How to Navigate the Job Search When You’re the New Kid on the Block

If you’re a new graduate, transitioning veteran, re-entering the job market after a leave of absence, have been working at the same company for 5, 10, 15+ years, or just want some awesome advice on how to land your next dream job, then read on!

Hiring top talent for technology teams requires recruiters to master the entire lifecycle of the recruitment process: understanding the open positions, maintaining an awareness of the quality of the applicant pool, and successfully filling the position. The starting point is with you, the candidate and understanding how to leverage the tools that highlight your skills. This will help to bring job opportunities to you. Below are what I consider to be the 6 most important things to consider when hitting the job market.

1. Skillset: Let’s start with understanding the top skillsets that hiring managers are looking for this year. If you’re targeting a new job in the tech industry, according to our friends over at Computer World, these are the most sought after skills to acquire:

top 10 skills to hire

Credit: Computer World.

2. Understanding Opportunity Options: Next, determine the type of opportunity you are targeting. Are you looking for a contracting opportunity or full time position? Are you targeting a small business or large corporation? Are you looking to work in the public sector on a government contract? Make sure that you understand the cultural difference between industries and the companies that you are looking to target.

3. Managing a Social Media Presence: LinkedIn – if you are not on LinkedIn, you should be. I’m not saying you should publish your personal picture, post your birth date, marital status, pictures of your family, etc., but every professional in the technology industry needs to have a LinkedIn profile for added exposure. Set your privacy setting to a comfortable level and make sure that you are putting lots of KEYWORDS that correlate with your skillset on your profile. The same goes for your resume Both corporate and staffing recruiters use “Boolean” search strings when looking through their in-house applicant tracking systems (the backend database your resume gets pushed into when you apply online via the company website) and when searching on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn.

Example: If you are a Cisco Network Engineer with a CCNP in security skills, you should have key words on your LinkedIn:

  • CCNP
  • Security
  • Firewall
  • Checkpoint
  • ASA
  • Network
  • Engineer

(Plus any other keywords that could pop up)

4. Detailed Account of Experience: Keep a separate portfolio of key projects that you worked on and include: who, what, when, where, how large, how many people, technologies used and lastly, a summary.

5. Always Be Prepared: Ensure you are prepared for the first call on a moment’s notice. Corporate recruiters, and recruiters from staffing companies, do not always email to setup initial phone calls. Sometimes they just pick up the phone and call you from a submission to the website or when they come across your resume online. Treat this initial call like it is the first interview.

6. Recognizing Your Own Value: Know your worth and do your research. Understand what the market rate is for the position you are applying for. Recognize what you bring to the table and what the interviewing company can offer you in return. There is a give and a take with all positions, but even though there’s a salary range outlined for your sought-after job, there is no guarantee that the company has budgeted for the top end of the listed payment scale. However, if you are working with a company with integrity, a company that’s worth your time and one worth investing in, they will invest in you and surely won’t “cheat you out of money.”

While we all know that searching for a job can be daunting, frustrating and time-consuming, I’m confident that if you fully understand and are on top of those 6 factors outlined above, your job search should prove to be a bit less painful.


ABS Staffing Services Manager, Caitlin Johnson, is responsible for recruiting top talent for ABS and ABS clients. She leverages her large network to place candidates in the right roles based upon their culture requirements,and technical aptitude.