Posted On: February 22, 2019
Starkloff Career Academy recently interviewed Diane Tabulog, Senior Director of Technology Talent and Client Solutions with Vaco. Tabulog has over 11 years of IT recruiting experience and offered advice to IT job seekers on how to stand out.
Focus on Practical Experience
“Recruitment in the tech industry is more focused on what you’ve done than on what you’ve studied,” says Tabulog. “Some places like Apple and Microsoft are starting to drop bachelor’s degree requirements for their jobs.”
Tabulog says she watches people struggle after completing school or code camps because they go straight into job hunting without building up a portfolio. “Write a web page for your local animal shelter,” she says. “Write an app. Build a program. Find a way to show off your skills.”
For programmers, she suggests using online code repositories like Bitbucket where recruiters can review your work. For web developers, she suggests having a personal website where you can store links to various projects you’ve completed.
Be Proactive with your Resume
“A resume is a living document,” says Tabulog. “Most of us are reactive with our resumes. We wait until we lose our job then update our resume. We try to recall the projects we completed over four or five years of employment. Instead, add projects to your resume as you complete them then remove what you don’t need later.”
Tabulog says this resume style is especially important in IT where recruiters are looking at resumes from all over the world.
“Companies are recruiting from parts of the world where resumes may be seven or eight pages long. In these cultures, job seekers describe the specific roles they’ve had in every project they’ve ever worked on. They have a lot more of the keywords recruiters look for in their resumes.”
This doesn’t mean IT applicants need an eight-page resume though. Tabulog suggests starting with a resume that thoroughly documents everything you’ve done and trimming it down to two or three pages based on the job you’re applying for. If, for example, you’re applying for a front-end web developer job, you may not need several bullet points under your old helpdesk job.
“LinkedIn is a great tool for documenting all of your accomplishments,” says Tabulog. “Unlike a resume, which is selling to a specific job, LinkedIn sells the whole person. You can outline all your accomplishments and show your connections with others.”
She also suggests joining online programming forums, Meetup.com groups, and LinkedIn discussion groups. Being active in those groups shows you still want to learn, which leads to her last point.
Be a Life Long Learner
IT is a constantly-evolving field, and Tabulog says the people who are successful are the ones who are willing to change with the times. “It doesn’t matter how old a job seeker you are,” she says. “As long as you’re learning new things and demonstrating your skill, it isn’t a challenge to get a job in IT.”
When working with job seekers with multiple years of work history, especially those transferring from other fields, Tabulog says she likes to help them identify their transferable skills.
“With older job seekers, I try to give them a fair chance. If your resume says you earned your degree in 1971, I might remove that date. I focus on the last 10 to 20 years of work history.”
Work with your Recruiter
“When you think about it, recruiters are a free service,” says Tabulog. “I want to help job seekers, and when I have someone I know is strong, I use my connections with companies to help them. I work with them on their resumes and help prep them for the interview, and I talk to the hiring manager about what to expect from them.”
Tabulog says people with disabilities should advocate for themselves and let their recruiters know if there is a challenge. “If I know you have a disability, I may not advertise it on a resume, but I’ll tell the hiring manager about it. I don’t want them to be caught off guard.” She says she lets hiring managers know about any accommodations someone uses so the job seeker doesn’t have to explain them and so the hiring manager can focus on the job seeker and not the disability.
“IT is an especially flexible field,” says Tabulog. “Vaco has 37 offices nationwide, and we recruit for remote jobs… If you have a passion for IT, this is one of the easiest fields to transition into. You have to show your passion though. You have to show what you’ve done and what you’re doing now.”