How to Prepare For and Land an IT Job in the DC Area
So you’re moving to the DC area, have a background in IT and would like to find a tech job in DC? Congratulations as you begin this new adventure! Like any move, it is bound to be wrought with a certain amount of trepidation, curiosity and eager anticipation of the possibilities it holds for you.
You may be wondering how to find technology jobs in the DC area, With the right kind of guided and informed research — there’s nothing to stop you landing an amazing IT job in the greater Washington DC area be it downtown DC or Northern Virginia
How to Find an IT Job in Washington DC
Living in the nation’s capital, one would expect to find plenty of information technology jobs in the DC area, right? Yes. However, developing a strategy to land the right one is strongly advised. For a specialized tech job, you may be vying against a select handful of fully cleared IT candidates, or dozens of CS majors.. So before sending out your resume randomly, a good roadmap is essential:
- Know Where to Look
Make sure you search on job sites that are pertinent to your specific interests. While there are numerous popular job sites, there are also many specialized, more local-interest job sites. There are job sites for executives and others for entry level programmers. There are job sites operated by online and print newspapers and there are sites run by private interest groups. Most IT companies in Washington DC will post jobs on their own company website.
A good place to begin when looking for a tech job in Washington DC, is to research which companies have consistently performed well in the local media’s top 50 Companies to work for — and why. Washingtonian Magazine’s 2017 list of Great Places to Work, employs a range of industry standards that include an organization’s benefits packages and compensation, work/life balance, employee development opportunities and the organization’s contribution to its local community.
Being named a great place to work recognizes a company’s ongoing commitment to its growing team and its drive to create a positive, supportive work environment for all staff. Many of the companies featured in this publication, are some of the best IT companies in DC to work for.
Which job site is the right one for you can be as overwhelming as applying for a job. Start with the basics, the area and field of specialization you are interested in, and the companies that come out on top in terms of employee benefits, career opportunities and development – especially as it pertains to the best IT companies in DC to work for. A little local research can go a long way.
- Using Your Connections and Social Networking
Remember that college roommate who now works in DC? How about any family connections in the DC area? Time to contact them to touch base. If you are outside of the DC area when you begin your initial job search, you can pick their brains on the best IT or IT consulting companies in the DC area to work for.
If close connections don’t work in technically-oriented fields, it is likely they have contacts who do and can start using them to your advantage. You can also check out friends’ LinkedIn accounts. You may just find one or two potential connections lurking there — introduce yourself!
If you already live in the DC area, consider joining a technical interest group or user group. These groups of tech professionals typically gather to share presentations on the latest innovations and skill tips. Moreover, such meetings often advertise the latest job opportunities. Joining one or more of these groups gets your name and interests known, and can only enhance your professional development.
A simple search on Google will uncover many such groups in your area of interest.
- Update Your Resume
Sure, this is job search 101 — but it pays off. Make sure your professional portfolio has a prominent spot in your resume. Be sure to highlight your particular skills and certifications in a noteworthy manner. Typically, HR will scan your resume before it is reviewed by the company’s hiring committee. Therefore, it is advisable to act on any directives given you by HR to optimize your resume and enhance your chances of getting hired.
Seeking job application advice from your current company’s HR personnel is not recommended, as this would be tantamount to disclosing your decision to leave. A wiser move would be to check out this article “How Do I Get My IT Resume Noticed?”.
No one knows your experience better than you. Make sure it’s updated and professionally presented in your most current resume before clicking “send.”
- Explore the “Step-in-the-Door” Temporary/Contract Positions
If your quest to land the right job in the DC area is proving arduous, it might be worthwhile to apply for temporary jobs or contract positions. Companies do not like to see long employment gaps on a resume, unless you can properly explain them, and temporary positions may hold the promise to that lucrative step in the door.
If you can survive on that “rainy day” savings account for a while, you might consider volunteering your talents with a non-profit organization. This way you keep your skills sharp and a position may open up as a result of your efforts. Alternately, such organizations may have connections they would be willing to share with you. If your skill set is on the weaker side, perhaps take an entry-level tech position and learn. Your company may be willing to sponsor classes or your participation at a tech conference. Showing them you are eager to learn and take on new responsibilities, is invariably a winner.
Hopefully, these tips will help you locate the perfect tech job in the DC area. Now it is your turn to land it! Persevere, be patient, believe in yourself and don’t slack on the networking that is required. Be open to new and exciting possibilities, and be confident in your skillset. Persevere, and undoubtedly, you will find the right job for you — at one of the most progressive, award-winning IT companies in the DC area.