Where the Jobs Are: More High-Tech Trends

Last month, we talked about some buzz worthy technologies including big data, cloud, business intelligence and mobility. This month, we’re continuing our tech talk with some more high-tech sectors that are seeing tremendous growth. Here’s what you need to know:

Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is huge. More and more companies are gaining momentum and fighting tooth and nail for a piece of the pie. Stand-alone technologies such as Marketo and HubSpot have become commonplace within overworked marketing departments. Even large marketing logistics providers are offering solutions that automate the process.

The idea here is to do more with less. Moving campaign management to a single dashboard takes the busy work out of the equation, allowing teams to be more streamlined and strategic. Marketing automation also allows for more targeted communication and performance tracking.

Life Sciences
Life sciences can be applied to anything from pharmaceuticals to the food industry. And you don’t necessarily have to be a traditional scientist to break into this field. From management to sales and technology, there is a wealth of opportunities.

In Massachusetts, the industry is exploding. A 2013 report by the Boston Foundation found the state’s life sciences industry growing at a faster pace than any other­ industry. And with GE moving their Healthcare Life Sciences headquarters to the Commonwealth early next year, more jobs are expected to follow.

Security
With networks being hacked and databases expanding faster than ever before, IT security professionals are in high demand. In fact, the industry is growing at a rate of 24 percent every year, according to Forbes.

The need expands beyond software and computing firms. Think of industries like healthcare and financial, where sensitive data is constantly being collected. IT executive Shan Fowler tells TechRepublic that security is important to “every company, regardless of industry…because technology touches every aspect of an organization.”

Looking for a sales position in any of the industries we talked about? Check out our featured positions or contact us.

Where the Jobs are: Top High-Tech Trends

Big data. Cloud. Business intelligence. Mobility. These buzzwords are not only trending among technophiles, but with employers too. These industries are experiencing rapid growth and employers are jumping at the chance to fill vacant spots with qualified candidates. Here’s what you need to know:

Big Data
As databases fill up with more and more information, high-tech companies are scrambling for ways to compile, process and store this valuable data. Different leaders offer different solutions: IBM has FlashSystems, Microsoft has StorSimple, Oracle has its own solution, and the list goes on. As the storage wars continue among competitors, data scientists are reaping the benefits. Gartner estimates that by next year, there will be more than 4 million positions up for grabs.

Cloud Computing
For the past few years, we’ve seen the demand for cloud architects steadily rise. Big data is partly responsible for this trend. With cloud computing, companies can manage their entire network remotely, cutting down on hardware and operating costs. High-tech heavy hitters like SAP, IBM and Cisco are leading the way – providing solutions many firms are adopting in a race to virtualize their IT environments.

Mobility
From mobile developers to IT professionals, Mashable ranked mobility as one of the hottest tech jobs on the market this year. With more business being conducted on the go, mobile technology is a must. Whether we’re talking laptops, smart phones or tablets, all the moving pieces must be secure and run smoothly. As devices are upgraded and new applications are released, companies are often playing catch up to stay current, furthering the need for mobile technology experts.

Business Analytics
With all this stored data, companies want a smart way to crunch the numbers. Business analytics, often used interchangeably with business intelligence or BI, uses information like demographics, sales figures and buying habits to develop insights that can be used to improve processes, drive revenue, even fight crime and disease. So, who are these analytics experts? Stacy Blanchard from Accenture Analytics tells InformationWeek that “they’re typically statisticians who are deep into data modeling, they’re close to the technology, and know the right algorithms to use with the data available.”

Don’t have a STEM background? Not a problem. Matt McGraw, CEO of high-tech recruiting agency TheLions, told Mashable “sales development is perhaps the best opportunity for non-engineers to get into startups with a $100,000 career track.”

Next month we’ll continue our deep dive with more industry trends, including marketing automation solutions, life sciences and security. For now, check out what’s trending in IT.

I’m Not Old: 5 Tips for the Seasoned Candidate

When asked about her age, a friend of mine always replies, “I feel young so my actual age is irrelevant.” If only you could put that as your birth date on a job application. The fact is, as much as we’d like to think people don’t judge candidates based on age, we know that many times employers do. Here are some smart ways to fight ageism in the workforce:

You are experienced. Walk into that interview with your head held high.
This isn’t your first rodeo. You know how to sell a prospect; what gets a contract signed and what gets you in the door. You can lead others and mentor a younger team that will relish your experience and learn from it.

