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What do you tell your students about career prep?  How do you get students ready for the workforce?  Staff from the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently attended a presentation – sponsored by Collin College – by Miguel Duran, a tech recruiter for Hays.  Miguel offered specific strategies and guidelines for IT and cyber students looking to embark on successful job searches.  Below are some of the highlights.

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Be introspective– Students should consider basic career questions like “What do you want to achieve in your career?” and “What is the best path to career goals?”

Degrees are not enough– Remember that supplemental learning is essential, whether it’s industry certifications or online classes. Miguel also points to the importance of “home labs” that allow further tinkering and hands-on practice.

Twitter is a business tool– Students should consider using Twitter to follow industry and community leaders.  A great deal of sharing happens on Twitter and spending time each day reading through a feed of tweets and retweets can be very educational. It can also expand your business network and create new opportunities.

Include an  Return On Investment (ROI) resume element– Make sure your resume provides specific “ROI” examples from your past on ways that you saved time or money.   Show your value.  If you suggested a new process (or adjusted an existing process) that made things run better, say so.

Understand your career options and pathways– Learn the structure of the workforce by looking at organizational charts or online tools like CompTIA’s career road maps.

Passion matters– It’s something you cannot learn or teach. Showing passion and motivation in an interview can be the difference maker between you getting the job and not getting the job.  Miguel believes that passion can make up for a lack of technical skills.  Companies want to know that you are invested and interested in the work.

Expand your network with “meetups”– Use meetup.com to find some local IT groups that share your interest and make plans to attend two a month.  You’ll learn about industry trends and meet new contacts.

Be strategic in your job search– Don’t flood the marketplace with your resume and apply to a job just to apply.  You can lower your value if hiring managers start to recognize your name and remember how many other jobs you’ve applied for.  Also, create a spreadsheet and keep track of your job applications. This will be especially useful if you eventually end up with a recruiter who will want to know where you’ve applied.

Prepare for your job interview– Understand the company well enough to answer the inevitable question “So why do you want to work here?” And be ready to show your passion.

You can request a free Hays Salary Guide.

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