IT Networking – What You Need to Know as a Job Seeker

May 9th, 2013

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to be in the right place at the right time to get a job in information technology is by networking with your peers? The use of networking during a professional career search is not new. Industry groups and communities have been around in IT for a long time. However, since the explosion of the use of social networks in the last few years, networking in IT has taken on larger than life proportions.

To get the most out of IT networking as a job seeker, it’s important to understand that this is a unique community with many great opportunities to connect with the right people. Here are some things you need to know as you venture out into networking activities.

Focus on industry specific meet ups.

To make the most of your networking activities, take the time to go to live events that enable you to meet a wide variety of people in the IT industry. Join a few online IT communities and participate in discussions. By being in the presence of peers, you will be empowered and learn where the best jobs are.

Go to networking groups with an open mind.

Just like every other interaction you may have, keep an open mind when becoming part of networking group. While you may think you are only good at certain aspects of IT, you will likely find new ideas that can help you gain an edge in the job market.

Be prepared with business cards.

For a naturally introverted IT professional, that first greeting can be nerve wracking. Yet, you can make this more pleasant and sand out as a polished pro by presenting a nicely designed business card to everyone you meet. Take the time to include your name, your areas of specialty, and your contact info to make it easier for recruiters to get in touch with you.

Learn to make small talk more productive.

Instead of just talking about yourself at IT networking events, learn to be a reflective listener to make small talk more productive. While you are trying to impress others in the hopes of getting a job referral, showing personal interest in what others are doing can be a good way to win friends who may be future co-workers.

Use networking to build relationships, not just job leads.

IT networking is a fun and productive way to get out there and look for job opportunities, but this activity is more about building key relationships with your peers. When an IT firm starts a massive recruitment campaign, these relationships count. Learn to tactfully follow people you connect with using social networks and use networking consistently to foster these relationships.

 Learn more from Stark Talent 

Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal 

Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal

April 5th, 2013

Drafting a resume for an information technology job can be one thing, however without a great IT cover letter your resume may not even get considered. To write a cover letter for an IT assignment, there are some basic principles that can help you stand out as a top candidate. Remember that the average recruiter will spend approximately 20 seconds looking at your cover letter; after that it’s over. Make your cover letter count with these tips.

Start with a friendly, yet professional greeting

Give the recruiter something positive to read right off the bat with a warm and respectful greeting. If at all possible include the person’s first name (call ahead of time to ask who this is). Thank this person for his or her time and consideration.

Indicate what position you are interested in

As soon as your greeting is created, immediately indicate what assignment you are submitting your resume for. Recruiters are often responsible for placing multiple candidates into a variety of IT assignments, so you can ensure getting into to “maybe” pile simply by adding this one little detail.

Highlight your strengths as they relate to the assignment

Now this is where your cover letter really counts. Write a sentence that indicates your excitement about the possibility of working with the company, followed by a bulleted list of at least 3 reasons why you have the right skills and experience to do the job. Keep this concise and avoid sounding overly boastful. Focus on the keywords used in the actual job description advertisement.

Give a reason for the recruiter to call you

Now, you must end your IT cover letter with a call to action statement. Instead of just saying “looking forward to hearing from you” try something like “I am available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4 pm EST to discuss the needs of your business. Please give me a call at your convenience.” This gives the recruiter an actionable item to follow up with you right away.

Try not to sound desperate in your closing

Some job seekers make the mistake of ending their cover letter with something like “Gratefully Yours” or “Respectfully”; however these can sound too much like you are trying to appeal to the recruiter in a desperate act. Instead, stick with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” for a more positive ending to your cover letter.

Include your contact information

The most important aspect of a great IT cover letter is including your contact information. Do not assume that the recruiter will have your cover letter and resume together. Files can often get displaced or corrupted by an email. Include your full name, a good phone number and email address at the bottom of your cover letter.

Remember, your IT cover letter is your very first impression you will make to a recruiter. Keep it short, to the point, and professional. Write an original one for every job you apply for. You’ll soon be on the way to a great new career in IT at Stark Talent.