Technology is your friend.
LinkedIn – utilize it. Mastering this tool debunks the theory that only young folks know how to use social media. LinkedIn is the ideal place to showcase your impressive experience. Reach out to previous employers and peers to write recommendations on your behalf. You can build a vast network because you’ve been in the workforce for years. With a comprehensive profile, you’ll garner the attention you deserve.

Time is on your side.
Most likely, your children are grown or nearly there so your personal demands are lighter than younger professionals. Not that you want to work all the time, but knowing you are available can be a big bonus for a potential employer.

You’re efficient.
You know how to do your job; you’ve been doing it for years. You get to work on time and stay until the job is done. Being older doesn’t mean you are slower, just smarter than those who are less experienced and most likely less efficient. You can get your job done quickly because you know what works and what doesn’t.

You’re happy.
You know what makes you happy. You don’t need your employer to provide cocktail hours, counseling or field days at the workplace. You’ve already found happiness in your work, your home life and other things that fill your days.

Now stop feeling like a dinosaur and embrace who you really are – a knowledgeable, seasoned professional!

Teller or Seller? Traits of Successful Salespeople

Much has been written about what characteristics make a successful salesperson.  Without reading any of the common discourse, you might guess some of the more obvious traits: motivation, ambition and determination. We conducted our own research in an effort to avoid reiterating the obvious and stumbled upon an insightful article by Terri Levine entitled “The Top Ten Ways to Know You are a Teller or a Seller.” Levine, a sales and marketing business coach, argues that the distinction is crucial. We challenge you to consider – are you a teller or a seller?

Tellers vs. Sellers
Give information Leave decision to the prospect
Present features Translate features into benefits
Avoid rejection Risk rejection
Try to win by showing knowledge Win by closing sales
Use rational level Use rational and emotional levels
Reactive Proactive
Want structure & stability Accept uncertainty as the norm
Identify needs Identify wants AND needs
Everyone comes to your door You go to everyone’s door

Whether you’re a salesperson looking for employment or an employer looking to increase or improve the quality of your sales force, consider how Levine defines a seller. If you need help finding the right seller for your team, we can help.

Good Help is Hard to Keep: 3 Ways to Make Them Stay

Turnover is notoriously high in IT. With 42 percent of technology professionals jumping ship, it’s no wonder employers are scrambling to find stable candidates. Here are three tips employers can use to hold on to their talent:

Start Early

According to a CareerBuilder webinar, retention today begins before a candidate is hired; it actually starts when a candidates researches your company, and goes through the application and interview process. About 43 percent of professionals say a job description didn’t match the position.

To get in front of these obstacles, be transparent about the company, the job, requirements and expectations.

Gain Insight

For your current employees, pick their brain. Scott Hebner, VP of social business at IBM says this year “we’ll begin to see organizations tapping social and behavioral data to better understand what is important to employees, what motivates them, why they stay with an organization.” This goes beyond the standard employee survey.

Establish an employment engagement strategy if you don’t already have one. Meet with employees individually and as a group on a regular basis. This will help you understand problems before they arise and create a culture where feedback is welcome.

Take Action

According to this Deloitte report, the main reason employees quit is because of their direct boss. Secondary reasons include better pay, opportunities for growth and being recognized for their efforts, according to CareerBuilder. So, as an employer, what can you do about it?

Let’s start with something simple: praise. Signs of appreciation – from verbal recognition to earning rewards for a job well done – can motivate employees and help with retention.

Professional development is also important. When employees are not challenged or learning something new, they become disengaged with their current role and start looking elsewhere to fill this void. Even when a promotion is not an option, there are creative ways to keep employees enthusiastic. Giving your people access to industry conferences, relevant courses and the ability to work on different projects can be what makes them stick around.

Finally, we land on the topic of money. 88 percent of workers say increasing salaries is the best way to boost retention. You may have to pony up the dough to keep your top performers happily working for you. If your budget doesn’t allow for bonuses and/or raises, talk to your employees and find out if there are other perks that would compensate for the lack of pay. Perhaps beefing up your benefits package or offering flexible schedules would suffice. In the end, if your compensation package is not competitive, you may just have to take the loss.

Do you think employee retention is an issue? How do you keep talent in-house? Share your comments below.

Tech Trends Candidates and Employers Need to Know

Good news for you techies. There is no shortage of jobs in technology. It is one of the few fields where unemployment is in decline and salaries are steadily increasing. In fact, tech consultant pay has hit an all-time high.

