"Have they been featured recently in the press? Are they active on TechCrunch?" Find out, Rutt says. Then, in your cover letter or during the interview, "highlight some of the exciting things the company is doing and why you would want to be engaged in that work and how you could add to the project with your skills."
"Inspire confidence by walking into the interview with a deep understanding of what the company sells," says Mindy Lieberman, vice president of IT at Zendesk, a provider of customer service software. "If it's an SaaS company, play with a free trial, if there is one. Also, "check out reviews [in tech publications], or find a friend who is a customer. [Skimming the company] website isn't enough; go deeper."
"To show that you're well-versed on the company and its offerings, come up with one great suggestion for how they can improve or a new feature you would add," adds Tarek Pertew, cofounder, Wakefield Media, which provides a content platform and produces Uncubed, a startup hiring event. "It shows you care about the company and have put a lot of thought into it. Also, always send a follow-up email, but try to add value and personalize it rather than just to check in."
"The job market, especially in IT, is becoming increasingly specialized," says Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass. "Students who can match their portfolio of skills specifically with what employers are looking for will have an easier time gaining employment," he says. "Based on analytics from Burning Glass, big data skills such as Hadoop and data management, scripting languages such as Python and Perl, and skills that bridge software development with other fields such as graphical user design are among those skills employers find hardest to recruit for."
4. Hone your "soft" skills. "[Soft skills] are nontechnical, interpersonal skills, like effective communication, strong teamwork, leadership, problem solving and negotiation skills," explains Abhijit Pansare, head of recruitment at Collabera, an IT staffing and services company. "Even if you have proficiencies in a hard- to-find technical skill like Java, those skills alone won't land you a job in IT. It's these soft skills that will make you more employable and well- rounded to a potential boss," he says. "Identify the skills where you may not be strongest and invest in improving them. The best way to do this is with practice. Network as much as possible and take as many interviewing opportunities as you can."
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