The Traits Employers are Looking for in IT Product Managers

May 24th, 2013

In today’s rapidly changing information technology world, being able to manage all areas of product development, training, and integration has become the job of skilled product managers. Product managers are essentially the subject matter experts for the application they work on, acting as a consultant and leader for multiple projects that are connected to this product.

While technical knowledge and experience are certainly important traits for product managers to have, there are a wide range of other skills that are needed to be successful. These are the highly sought after characteristics that the best product managers have.

Strong leadership ability

In order to be a successful product manager, you can position yourself well once you have harnessed your leadership ability. Product owners are leaders of ideas, concepts, and the products they represent.

Above average communication skills

Being able to communicate well with a diverse number of professionals and customers is key to success as a product manager. You may be working across multiple cultures and communication styles in your daily work, so often creative thinking is needed.

Effective writing and research ability

As a product owner, you will be responsible for compiling product guidelines, reports, manuals and presentations. Be ready to face the challenges of writing and researching on a continual basis.

Product knowledge and trend foresight

The product owner must be able to stay ahead of trends relating to the product, keep learning, and be able to share knowledge from an industry standpoint to the leadership team at a moment’s notice.

Highly organized time manager

Staying on top of all tasks and deadlines is critical to success as a product owner. Therefore, you should be able to be very organized and an effective manager of your time.

Corporate aligned and strategic thinker

Product ownership often means negotiating and getting support for critical product updates and expenditures. This means you need to be mindful of corporate goals and a strategy for helping the business experience the biggest ROI.

Exploring a career as a product manager in the information technology market can be an exciting prospect for any job seeker. By developing the above talents and traits, you can launch yourself as a SME in your chosen product line and get to the top of the hiring pile.

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.

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.

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! 

Finding the Right IT Job for You

June 13th, 2012

If you are graduating from a technical university, or you are a seasoned Information Technology professional, there are several ways to find the right IT job for you. Today’s IT market has exploded and is one of the leading industries to find great career opportunities. This comes as no surprise as many software and web companies have grown at unbelievable rates while the rest of the economy lags behind. However, finding the right IT job for your skills will take careful research.

Here are a few facts on the IT world you should know about first.

What is the IT Career Outlook?

The US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are over 307,000 IT professionals working in just America alone, with a projected 18 percent growth expected in the coming year, and an estimated 55,800 new IT jobs to be created in the next 10 years. Average salaries run in the six figures for mid to top tier IT specialists.

Where are the IT Jobs?

A Best Cities for Finding IT Jobs in 2012 report appeared on NetworkWorld that gives a sneak peek into the regions where job seekers should be able to find more chances at employment. Washington DC., San Francisco, and Houston are the top 3 cities where IT jobs are plentiful, followed by Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, NYC and Detroit. The best opportunities are within regions where large software and website technology firms are present, along with financial and engineering firms – so be sure to start your search there.

How to Find the Right IT Job

To start your search for the right IT job, you must first evaluate your own skills and credentials in this industry as it changes continually. Consider if you need to obtain or update any product certifications.  Get some advanced software classes under your belt so you can rise above the competition and go after better paying opportunities. Apply to companies that fall within your scope of interest and skill.

Start out as an IT contractor, which is the preferred way that many technology firms are conducting their hiring in the current time frame. Companies are thriving, but they are expanding carefully to avoid layoffs if the market turns south again. Contract assignments often open the door to perm placement, as well as a way to get on board with exciting new projects.

Consider freelance IT work until you land a full time gig. This can help you to develop your skills even further in IT, work with partners and obtain references for the kind of work you do. Once you land a great full time IT job, you can then continue to build on your freelance experience as a backup to your career, and possibly help your new employer bring in new business too.

For support with finding the right IT job, take the time to register with Stark Talent IT staffing.


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.

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.


Internship Opportunities for Job Seekers of Any Age

February 22nd, 2012

The idea that most people picture in their minds when the topic of internships come up is a short term program geared towards high school or college students who’d like to “try on” a job. However, did you know that internships can be a powerful way for candidates of all ages to get more exposure to help land a great career? Most internships allow for on-the-job experience without the commitment, offering both employees and employers many advantages.