Cloud Computing Could Potentially Generate Millions of Jobs

February 25th, 2013

The year ahead promises to bring great career opportunities for those in the Information Technology and Data Management markets. Experts predict that candidates who have experience working with and developing new cloud technology will be at the forefront of this career growth in 2013.

What do reports say about career growth in cloud computing?

A recent study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) and Microsoft indicates that by the year 2015, there will be some 14.1 million new jobs created by cloud computing alone, spurred by the billions in dollars that large firms are investing in this technology. Further the IDC/Microsoft study advised that, “Most of that job growth will hail from emerging markets — China and India in particular. It is estimated that these countries will generate 6.75 million cloud-related jobs versus an estimated 2.8 million jobs in the Asia Pacific region, 2.07 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 1.17 million in North America.”

The US makes up a large part of the demand for cloud technology, with over half of all cloud apps being developed for US businesses of all sizes and industries. It’s clear that cloud technology and everything it stands for are here to stay for many years to come – leading to some excellent career opportunities for IT and support pros alike.

The US Department of Labor backs up this claim in its Occupational Employment Projections to 2020 that was published in the January 2012 Monthly Labor Review. In the next decade, there is expected to be above average growth in the IT and cloud computing career paths, with more than half of all job creation attributed to business and information services. There is projected to be approximately 55,800 more jobs established with an 18 percent growth rate until 2020 in information systems.

How can employers prepare for the demand for cloud computing professionals?

One of the keys to success in the word of cloud computing is having employees who are knowledgeable about cloud technology and use it effectively in their normal duties. Hiring capable staff who have a high level of comfort and understand the nature of global business can give your organization an edge in your industry. Cloud computing is transforming many of the administrative and sales functions at companies around the world. Obviously tapping into great IT and technology talent, by working with Stark Talent, should be a critical part of your recruitment strategy.

Manufacturing World: What Makes a Good Leader?

September 24th, 2012

Step into the manufacturing world. It used to be a world of factory lines with thousands of people working to create a simple finished product. Today’s views involve more machines and higher demands. Those demands come from all directions including consumers. At the head of it all is a leader. This person needs to have what it takes to push the company to profit, not something that is easy to do in today’s very diverse and highly competitive marketplace. However, there is help.

What Makes a Good Leader?

In manufacturing, numerous factors play a role in determining if an individual is a true good leader of it he or she is simply just pushing papers around. Whether talking about on the floor management, or executives, before bringing anyone in, leadership qualities need careful consideration. Consider the following.

  • Leaders listen. You have heard it before but are you sure you are implementing it? Good leaders listen to the market, the company owner, and the employees and even to the industry changes. They listen and absorb information as it is coming to them then use that information to make decisions.
  • Leaders make decisions. Sometimes, decision-making is difficult. Do you take a chance on that big investment in the hopes that it will pay off or do you go the safe route? Making these decisions is not easy but the true leader is not afraid to make tough decisions.
  • Leaders are knowledgeable. It used to be commonplace for upper management to replace ineffective managers with off-the-streets professionals in similar industries. Now, with so many companies looking to create the must-have, very specific product, specialization is key. If the leader does not know the job of the employee, how can he lead the employee?
  • Leaders communicate. They are present on the job floor. They engage everyone from the new hire to the owner and public. Leaders are willing to communication both positive and negative feedback but they do it with respect. Ultimately, this can lead to true results on the floor.
  • Leaders teach and respect staff. Every leader is a teacher. If that teacher is demonstrating respect for employees, he or she is likely to teach in a more effective manner. If the leader sits in an office and barks orders, chances are he or she is teaching the team that the company does not appreciate their value.

In the manufacturing sector, take leadership qualities seriously. Although the job is different from one industry to the next, leadership traits are versatile. Bring on board those that have them to see your business excel.

 Want to be a more effective leader in your chosen career path? Consider how a contract assignment in manufacturing can help you to gain the right experience to become a leader of tomorrow. Check out the manufacturing job opportunities at Stark Talent.

Oil Market Better Supplied – Outlook on Staffing in the USA

September 12th, 2012

What is the oil industry staffing situation? If you are in this industry, you monitor the current market conditions carefully to determine if you will have a job, where you will have one and what the next step will be. A look at the reports for 2012 in North America, and more specifically Texas, can give you a good idea of what is really happening out there.

