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14 tips to help new college grads land a (good) IT job

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | June 27, 2012
According to a recent Dice hiring survey of nearly 1,200 IT-focused hiring managers and recruiters, demand for technology professionals should continue to be strong through 2012, with "24 percent of corporate hiring managers saying they were hiring at the entry level," according to Tom Silver, senior vice president, Dice. "It's not the levels that we saw pre-recession, but similar to last year."

What else do recent grads need to land their dream job in IT? asked hiring managers and IT recruiters. Following are their top tips for how to improve your chances of getting hired.

Google yourself -- before a prospective employer does. Why? "I am looking for two things: you participate on the social or technical Web, and you do not have anything terribly scandalous on the Web," explains Sara Robertson, vice president, Strategic Technology , CPX Interactive, a digital adverting company. "If I find a thread on a developer forum where you are helping a newbie understand the proper way to instantiate a class, you will get a call immediately.

If I find a thread on a developer forum where you are flaming a newbie for not reading the documentation, your resume is immediately in the trash." Robertson also recommends potential hires have a Twitter and/or Facebook account. "If you don't have those I will suspect something is amiss, unless you have a first-page blog where you eloquently describe all the reasons that Facebook and Twitter suck. At which point I might just want to be your best friend."

Get a professional email address. "Something as [seemingly insignificant] as your email address can make a huge impact on whether or not you get a response from a hiring manager," argues Shara Senderoff, co-founder and CEO of Intern Sushi. "So ditch the funny, inappropriate email address you've had since high school, like 'sexykitten11' or 'bigdaddy69.'

Make a great impression from the start by setting up a professional, simple email address -- a combination of your first and last name and, if needed, numbers," she says. "If you insist on keeping that old address for old times' sake, keep it solely for personal use with friends."

Adjust your Facebook privacy setting before you send out a single resume. "Hiring managers are now searching Facebook to screen candidates before and after the interview process," notes Senderoff. And the last thing you want them to see is a picture of you doing shots with your buddies, in a thong or behaving inappropriately. Therefore, she recommends you change your Facebook privacy settings to "friends only" and choose a profile picture your grandmother would approve of.

Do your homework/due diligence. "Research and know the company's basic stats (revenue, number of employees, main locations, products and services)," advises Michael McKiernan, vice president, Business Technology at Citrix. "Understanding the company's business strategy and the relevance of the IT function in contributing to this strategy... demonstrates a sincere targeted interest in the company and the IT function as opposed to a blanket 'any job will do' approach."


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