For several months now, a wave of redundancies has been sweeping through many of the leading tech companies in the US. A situation that could potentially challenge the job security associated with digital professions?
The uncertainty around job security might lead you to question your current and future employability prospects. Have you thought about what you will be doing in 10 years’ time? Will your professional profile still be relevant to recruiters? What will you do to ensure that you will remain in the running?
The issue of remaining current is especially relevant in the tech sector, which is often singled out for being rife with ageism, as well as having a lack of diversity. A recent study undertaken by Accenture shows that 50% of women who begin their careers in tech leave the profession before the age of 35. And only 21% consider the industry an environment where they can flourish!
Generally, in the tech industry, it can be difficult to identify prospects for development, or even the promising sectors with the industry. What will you do after a career of 5, 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years in the sector? Become a manager, remain an individual contributor, start a new entrepreneurial venture, or retrain… the options are limitless! Even if you manage to identify your ideal career path, it is hard to know how to make your professional profile stand out in all circumstances.
To help see things more clearly, and keep on course for greater professional fulfilment, we suggest some actionable strategies for making your professional profile relevant throughout your career!
4 tips to make your professional profile even more attractive to recruiters and HR
Contrary to some received wisdom, once you have completed your initial training and landed your first job, there is no time to rest on your laurels! Professional careers in the tech sector are not usually plain sailing.
According to a study by Hacklet Life magazine of more than 2700 engineers and web developers working in Silicon Valley, more than half of employees change jobs and leave their company after only 2 years.
So, throughout your career, you will be required to attend many interviews, apply for internal promotions or convince future employers that you’re the best person for the job.
As such, it is important to update your CV continuously, to make it as attractive as possible, for all eventualities…
Here are our 4 tips for standing out at every stage of your career!
1. Generalist or specialist: choosing your area of expertise
There are hundreds of different jobs in tech. The industry is so huge and ever-evolving, that there will always be new programming languages or new frameworks to get to know.
To avoid spreading yourself too thinly, and to present coherently to recruiters, you may choose to concentrate on one sector or area of application. This is the best way to develop strong expertise, and stand out from the competition.
As explained by Mohamed Brahim, CTO of Profile Pensions, there are two main types of skills in the tech industry
- Niche skills which are highly specialised;
- Generic skills
As soon as you can, ask yourself whether you want to remain a generalist or choose to specialise. According to Mohamed, "with age, unfortunately, we come up against biases. If a company is looking for generalists, it will often expect to take young new recruits. As tech professionals advance in their careers, the more companies expect to find specialist skills, experiences, expertise..."
Of course, it is always important to remain open-minded and flexible to learning new things. The more skills you have, the easier it will be to progress in your career. But if you are just starting out, it is appropriate to narrow your spectrum of interest and strengthen your skills in the short term.
Make sure to consider major market trends when you are researching which areas to specialise in.
✍️ Our advice: choose an area of expertise that suits you and identify the relevant niche skills in that area. However, at the same time, try not to “lock” yourself in a language that could become obsolete: the challenge is to develop your expertise in engineering techniques that are transferable.
2. Highlighting hard skills and field experience
The main focus for recruiters when scanning your CV is obviously your hard skills. In other words, your technical skills and your depth of knowledge. So, take the time to list all the languages, technologies, tools and types of projects in which you are proficient!
This way you can design your CV as a kind of portfolio. GitHub, for example, is an excellent tool to highlight your experience to recruiters in an easily readable way.
It also has the advantage of helping you to identify the hard skills that you might be missing. And so, you can explore online training or free content to acquire this missing knowledge.
However, be careful not to overdo it... Your CV must be comprehensive, but above all it must faithfully reflect your true abilities. Companies will not hesitate to test your skills during interviews with case studies and live tests. You risk making a bad impression if you claim to be a React whiz when you've only just got to grips with the framework.
Also, as Christian Jennewein, founder of Ciklet, advises, don't forget to take into account informal learning on a daily basis. "What you do on a daily basis, your level of responsibility, the challenges you [have to] face, the technology you [learn], the international team, the intellectual stimulation [by your] management, [...]. .. All of these things can increase your professional value!"
✍️ Our advice: be proactive and do the exercise of listing all the projects you have successfully completed each quarter, noting down skills acquired and the results achieved for each one. The exercise will form a great portfolio which will accompany you at every stage of your career!
3. Valuing your soft skills
Working in tech also means being part of a team. And therefore, being able to collaborate with other people and valuing the group effort.
Soft skills (or behavioural skills) are not limited to team spirit. They encompass many other personality traits valued in the tech industry, such as:
- creativity: the driver of innovation;
- empathy: essential to understand the needs of tech users;
- the power of persuasion: whether it be colleagues, partners or customers;
- adaptability: a useful quality in companies where team structures change frequently;
- ability to listen: knowing how to take feedback from peers (or managers) and then integrate it into your work is a quality highly valued by recruiters;
- clear language (just like in code) to best communicate and collaborate with other teams.
