4 tips to becoming the ideal candidate for any company culture
Updated: May 29
In our premiere episode of Careers and Conversations, we had the opportunity to speak with 3 current technical consultants who came from non-technical backgrounds. During our discussion, we learned of their inspiring personal journeys from backgrounds that varied from retail management to military service. While making a career change, especially into Information Technology, can be difficult and stressful, their insight reminded us that anything is possible with the right attitude.
Despite our panelists’ extremely varied backgrounds, a few common themes emerged that applied across all companies. Employers, especially in I.T., are looking to hire the best people first and train them with the skills later.
The question emerged; What separates the "best people" from everybody else? Why do some succeed while others continue to search for their next career move? Our panelists agreed that it comes to a candidate’s mindset.
A person's attitude and personality is usually the reason they are or are not hired for the job of their dreams. Regardless of where someone is in their career, there is always an opportunity for change and investment in the future. To help you do that, we have compiled 4 core tips that we took away from the conversation with our panelists to help anyone take the first step.
1. Keep a journal
Writing in a journal has evolved from a casual hobby to a daily exercise for the most successful people in business. A personal journal can help to visualize goals, clearly define plans, and document progress along the way. It enables a person to inventory not only what they need but what they can offer to their teams. It is also a sandbox for
creative ideas to be nurtured and encouraged to resolve issues and polish out problems.
"(Having a) clear purpose with clear outcomes is vitally important. Particularly now with a physically disconnected workforce." according to Executive Consultant Steve Salisbury. Journaling is one of the most effective ways one can clarify and define the purpose and goals of their focus.
Journaling, be it for personal or professional reasons, has been proven to positively affect a persons health. Journaling may help reduce stress, improve the immune system, boost mood, strengthen emotional functions, and keep the memory sharp. In fact, the benefits that journaling has on memory is so strong that academics from Harvard Medical School have been recommending it for years.
2. Use your network
A personal network can be the best tool in a candidate’s job search journey. We ask our friends and family, both online and in-person, for restaurant testimonials, music suggestions, and mechanic recommendations. All too often, though, we fail to reach out when searching for a job.
Today's social media landscape makes it easier than ever to connect with not only friends and family but people with similar interests. Professionally, LinkedIn is the most obvious resource for this, but it's far from the only one. Communities of like-minded individuals come together to discuss every subject imaginable. For nearly any topic, there is a LinkedIn group, Facebook page, Twitter hashtag, or Reddit forum dedicated to it, to name a few. Additionally, there are dedicated Q&A sites such as Quora or technology-specific platforms like Github or Stack Overflow. There is no shortage of options for resources on the job search.
3. Ask lots of questions
"Without a good question, a good answer has no place to start"
- Clayton Christensen
People value the importance of asking questions. The person who shows the confidence to admit they don’t know the answer but are ready to learn will be
appreciated more than the silent observer. If you never ask the question, you'll never know the answer. Why then is it that so many are afraid to ask?
Because nobody wants to look stupid.
The problem with that mindset is that it keeps a person guessing in the dark. If you never ask, you'll never know, which is a guaranteed way to stay uninformed. Fear is the only thing standing between your current self and a more knowledgeable version of you.
Frequently, peers and coworkers are often wondering the answer to the exact question that you might ask. Not only will they appreciate your initiative, but leaders will recognize your inquisitive nature as a strong personality trait. They understand that the person asking the questions is paying attention, is interested in the topic, and is eager to grow.
4. Research companies
Start with the basics. Learn what they do, where they're located, and who runs the show. Then dive deeper. Learn about their purpose in business?
What are their mission or vision statements? Read the latest press release.
Were there new products or procedures recently announced?
What are their competitors doing? What's currently trending in their specific industry?
People like to be proud of where they work. They're often excited about the latest company news. For a candidate to have that kind of shared knowledge can make interviewing much easier and enjoyable. It makes great conversation starters when
starting on a new team. Learning about a company’s latest initiatives, their social outreach, or new product development is an investment in your future
Much like asking questions, it also shows you're excited about the company. It shows that you're interested in what the team is doing and that you're ambitious enough to learn for yourself. Hiring managers and team members often talk about finding "the right fit" for their unique company culture. Taking the initiative to learn about the business before-hand goes a long way towards this.
Becoming the "best fit" candidate takes work.
With these 4 tips, you'll be well on your way to setting yourself apart. We're grateful for the time and insight our consultants shared with us and hope you are as well!
Join us for our premiere of Careers and Conversations where we will discuss how to navigate a career change successfully with a non-traditional background.
Careers and Conversations:
Looking for a career change? Consider a job in I.T.
Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
About the Company:
Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.
Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Data Science
Robotics/Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.
Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunity employer.