​Interview with Christine Santacroce, Manager of Market Development at Recruiter.com

IT Resume Tips from Christine SantacroceThe reason we follow our passion in education is to one day hopefully turn our passion into a career. So if you’re passionate about pursuing a degree in Information Technology (IT), you’ll want to take note of the helpful IT resume tips and career advice from Christine Santacroce—the Manager of Market Development at Recruiter.com and an IT career expert.

Santacroce’s knowledge of the IT resume tips and hiring market comes from her years spent as a technical recruiter and account manager, experience that taught her how to navigate hiring for IT and how to build a strong network of great professionals. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College and her master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

In our interview with Christine Santacroce, she reveals some IT resume tips and the in’s and out’s of helping to prepare yourself to enter the IT job search market and what makes searching and interviewing for an IT job a unique process.

What makes recruiting for an IT (information technology) position different than other fields?

Recruiting in the IT field is always a challenge. Several years ago, the technical aspect was all that really mattered. Could a tech professional come in and bang out code or fix a broken system? It was easy to simply find a match—like placing a puzzle piece. But now companies are looking for technologists who can fix problems and bang out code, as well as communicate with business users. To also give presentations to business stakeholders and in many cases, help develop new and innovative strategies to push the business forward.  Info Tech isn’t all about Info Tech anymore; it’s really become a critical piece of the business and the best IT professionals are those that keep up-to-date on changing technology while simultaneously working on their business acumen, presentation skills, and long-term problem solving.  Being successful in IT these days really about being well-rounded, not just a super tech.

For those looking to break into the field, what are some important IT resume tips?

Providing IT resume tips is always a fun question to answer! First, decide on the specific field that you’re interested in when it comes to technology. It’s an incredibly broad field so you’ll need to narrow it down before you jump in. Are you more into data or software? Web development or infrastructure?

Once you’ve decided which direction fits your interests then you can start preparing yourself. Do some research on the most prevalent technologies in your field and start working with them on your own. If you can find some internships, co-op, or volunteer work that lets you work with that technology, go for it! Meanwhile, make sure you note those experiences on your resume. Most importantly, if you can afford it, take some online courses or classes so you have the right foundations in place. You’d be surprised how often resumes are screened for certain certifications. Make sure you list any certification you’ve completed OR you’re currently working towards.  

My personal advice is to always tell people to choose what they want to be and then to make themselves into it. Don’t just say you want to be a Web Developer on your resume; start building some websites. Don’t just say you want to build software; write a program or two and showcase them on your resume. The tech field is full of would-be professionals so it’s your job to make yourself stand out and you do that with initiative and experience.

What are some job titles in IT that you’re frequently asked to recruit for, how should resumes be slanted?

Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, Data Sciences, Data Analysis and any other data-focused job. Companies are looking to make sense of and leverage all of the data they’ve been collecting to finally make it work for them in a meaningful way. The problem facing a lot of companies is that the data they’ve gathered for so long is stored in old outdated systems. It’s costly to maintain and frankly, they can barely pull meaningful information out of the data. Getting involved in Data Science and Business Intelligence is a great professional choice. Companies are looking to update their data storage and begin utilizing that data to make important business decisions.

Do you think that it is an ideal time to pursue a career in IT and if so, why?

It’s a great time to get into IT. Tech keeps changing and it’s become such a great, innovative way to solve daily problems. The tech field has really broadened and engaged the daily business user. Just a few years ago, technology was just a way to help run a business but today, technology pushes the business forward. Pursuing a career in technology may be an effort to enhance your career since the field won’t simply disappear overnight but rather, will continue to flourish and become a foundation of many (if not all) businesses moving forward. There are so many possibilities—whether it be in mobile, web tech, security, data sciences or consulting. The possibilities are really limitless for talented professionals.

How much importance do you think employers put on IT certifications? Would you suggest to someone who is searching for an IT job to simultaneously work towards certification?

Definitely, this one of the great IT resume tips. If you don’t have a 4-year degree, pursuing appropriate field certifications may be a great way to get your resume noticed by an employer. Just be sure you do your research and get a solid certification that helps put you in the right role, not just the fastest or least expensive one you can find. Recruiters and hiring managers are definitely interested in jobseekers with the right certifications and credentials, but you’ll still have to back that training up with some real-world knowledge. Being able to translate your training and certifications into real-world solutions for a business is key.

What is the typical interview process for an IT professional? For some positions is a portfolio more important than the resume?

Wow that’s a loaded question. Very simply, the interview process for most employers is different. The best advice I can give is to do your homework and know what your interview company does.  Are they doing a group interview? A multi-hour interview? Or will they call you in for 3 interviews prior to making a decision? Some positions, such as web designers or project managers, do look for portfolios but again, that will depend on the interview team. Always do your research beforehand as best you can and be prepared for whatever curveball comes your way. In technology, you have to go in prepared to stand behind your resume. Don’t make claims about technology that you can’t back up on the spot. For instance, if you say can write .net or java code with the best of ‘em, well, be prepared to sit down and do just that.

Is the recruitment process drastically different depending on which specialty of IT one is in?

Sure. Some positions really do require a lot of face-time with business users, stakeholders, or even external clients. That interview process will be different simply because it will be both your tech skills and your communication skills that will be on display. Can you do a skillful, calm presentation for a CIO (Chief Information Officer) or SVP (Senior Vice President) at a large company? For a heads-down network administrator, the interview will often be all about the tech. Meanwhile, you’ll need to consider the many IT roles that straddle the fence between IT and the Business. Business Analysis, Data Analysis, Project and Program Management are all great examples of IT roles that exist between worlds. If you’re shooting for a career in any of these fields, then you’ll need to prepare yourself to interview not just with IT, but often with your internal business clients as well.

Can you give examples of the questions a potential IT professional might be asked on an interview?

These questions would tend to be very role specific, but a generic format for someone who is experienced sometimes begins to delve into the business value vs. just the tech value of a resource.

  1. What was your personal contribution to your last project? Were there dollars made or saved?
  2. Have you managed, mentored, or led other technical team members?
  3. What size tech environment have you worked in? (A lot of time the size of an environment is crucial. Large enterprise tech companies don’t want to hire someone who has only worked with small amounts of data in a small environment.)

In your experience of founding and building Recruiter.com, what was the role of IT professionals in creating that site?

We were really lucky to identify some new talent just coming into the market from college. We’ve depended on our Tech Extraordinaire for so many pieces of our business that it’s hard to quantify. He runs the daily operations of our site, tests all our new releases, and works with our development team and business team to help design a solid, high performance site. Without our tech teams, Recruiter.com wouldn’t be the awesome site that it is.

In your opinion, how has the internet and sites like yours, Recruiter.com, changed the way IT professionals search for jobs? 

The job search has really become a more and more social experience. Candidates and jobseekers have become much more savvy and much more aware of the type of role and employer they want to work for. Several years ago the trend shifted from walking door to door with your resume but more recently we’re seeing jobseekers do a deep dive on potential employers. They research company culture, atmosphere, and benefits online. They engage with sites like Recruiter.com to get a better idea of salaries, interview styles, and IT resume tips. Recruiter.com lets jobseekers connect and share information so a lot of the cards are in their hands these days, not the hands of the potential employers.

 

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