The IT contract market today is extremely competitive in Canada. While some regions have more openings than others, and some skills are in higher demand than others, there are very few, if any, people who can be confident enough in their abilities that they can simply apply to a job and wait for an offer. If you're in the habit of submitting a generic resume to a job posting or a recruiter and then waiting for the phone to ring, then you're probably not getting many phone calls. In fact, a recruiter may not even call you for future opportunities because you're perceived as unwilling to do your part in the submission process. Staffing agencies work hard to get you in front of a client and sell your skills, but to truly be successful, you need to meet us half way and be involved in that submission. Here are a few examples of what you can do to get involved and increase your odds of a win:
Communicate and participate with your recruiter throughout the process.
Understand that you are competing against up to 30 people.
Understand the project, line of business, and industry you are applying to.
Do not make the mistake of assuming a cover letter or summary replaces the need to highlight the necessary skills IN your resume.
Know the job description inside out. If there are "must-haves" make sure your resume highlights your experience accordingly.
In fact, make sure all relevant requirements are highlighted in your resume.
Avoid generalities where possible. Target the specific job with your skills and experience that are relevant to the job, company, project, and business line.
Sell Yourself!! You have the skills, now work with your recruiter on a winning presentation of you skills.
Part of the process of selling your skills is determining a fair and competitive market rate. This is not the only factor determining your selection but a MAJOR factor. Work with the experts in the market to determine what that rate is.
When you work closely with a recruiter and provide them with more information, they are better able to sell your skills. A recruiter will also remember your commitment and want to work with you on future contracts, meaning you'll start getting phone calls before job openings are even posted! How do you work with your recruiters? Have you had any positive or negative experiences you'd like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.