All these qualities are not only demonstrated through your professional experiences. They can also be developed and exemplified by your more personal experiences (travel, hobbies), so include these within your portfolio too.
✍️ Our advice: take the time to list each soft skill you think you have, and note down in detail at least two situations which exemplify where you have used it.
4. Working with a coach
Sometimes, even if you want to, it can be difficult to “face yourself”, to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Self-knowledge is not easy, which is why it can be useful to call on a coach!
As Muriel Cauvin, coach at EDHEC Online, explains, “coaching helps to remove obstacles, to put into words the things that hold us back, that prevent us from moving forward and developing. We try through words and exercises to move on from problems to solutions.”
However, it’s not easy to know who to turn to, what the rates are, or how to find a coach that suits you!
✍️ Our advice: ask your manager or HR manager if there is coaching at your company. Some digital platforms like CoachHub specialize in professional coaching.
4 habits to strengthen your profile and boost your employability every day
Employability is a long-distance race.
Rather than waiting for periods of professional development to refresh your CV, it is best to make the most of daily actions, which will ensure your long-term employability.
Here are our four tips to apply throughout your career!
1. Networking and personal development
Recruiters will systematically scan your presence on social networks before even offering you an interview. As we mentioned, GitHub is a good place to start showcasing your skills and experiences.
At the same time, your network can be a great source of opportunities. Depending on the field you specialise in, platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Discord can make you visible even before you seek to change jobs or roles. According to a Linkedin study, social networks and word of mouth are respectively the second and third most used channels to look for a new job. Additionally, according to the same study, the main way to find a new job is by way of a recommendation. All the more reason to take care of your professional network!
Social networks can be an excellent lever for getting ahead: by developing a professional aura. In this way, they can be useful for getting recognition for your expertise!
In addition, as Mohamed Brahim reminds us, “the most important aspect in tech is to invest in personal development. You have to show curiosity and surround yourself with people who will bring new opportunities!”
✍️ Our advice: get into the habit of posting on the social networks best suited to your industry, and attend Meetups or other events to develop your network!
2. Working on side projects
Nowadays, many people (whether or not they are skilled at web development) start working on side projects. In other words, creative projects that have no connection with their job. For example, consider the case of Guillaume Rozier, a young 25-year-old Data Scientist who founded the “Vite ma dose” website, which enabled thousands of French people to be vaccinated quickly against Covid-19.
Of course, not everyone will win the National Order of Merit for their side project, but it is undeniable that companies are now looking for creative and innovative candidates. A good way to show your initiative is to develop a project in your free time.
This will not only allow you to demonstrate your ability to work independently and to be proactive, it will also give you additional and concrete experience of adapting to challenges which will be invaluable in future projects.
You never know, a side project could become a gateway to professional retraining, or an entrepreneurial adventure!
✍️ Our advice: visit the Makerpad site to find inspiring project ideas and testimonials!
3. Developing good information hygiene
Think about creating a routine for keeping up-to-date with new developments in your area of interest. Indeed, in the world of tech, everything changes very quickly and continuously. It is essential to stay on top of developments in the sector, so as not to be left behind by fast changing developments in technologies that you use on a daily basis.
Many tools exist today to make it easier to keep track. Feedly and Google Alert are just two examples. Then all you have to do is archive the most relevant content on a platform like Notion.
✍️ Our advice: apply the strategy of small steps. Every day, set learning goals for yourself on a specific topic or project and block in time to achieve them!
4. Becoming a lifelong learner
Technology is constantly evolving. So there is always something new to discover, learn and test. The philosophy of a lifelong learner allows you to ensure your employability by identifying each opportunity for learning on a daily basis, whether in your job or in your free time.
Nowadays, there are many online training platforms, often free, which regularly offer bootcamps or stand-alone modules providing training in application development, native languages of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, or even new blockchain business models.
Don’t hesitate to boost your knowledge by learning from your peers. Throughout your career, the people around you are the best sources of support and information that you will have…
✍️ Our advice: treat every experience and project at work as an opportunity to learn something new, and don't forget to make a note of what you learn just as you list the projects you completed each quarter!
In summary: 8 things to remember
1. As your career progresses, the more niche expertise or specialization will be expected of you. But don't forget to keep training.
2. Be proactive and list all the projects you undertake, skills and knowledge you gain, and results you achieve on a regular basis.
3. Don't forget about your soft skills: whether they are developed in your job or in your personal life, your interpersonal skills are essential.
4. Learn to identify personal obstacles and areas for improvement and work on them, perhaps with the help of a coach.
5. Don't underestimate the importance of your network and personal brand in opening doors throughout your career.
6. Side projects are great opportunities to learn new things and raise your profile.
7. Don't neglect your information hygiene: one smart developer has double the value!
8. Seize every opportunity to learn in your profession and continue to train as much as possible.