Current Oil Supply

According to reports, the International Energy Agency has concerns about the oil markets going forward. The agency, in a report issued in June of 2012, indicates that crude oil output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) averaged 31.9 million b/d during the month of May. That is significantly higher than the December 2011 output. In fact, it is 1.4 million b/d up.

At the time of the report, oil prices were down $25/bbl from the highs they hit in March. The last 18 months have had a bullish market in this area. There is no doubt that concerns about the Eurozone and China itself have caused enough tension to worry some investors.

Better But Not Oversupplied

The organization classified the market as being better supplied. However, it noted that it was not over supplied. Tight inventories at the end of 2011 and historically high prices have ensured this is the case. The concerns about Iran that occurred throughout the summer months and concerns about non-OPEC products also are a factor.

So, What’s the Future Hold?

For those who are wondering what the future in this market is, IEA states that production may be slightly lower in the third and fourth quarters of 2012. That is due to the US sanctions on Iranian oil sales and European Union embargo play out. Oil demand growth is also left unchanged.

When all of this is factored into the current conditions in Texas and in the United States in general for oil staffing, it looks like the rest of 2012 will be a positive but stable market for the country. With oil prices up, consumers will cut back. That may mean less production in many cases.

Production is unlikely to stop in the coming year, but that does not mean it will grow significantly either. In fact, when it comes to staffing in oil companies, many companies will likely hold off as the summer season winds down and the overall demand falls back during the colder months.

Be sure to review previous posts on the topic of the oil industry job market here:

The Effect of Rise in Oil & Gas Prices on the Tech Industry

Oil and Gas Industries: Consistently Contributing to Our Economy

Supply Looms, Demand Dips in the Information Technology Job Market

July 30th, 2012

In terms of Information Technology jobs, is there a higher supply than demand now in the market? For those actively searching for IT careers, there are some areas that are growing while others may be slowing down. To the average IT professional seeking a new opportunity, it could mean a shift in focus from one industry to another for career growth. Yet, with 20 percent of The 25 Best Jobs appearing on the US News Money report for 2012, these jobs are hot.

Let’s look at a few trends in the IT market and what jobs in demand for the rest of 2012.

Software Developers and Engineers – With the rapid advancement in software applications, including mobile apps and smartphone technology, the need for software developers and software engineers has exploded around the nation. Software developers are in high demand, particularly those with experience in new product development in the cloud, and advanced product certifications. Biggest areas of growth are in large cities on the east and west coast of the USA, and Canada.

Database Administrators – Information and the security of that information is critical to the success of all industries. Therefore, database administrators are vital to managing corporate data according to best practices. Many database administrators work for large data centers, while others manage the data for groups of schools or healthcare accounts. Jobs are plentiful in NYC, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Los Angeles.

Computer Programmers – For those who love the adventure of building new computer networks and programming them to work with the latest software, there has been a boom in the number of computer programmer assignments. Develop your skills in flexible and remote jobs as well as working for top computer and communication firms.

Web Developers – The Internet has created a virtual renaissance in the development of interactive websites and tools. That means there are multiple web development assignments open in all industries around the world. From small business website development to large in-house web teams, you can find high paying work practically everywhere.

Computer Systems Analysts – When it comes to making sure that computer systems and networks are functioning well, there is a high demand for skills computer systems analysts. Civilian level jobs typically pay well, but those in the government are the highest demand and compensated.

Web Security Officers – The world wide web has created a demand for security agents who protect the information and resources of not just individuals, but entire countries. That means there are many more jobs available in web security and cyber-crime than ever before, with high salaries and nice perks.

For information about getting started in a new IT assignment, be sure to visit the career center at Stark Talent for new listings! 

Spring 2012 Tech Salary Survey Results

April 26th, 2012

For those in IT, now is the time to ask for a raise. That is, unless you just received one. According to a report from the Dice Tech Salary Survey, those in the technology profession have seen the largest increase in their pay in 2012 since 2008. For many, that’s good news because it means that the economy is growing – and paychecks are reflecting the increased demand in this industry.