In today’s competitive job market, internships can provide valuable learning experience and networking opportunities that anyone can take advantage of at any stage in their career. These internships can be either paid or unpaid, but are based on the same principle of being able to get real-world experience in a new industry or profession, while under the guidance of others. In other words – this is a total win-win situation for both interns and the companies who offer this experience.

Here are some things to consider if you are exploring the world of internships.

  • Internships give you a chance to explore a new career in a safe environment. The main reason to consider an internship is to satisfy your quest for knowledge about a specific career field, before you invest too much into it. With so many adults heading back to scholl for more eduction and training, internships can provide an alternative means to learn the skills you need to succeed in a specific career. You may also find that you don’t want to pursue things further in a job type, or find other related jobs that you prefer instead of your original plan.
  • Many fields require internships before acceptance for regular employment. As a rule, there are some companies that actually require an internship before granting access to regular placement. These industries include entertainment and creative fields, the medical and social science industries, as well as some technical and engineering positions. While internships are mandatory for final year college students, they can also be required for adults who want to venture into a new career.
  • Internship benefits and payment can vary greatly from one company to the next. When evaluating any internship program, keep in mind that companies are not legally required to pay interns because there is an understanding that the exchange of information and college credit is compensation enough. Never go into an internship expecting to be paid, because your reward will be in the valuable experience and contacts you will take with you. In recent times, many companies have implemented special incentives for interns, including bonuses for completing an internship successfully.
  • Companies often recruit directly from intern pools every year. When it comes time to hire the best, most companies turn to their interns as a valuable source of manpower. If you work as an intern, you can indicate upfront you would like to be considered for regular employment at some point in the future. Chances are, you will increase your ability to get hired on, simply by being in the right place at the right time as an intern.

To learn more about opportunities to work as an intern, please visit Stark Talent today. You’ll be on your way to a brand new career and success at any age.

Relocation Issues that IT Candidates Face

January 29th, 2012

IT professionals are often required to put in long hours and completely dedicate themselves to the jobs and or projects at hand. For this reason alone, many IT candidates face relocation issues that are somewhat unique to them. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before agreeing to relocate for any IT position.

Social Networks and Down Time

Some companies acknowledge the fact that they require their IT employees to put in long hours and go out of their way to create an environment that allows and even encourages socialization. More and more IT companies are beginning to provide recreational equipment for much needed recharge time as well. Find out what kind of environment you’re going to be working in and if it’s one that will be an effective and healthy environment for you. Also keep family in mind and how much time you’ll have to devote to them, if you have family, while also adjusting to a new work situation.

What Kind of Relocation Packages are Offered?

This is a market that is ripe with competition. In many instances good companies have people lining up to work for them. However, the cream of the crop, the jobs you should really consider relocating for, are going to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing by offering attractive relocation packages. They want to hire the most talented IT candidates and they are well aware that this is a great way to attract their target demographic.

Consider the Location

Different IT professionals at different stages of their careers will have a different idea of what the “perfect” location to start a new chapter in their lives will be. You know what your life is like now and you have an idea of how you’d like it to be. Does this relocation get you any closer to your goals? How about your family? Will there be educational and employment opportunities for family that you’re going to bring along? What about your lifestyle? Is the community where you’ll be moving attractive to you and the lifestyle you want to lead? These are all important questions that will matter to you.

Of course, as an IT professional there are additional considerations you’ll need to keep in mind. Is the infrastructure of the community at large fairly modern? It does no good to work in a high-tech IT environment if you live in an area that has aging lines and an infrastructure that should have been extinct a decade ago. Most people today bring their work home with them on occasion. Are you going to be able to find a home with the wiring to meet the demands of the work you’ll need to do at home?

More and more IT professionals are taking the plunge and relocating for work. It’s not nearly as uncommon as it has been in the past. People are leaving home and striking out on their own hoping to strike gold and find a new place to call home and work. For help with finding a new IT assignment, and handling the challenges of relocation, be sure to work with the career experts at Stark Talent!