amazing resume with a sharp cover letter and a solid online presence so interviewers can see your work and you have a winning combination.
Interview with Tech Companies You Like
Be sure you are comfortable with an online interview. Practice with a friend, if necessary, ahead of time, so that you can navigate Zoom, Google Meets, or whatever platform you will be using. Be sure your equipment is working properly before the interview.
Dress professionally for your interview and if you are online, make sure your background and lighting look sharp. For a big company, you may want to wear business formal. For smaller companies, business casual is probably appropriate.
Take any feedback you get from each interview and improve yourself so you can be a better candidate for the future, even if you don’t get the job at the moment.
Contact a Tech Recruiter
If you are tech-savvy and have a lot of skills or experience, an IT recruiter may be able to help you find the perfect tech industry job for you. Recruiters personalize your resume to fit each of their client companies who are hiring. They make you look your best and are looking out for your interests and what will be a good fit for you and the company.