Right now, the areas in which we’re seeing the most demand are security, advanced manufacturing, cyber-physical systems, marketing automation, business intelligence, ERP and analytics.

Silicon Valley is not the only place you can find these jobs. The East Coast is teeming with high-tech jobs right now. My home state of Pennsylvania is a hotbed for healthcare IT while three other major East Coast cities ranked in the top 10 for tech startups.

With a larger pool of openings, it’s a job seeker’s market. What does that mean for hiring managers? You’re going to need to put in more effort to find “the one.” The right candidate isn’t going to walk through the door, you’ll need to go out and find him or her. With so few tech professionals out of work, you’ll likely have to incentivize someone to leave their current company. Recruiters can help you comb through their network and social media to find the perfect hire quickly.

While the going is good for IT now, will it stay that way? Dice claims lots of talented professionals have been rendered immobile due to a housing market that has yet to pick up. And according to Beyond.com, universities are experiencing a shortage of STEM grads, which means fewer qualified candidates to go around.

What are your thoughts about the current state of the industry? Leave us a comment below.

Having trouble finding high-tech sales talent? We can help.

From Fired to Hired: 5 Tips for the Recently Unemployed

So you got fired. While it’s natural to feel like a failure, don’t. There are plenty of successful people who have been in your shoes – Oprah, Walt Disney; even Steve Jobs was fired from his own company!

During her commencement speech at Wake Forest University, Jill Abramson, the recently ousted executive editor of the New York Times, recalled something her father used to say. “It meant more…to see us deal with a setback and try to bounce back, than watch how we handled our success.” Makes sense.

What matters now is how you overcome this hurdle. With the right approach, you can end up in a better position than before. Here’s how you can start turning things around.

Make Nice

However tempting, don’t burn any bridges. You want the reputation that precedes you to be a positive one. Keep the lines of communication open with colleagues. You never know when you’ll work with them again.

Get Praise

Line up your references; you’re going to need them. Round up at least three good ones. If possible, make one of those from your most recent employer – even if they weren’t your direct supervisor. This should help dispel any negativity surrounding your recent dismissal.

Work On Yourself

This is a good moment to reflect. Are there things you can do to make yourself a better professional? Whether it’s taking a class, achieving a new certification or refining your presentation skills, now is the time to do it. Who knows? It could pave the way to your next job.

Look Good On Paper

And online. And in person. Polish your resume and social media profiles. You don’t have to start explaining employment gaps just yet. Be ready for interviews. Dust off that power suit and practice running through typical interview questions – including why you left your last job.

Get Out

Hit the pavement. Let it be known that you’re looking. Don’t be ashamed. Leverage social media. Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, clients and recruiters – anyone who can help you find a job. Try to meet in person. Network over coffee, lunch or happy hour. Remember, your next job offer will come from someone, not some job board.

Looking for a recruiter to help you land a new high-tech sales role? Contact us.

Setting Yourself Up For Social Media Success

Did you know that over 60 percent of IT hiring managers screened their job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines, according to a CareerBuilder study? While it’s common sense to keep your social media profiles business casual, are you maximizing your professional online presence? Here’s how to leverage the top social media outlets to your advantage.

LinkedIn

Whether you’re hiring or being hired, professionals use LinkedIn as their go-to informal screening tool. So, first impressions are crucial. First, make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. Get and give some endorsements and recommendations. This should fill in any gaps that can cause an eyesore. Then, grow your network. Follow companies and thought leaders in your field and connect with colleagues and clients from your past and present. Join some industry groups and engage in discussions. Make a post from time to time. You don’t necessarily need to frequent LinkedIn every day, but at least make sure all your information is up to date and you have a profile picture. People like to see there is a real person behind all those qualifications.

Twitter

While Twitter may seem confusing (hashtags, at signs and those darn 140-character limits), it’s actually a great resource to aggregate up-to-the-minute (seconds, really) media in your industry. Like LinkedIn, you can follow thought leaders and companies that interest you and organize them by lists. Twitter gives you the opportunity to become a thought leader yourself and grow your own list of followers. If this is your intent, it’s imperative you stay active tweeting and retweeting. You won’t attract any new followers with a stale feed.