Average Wage Increased

According to the survey, after two years in which wages in the IT field seemed to stagnate, there’s been a nice two percent increase for professionals, on average, in 2011. The average salary for an IT professional in the United States in 2010 was $79,384. This year, average rates are now up to $81,327.

Bonuses Are Paying Out

Many individuals in this industry are given bonuses for a job well done. That proved to be the case in 2012 as well. The average size of IT bonuses grew by a whopping eight percent. On average, individuals received as much as $8,769. The survey notes that the number of people getting bonuses also increased. Check out these numbers:

  • In 2009, the number of IT professionals receiving a bonus was 24 percent.
  • In 2010, that number was 29 percent.
  • In 2011, the number grew to 32 percent.

Where were you most likely to see a bonus if you worked in this field? Those in the telecom, hardware, banking, utilities and software industries were most likely to see a boost to their paycheck as a result of a bonus.

It’s Not Just in Silicon Valley Either

Though Silicon Valley is still the highest paid market for well-trained professionals in IT, it’s not the only place seeing these improvements. There are wage increases and higher bonuses being paid out to more people across the country. This includes areas like Austin, Washington DC, Seattle and Dallas. That means the entire industry is growing.

What It All Means

Why are wages going up and more individuals receiving larger bonuses? There are numerous reasons this is happening and it is all good news for those in this industry.

  • In many areas, economic conditions are improving and that’s driving more employers back to growing their businesses.
  • In some areas, however, it is the sheer lack of growth that is pushing the IT world. Instead of hiring numerous people to do a job, many employers are looking for IT solutions to cut into the cost of hiring more. That’s making IT pros in demand.
  • Employers are more willing than ever to hold onto good talent. They know it is hard to find qualified professionals, and they are willing to spend the money to keep them.

For those IT professionals looking for wage increases, use these numbers as a tool to help show just how in demand your services are. With higher bonuses, employees can now start thinking about asking the boss for bigger paychecks.

Foreigners Create IT Jobs

March 30th, 2012

Research indicates that foreign companies employ hundreds of thousands of Americans. If that’s the case, why do people want to seal our borders from foreigners? Some mistakenly believe that the way to boost the economy is to seal off the country’s borders and by doing so, those who are here will be the only ones competing for the jobs in the country. The problem is, immigrants to the United States have created thousands of jobs and are in fact responsible for helping to rebuild the country.

IT Businesses Stay Out?

Some in the IT industry feel they are being pushed out of their IT jobs as companies outsource the positions to foreign nationals. Some even go as far as to say that companies should only hire Americans and that all foreign nationals should be sent home. Some also say that the special type of work visa known as the H-1B visa be immediately stopped. By doing so, it would block companies from hiring foreigners to do the jobs Americans should be doing. The problem with this logic is that sealing our borders like this would likely create fewer jobs in the IT industry than many realize.
Would Unemployment Be Fixed?

The thought that taking these steps would eliminate the 9 percent unemployment the country is suffering with, other experts warn that a move like this could have lasting consequences. One of the biggest factors is the evidence that indicates that by encouraging highly educated IT professionals to come into the US or to encourage those graduating with technical degrees in the US to stay here; you will actually boost growth and employment in the country. Those who are in these fields are more likely than average professionals to start and build successful businesses.

According to a study from Duke University, one quarter of US science and tech companies founded from 1995 to 2005 were lead by foreign-born individuals. Those companies generated $52 billion in revenue and employed 450,000 people in 2005. In addition to this, if you look a Silicon Valley specifically, 52 percent of all startups are begun by foreign-born individuals. Companies like eBay, Intel, Oracle and even Google were all founded by immigrants. There’s more data to back this up, too. 25.6 percent of patent applications filed in 2006 listed foreign nationals as the inventors.

Another report this time from the Partnership for a New American Economy indicates that immigrants or their children founded more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies listed in 2011.

It is important to note the numerous abuses of some types of work visas. Yes, foreign nationals are taking the jobs of Americans who could do the work in some situations. However, by and large, the number of jobs foreign nationals and immigrants create in the United States is far more. Therefore, sealing the borders could actually do more harm than good.

