Liz Ryan is the founder and CEO of Human Workplace, which aims to educate and empower working people to live their best lives and find their best careers. We asked her about what young IT professionals should and shouldn’t be doing as they develop in their careers.
Founder and CEO, Human Workplace
What has changed in the past few years in job recruiting for IT?
Candidates are quickly screened in or out of a recruiting pipeline based on their technical skills as demonstrated by their accomplishments in their past jobs or their current role. It’s important to include all of your relevant keywords (hardware, software, use cases, etc.) in your resume and your LinkedIn profile, and it’s also essential to explain HOW you used each tool to make a difference for your employer.
What are the most common mistakes made in resumes for IT positions?
The most common mistake IT candidates make is to say too little about what they’ve done in their past or current roles. A job title doesn’t tell the reader very much. They want to know which projects you worked on and your role in each project. They want to know that you understand the business impact of your work. They want to see, right in your resume, that you are tuned in to your team’s goals and their intersection with the organization’s goals.
Here’s an example of what to do and what not to do:
Before (What NOT to do): I wrote code for the X-15 release.
After (What TO do): I was the lead developer for the X-15 product, the world’s first digital zircon-encrusted tweezer, which won Best New Product at ZirconCon 2019.
What advice do you have for young professionals growing their IT career?
Join industry groups online (for instance, on LinkedIn) and talk to as many people in the IT profession as you can. Browse LinkedIn looking at profiles of other IT people to see how they brand themselves and how they describe their work. When you get a job, grab every bit of learning you can. If you have an opportunity to try something new, do it!
What should IT professionals look for in an ideal work environment and role?
It may take a few jobs to figure out what you want and need in a job. Some people prefer to work in a group environment and others get more done and are more relaxed working from home. You may learn that you like to work closely with non-IT folks or you may find that that kind of interaction is not your cup of tea.
As you move forward in your career, you’ll gravitate toward jobs that give you more of what you want and less of the things you don’t care for. One thing most IT people appreciate is a supportive manager who understands the IT needs of their organization and will advocate for their team.