Facebook

If your intent is to keep Facebook strictly for fun, take some precautions. Make sure your profile and cover photos are presentable – those are public. Check your privacy settings and set them so that only you and/or your friends can see your posts. You can also limit who can search for your profile or ask to become your friend. You should also review all the posts you are tagged in before they are posted to your timeline.

More Social Media

If you have other social media profiles, such as Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, make sure they paint a positive portrait of you as well. You can turn on your privacy setting in Instagram and Twitter to screen potential followers. Beyond saving face, you can develop your own professional portfolio website and/or blog to bolster your online presence. Just remember, social media is there to help you be a better professional but it’s okay to have a little fun with it too.

Are you on LinkedIn? Connect with me.

Overcoming Long-term Employment Gaps

Spent a prolonged time out of the work force? The reasons can range from voluntary – like taking time off to be a stay-at-home parent or travel – to involuntary – such as dealing with a medical emergency or being laid off. While it may seem undesirable, your gap in employment doesn’t mean you’re unhirable. Here are three ways you can close the gap.

On paper

You can do a bit of visual trickery to your CV/resume to downplay gaps in employment. Enter the years you were employed, rather than using the standard month/year format. You can also use a smaller font size and not bold your employment dates. Some candidates with extended unemployment find that structuring their resumes functionally, rather than chronologically, help with filling in holes. By focusing on accomplishments and skills, rather than the amount of time spent at a job, they’re able to highlight attributes that attract hiring managers. It’s also perfectly acceptable to only focus on the past 10-15 years and omit any unrelated work experience.

Online

Leverage social media as much as you can. The more bait you put out there, the better your chances of reeling in an interview. LinkedIn is great because it’s essentially another outlet for your CV/resume – and recruiters often use it to fish for talent. LinkedIn does use a chronological, month/date format to showcase work experience, which doesn’t help with long unemployment gaps. But, you can plug up holes by explaining what you did during that time. If you were a homemaker, say it. If you volunteered, write that down. There are marketable skills, such as budgeting, management and teamwork, that are applicable for many jobs.

In person

Chances are, you probably won’t be asked about an unemployment gap that’s under six months. If you are asked about your unemployment gap at the interview, don’t skirt around the issue. Just be natural, direct and brief in your response. Then, swiftly move on to the next topic of conversation.

Need some reassurance that a gap in employment will result in automatic rejection? James Caan, a successful entrepreneur and business thought leader recently said, “I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual — if they haven’t been in work for a while but have the quality my company needs, I will hire them.”

Were you out of work for a while? Do you have any tips to share about getting back to work? We’d love to hear from you.

 

5 Ways to Make Working From Home Work for You

Global Workplace Analytics estimates over 3 million American workers telecommute at least part-time. The high-tech sector is no stranger to this trend. In fact, I’m part of that statistic. While there are some obvious benefits (Who misses rush hour traffic?), there are some challenges. Here’s how I make my home office work for me.

1. Make room and reduce clutter

Designate an area in your home for work-related duties only. Whether it’s an entire bedroom or a desk in the corner of your apartment – consider this area your own office. Remove distractions – like piles of laundry and unopened mail – and simplify your space. Check out this creative way to keep pesky cords out of sight. Consider cleaning up your virtual workspace too. De-cluttering your desktop and organizing folders will help you work more efficiently.

2. Get comfortable but not too much

Working from home allows you to get in your comfort zone, but make sure to rein it in sometimes. Get out of your pajamas and into some comfortable day clothes. Sit in an ergonomic chair and position your monitor and keyboard to promote good posture. Let in natural light whenever possible to brighten the room – and your mood.

3. Make a schedule and stick to it

One of the pitfalls of working from home is that you will end up working around the clock. Stop the madness! Make your own business hours, factoring in breaks, and don’t allow personal distractions to keep you from your tasks. Resist the temptation of checking work emails or making client calls outside of those hours. When you’re off the clock, you’re off the clock.

4. Take a break or two or three

Periodic breaks keep your mind fresh and actually make you more productive. Go out for lunch; pause for a cup of Joe; take a walk. Just be sure not to go over your allotted break time so that you can still remain on schedule.

5. Change it up when you need to

We’re creatures of habit, so a change of scenery from time to time may be what you need to get in gear. If you feel like you’re in a rut, get out of the house and work from your local coffee shop or library. Find an office space you can share with other telecommuters. Even just moving your home office furniture around can provide the inspiration you need to make it through the workweek.

Do you work remotely? Tell us how you make the most of your home office.