Cloud Computing: Top IT Investment in 2012

March 23rd, 2012

Cloud computing is the key phrase for 2012 in the world of IT. This method of management allows everything to be done in the “cloud.” The cloud itself is simply in the Internet’s big open space. Imagine a cloud in the sky. It is in the huge open space of the sky, but this cloud designates a part of that space to just one company’s access. However, anyone, from any location, with the information to do so, can access the cloud for all types of business communications. This increases productivity and has become the way of the future in IT.

Why Cloud Computing Is So Important

Cloud computing is one of the largest investments companies will make in the IT world this year and next. They are doing so because of all it has to offer to them.

  • Computing strength increases numerous times over the standard practices. Companies are able to store some or all of their programs, data and other useful information in a remote server. This allows the server to run continuous backups. It is also possible to access that data from any location, driving up productivity from any location.
  • With cloud computing, companies will see a reduction in the cost of IT within their business. Most businesses do not want to hire a full time IT person if they do not need to. With this system, even small businesses can implement it without having to worry about high costs to manage the system. You can take back some of that office space, give your personnel more work on the goal and even reduce overall costs related to full time employees.
  • It is completely flexible. Unlike older systems, cloud computing allows the company to use new software without actually investing in the more expensive hardware to get it in place. You can even invest in a pay-as-you-go product, which means you can take advantage of new technologies when they happen. Your architect can manage changes to a blueprint in moments without having to spend hours uploading or downloading, sending and faxing plans back and forth.

IT personnel will find that this is where the job growth in the IT field is likely to happen in 2012 and beyond. The fact is, businesses need to be able to use this service and since it is so easy to put into place, without a lot of overhead to do so, the IT world is likely to change significantly as a result. Those who are looking for jobs in this area should focus primarily on cloud computing companies and those companies that offer back up to them. This is where the jobs are likely to be because of the demand in the industry.

How Do I Develop a Successful Career in Supply Chain Management?

February 29th, 2012

To develop a successful career in supply chain management, individuals need to have the right combination of experience and training, not to mention the desire to do well in this field. Supply chain management is the process of moving products or goods from the manufacturer to the distributor on to the customer. Every aspect of the job requires a significant amount of attention paid to the task at hand. You can better your chances of entering and growing in this field, though.

Get Educated

Having a professional certification in supply chain management is an excellent advantage. There are various institutions offering this type of certification. Individuals can even use self paced training programs to help enhance skills that may be outdated.

Love Math

One of the biggest factors in whether an individual will be successful at this job is their ability to understand and use math in the proper manner. Having a mathematical aptitude is going to be one of the strongest attributes of a candidate for this career field.

Take on Projects

On a resume, having experience managing a new project can be an outstanding benefit. Having experience establishing and effectively running a new project can make a significant impact on your long-term career. This looks impressive on a resume, even if it is a smaller project or your first step into this direction.

Have Good Problem Solving Skills

Another important factor for individuals who wish to succeed will be problem-solving skills. Those who have the ability to manage conflicts in demands and scheduling and who have the ability to do it without becoming overwhelmed, will do well in supply chain management. It is necessary for these professionals to have outstanding time management and project management skills. Often it is the case where individuals will have several problems happening at one time and they will need to manage every moment.

Understand Key Systems

To do well in supply chain management, you will need to understand the systems used within this field. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems or ERPs are an important part of this job field. In global organizations, these systems are invaluable. Having experience or an understanding of how they work, can help. It may be possible to take courses to learn these skills long before applying for a position.

Gaining Experience

Perhaps the most important element to doing well in the supply chain management field is simply getting experience. Though most people will need to start with entry-level positions, working your way up the chain of command will help. Choose a company with a strong internal training program and make sure that those in charge know your interest in developing these skills. People will experience in processing and manufacturing can find these to be good skills. Consider the advantages of taking temporary assignments through Stark Talent to gain this experience as well.

Supply chain management is a strong and growing field. Having the skills to perform well in this position will put you in demand in this industry.