Ooqio Spotlight: Standing Out From the Tech Crowd with Viri Technology

How can a mobile app developer stand out in the crowded marketplace? How can a project manager ensure he doesn’t get lost in a sea of developer roles? To answer these questions and more, we turned to Chris Bloomquist, computer engineer and partner at Viri Technology.

Chris has a long history of serving clients like Expedia and the Walt Disney Internet Group, and knows what it takes to make a candidate shine.

Chris Bloomquist viri technologyTechnology job candidates aren’t always the most into networking. How can someone in this field stay on top of the best job opportunities, even if he or she’s not an aggressive networker?

It’s all about putting yourself out there, and not necessarily just from a social standpoint. For example, a person in technology might have a profile on GitHub. If so, it needs to be filled with up-to-date information and a modern portfolio. If it’s outdated, your GitHub profile can actually hurt your chances.

You can also put yourself out there by contributing to appropriate technology communities online. For example, a Python developer might go on a forum and answer questions people are asking about Python. Become viewed as an expert in whatever it is you do.

Finally, have a robust, accurate and current LinkedIn profile. Don’t just have a headshot and your job title; all of the fields should be completely filled out. It should be like a subset of your resume.

You can add up to 50 unique skills on LinkedIn, so you should max this out. If you’re currently job searching, have something on your profile like “currently seeking X opportunities in the Seattle area.” Advertise that you want to be found.

There are so many niche areas in the technology field. Someone who’s a master at software development might not necessarily excel at project management, and so on. How can a candidate make their particular skills shine?

If you’re good at what you do, you’re going to get spammed with opportunities that aren’t a good fit. It’s part of the process.

To combat this, unless you have an absolutely urgent need to get a job, I wouldn’t recommend posting your resume to national job boards like Monster or Dice. I would only use those to search and apply for jobs, not to advertise that you’re available.

Also, be a specialist. These days, to say that you’re a software engineer is almost irrelevant. It’s like saying “I’m a writer.” What kind of writer are you? What kind of software engineering do you do? You have to be uniquely narrow, for example, “I’m a C++ Linux software engineer with five years of experience working with large scale infrastructure.”

Broad is bad in technology. When a client comes to me, they’re looking for someone to get it EXACTLY right. Clients want specialists, so market yourself in your resume as being that exact fit.

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What are some of the most common mistakes candidates make that disqualify them from landing a great position?

It seems obvious, but make sure you know exactly what job you’re interviewing for.

If you’re job searching, you’ve probably applied for 25, 50, or however many similar jobs. But when you talk with a company for the first time, you need to go in like they’re the best damn company in the world and the job is the best thing since sliced bread.

Be prepared to say things like “I like this position for these three reasons. I’ve read such-and-such about your company, and this is why I’m interested.” Come prepared to play ball.

People sometimes give excuses for not preparing properly, like “I’m only semi interested in the job.” Well, first of all, why are you wasting your time? And second, you never really know until the conversation happens. You can only reject an offer you get. You want that opportunity to decide!

Finally, do your homework when applying. Have the job description next to your resume and tailor your resume to match the skills they’re looking for. Talk about your job experience in a story format that’s interesting.

Have three to five open-ended questions about the position prepared. If you want to know something, ask! Remember, you are as interested in qualifying them as they are in qualifying you. If you get the job, you’re going to spend more time with these people than your family and friends, so don’t you want to make sure it’s a good fit?

As we look to the close of 2016 and the year ahead, what are you looking forward to?

My firm and I have been asked to lead a series of panelists for Seattle Startup Week November 14-18. I’m leading three different panels on what startup culture looks like, with panelists from Fortune 500 companies that are trying to breed startup culture, people from human resources departments and more. I’m excited to emcee those.

We’re also expanding. We just hired a very senior level technical recruiter, have moved offices to accommodate our expansion, and are looking onward and upward for 2017.

Viri Technology is an IT recruiting firm made up of a team of highly experienced technology industry professionals. For more information, visit ViriTechnology.com.

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