Mark Dyson is the founder of the award-winning blog and podcast, "The Voice of Job Seekers."
We recently checked in with him to get his insight on job seeking in the tech industry. Here's what Mark shared:
Can you talk about your background and interest in helping job seekers?
I started a resume company first, now dissolved, but the spirit of my blog, The Voice of Job Seekers was born out of humanizing the job search, the family struggle during the recession, and bringing the gospel of sound career advice.
The career space needed a holistic voice sometimes to talk about life, marriage and the struggle of finding inclusive career aspirations as opposed to exclusive, which has ended many marriages.
I felt job seekers' pain and expressed it through career advice. I experimented with using the joy and pain from experience and infused it with sound career advice.
How should individuals approach their job hunt today? What should a job seekers strategy be to land the right job quickly?
Job seekers can find jobs quickly when they remain engaged in the job search. Constant networking in person and social media will change your perspective quickly as you incessantly ride industry trends. This will prevent underemployment and the worry of layoffs being immenent. In addition to more seamless transitions to future jobs, you will lessen the chance of being excluded because you lack the latest skills. The skills gap is real, and technology is changing too fast to rely on classrooms to keep up.
What are the most common mistakes you see individuals make when trying to find a new job?
The first mistake from all the information we've learned in the past several years is the disengagement from the global job market upon finding a new job. Your next job search begins the days approaching your new training while learning about your new opportunity. Are you joining industry organizations? Are you reading the same journals, articles, and blogs everyone in your industry is engaging?
The second mistake is not networking with the best accessible teachers/experts to you. Not networking at all is damaging, but not networking with people who lead the charge somewhere (yes, they call them thought leaders) can stifle your career. Not only as an intentional networking strategy, but you'll learn faster from the best if anything just by watching. The rate of absorbing new information will be exhausting, but it will increase access to opportunities coming your way.
What are the must-have tools for job seekers today? What should they be using to help their search?
LinkedIn and a personal website are the most powerful tools available to job seekers. While LinkedIn harbors your networking possibilities and career advice, a personal website, in my view is the only place where you control 100 percent of your brand. Tech professionals should be controlling his or her brand through their website. It's the best place to tell your story in ways to show your personality (companies are still hiring humans you know) and amplify your accomplishments, results and impact.
What is the market for tech jobs right now?
One of my sons just graduated from college in English, but he's eyeing the tech industry to transfer his skills to a grad school program I thought was pretty cool. Having said that, it doesn't matter what the undergrad degree is in, tech and your special transferable skills could land you in some equitable and progressive careers.
What types of tech positions are in demand?
Mobile and security are the magic words these days. Mobile app development is not just the now, but the future. I suggested in a recent article that everyone on a job search or not could have his or her own app, especially if you have a website. Can you imagine a former employer downloading your app because they admire your career? It's possible. There are services available to build your app without knowing the code. The caveat is knowing the code to make it functional, thus the expense. The mobile field keeps growing faster than weeds to the point of colleges falling behind the trends so far, and more jobs are being created faster than the technology to train new tech professionals.
Security almost goes without saying and I'm afraid to know what are the latest trends are these days. But security must be mobile to protect a very precious asset: The mobile device.
How can those seeking tech positions make themselves more attractive to potential employers?
Three words come to mind: Mobility, visibility and agility.
Mobility: We're constantly on the move, and now there's no excuse for our tech tools to move with us. You can apply for a job from anywhere, and you can fix problems from anywhere.
Agility: You can pivot in your career as well as your life anytime without missing a beat. You can also learn new skills quicker than ever, but the call to prove competency may come at a moment's notice.
Visibility: Again, your personal website will still make you stand out. It's assurance and insurance of career longevity. Few people will start it, but you can be part of the conversation because of continual activity.
What advice do you find yourself repeating over and over again to those who are frustrated by their job search?
Your resume is not a magic potion, it doesn't move mountains, nor does having one get you hired. But networking disrupts the process because then the recruiter or employer is interested because of someone's word or testimony. So get referred or get rejected.
What trends are you following in the job searching industry today?
There are several trends I am watching.
- One is tech as it pertains to mobile apps. I am constantly looking for mobile tools to help hack the ability to apply to jobs or use as leverage to get noticed and stand out.
- I am watching and advocating for the raise of the minimum wage nationwide.
- I hope to see the gender pay gap close in spite of furious opposition.
- I am starting to read and write about the effects of unconscious bias in hiring. More to come.
Looking for more information on landing a job in IT? Read "What To Do When You're Desperate For an IT Job."