Blog

5 Soft Skills Essential for a Successful IT Career

The IT industry wants technical skills and in-demand certifications. What candidates often forget, however, is the bonus presented by soft skills. 

Soft skills previously took a back seat to your professional expertise, especially if you offered a particularly hard-to-find qualification. Today, they’re not the core skills that get you hired. 

What are the most useful soft skills for a successful IT career? Here’s what RightStone’s top clients look for in a new hire. 

Communication 

We still think of IT roles as being highly technical. Part of your ability to do the job depends on your ability to communicate. From emails to proposals to leadership, your ability to communicate project parameters is at the heart of your success. 

Collaboration 

Twenty years ago, the right lone wolf developer could have the pick of any job. Today, employers look for developers who have both technical and collaboration skills. 

Being able to work with others is a core skill, particularly when you work remotely. Remote working requires you to work cohesively and allow room for creative thinking from all team members. 

If you can collaborate, you can get your product to market faster — and that’s what employers look for. 

Creativity 

Although learning in IT can be rote, you have the freedom to run once you get beyond the basics. Here, creativity can flourish, and employers look for creative problem-solving skills. After all, it’s not just your ability to create solutions that matter. You need to solve problems in a way that makes the most sense for your unique end users. 

Negotiation 

Your negotiation skills is a soft skill that not only helps you move up the career ladder but have practical day-to-day uses. You can negotiate with clients to coax them into solutions that make the most sense for their business. You can also negotiate with team members to help them make a deadline. 

And of course, you can negotiate your salary, project budget, and duties to help you win the job you want. Employers see your negotiation skills from the beginning, so don’t be afraid to show them off. 

Empathy 

Empathy is a skill that you need in any position if you want to work for, with, or in service of other people. Empathy not only allows you to work more closely with a team, but it can be your superpower by enabling you to take responsibility for yourself and your work. 

If you have empathy, more people want to work with you. 

Do You Have the Soft Skills Employers Want? 

Employers want to know about your experience, portfolio, and certifications. However, an impressive resume isn’t the only thing you need in a competitive job market. You also need the soft skills that employers want. 

After all, technical skills get a project started, but skills collaboration, communication, and empathy get the job done. 

Do you have what employers are looking for? Let us know. Click here to view RightStone’s jobs board


Promoted Over Your Peers? How to Lead a Team of Co-workers

You got the promotion. It comes with new responsibilities and new benefits. However, it also comes with a unique challenge. As the victor, you now need to navigate a new landscape of leading your coworkers, including a few who wanted the job you got. 

The transition from peer to leader all depends on your first few weeks. Here are our best tips to manage your teammates. 

Get Reacquainted as  Leader 

You didn’t get tapped to lead the team because of a fluke. It was your skills combined with the vision that helped you get started. However, your coworkers may not have seen what your boss did. 

Rather than force a transition, ease into it by meeting with your team members and getting reacquainted. Let them know what you see for the seem and ask them for their input. 

Don’t forget to get and reaffirm your co-worker’s pain points. Now that you have the power to make changes, hearing their concerns and suggestions again may give you a new perspective. 

Earn Your Influence 

You were one of the team on Friday, and now it’s Monday, and you’re the team leader. Your team won’t follow your influence just because you had a title change. 

You won the role because your boss believed you would be a good leader. Now is the time to start showing everyone what you can do. Work hard, listen more than you talk, and start working on earning your influence. It will make the smoothest transition into management. 

Set Clear Expectations 

As a team member, you could go to Happy Hours, laugh at the water cooler, and commiserate with your colleagues. While there’s no ‘us’ and ‘them’ when you become a leader, you need to set clear expectations if you want to lead. 

You now need to figure out how to be approachable and friendly without compromising your impartiality. One of the best ways to do this is to be as clear about your work. Be honest about what you’re looking for, and give useful feedback. 

Being open and transparent will transform your colleagues into a team that emulates your influence. 

Be the Leader Your Boss Knew You Could Be 

Managing your coworkers can be awkward, but there was a reason you got the promotion. Your superiors believe in your ability to lead. And that’s just what you need to do. 

While some things do need to change, you just need to keep being you and be as willing to work for your coworkers’ respect as you were willing to work for the promotion. 

Are you looking for your next leadership role?

RightStone is placing highly-skilled candidates into IT leadership roles right now. Get in touch to learn how you could find your next position. 


Ace Your Next Virtual Interview

A few years ago, virtual interviews were the ‘future of recruitment.’ Today, they’re a necessity for employers who want to hire new team members. And if you’re looking for your next role, they are an asset.

Virtual interviews are those that take place using video conferencing technology. They’re not just a glorified phone interview: they allow both parties to parse the nonverbal cues you’d miss over the phone.

Are you staring into the face of yet another virtual interview? Here’s how you can ace it and win your next role.

Prepare Like It’s an In-Person Interview

Virtual interviews are in-person interviews, even if you’re not in the office. So rather than preparing for a preliminary chat like you might with a phone interview, treat it like a normal interview.

What does that mean? Think about potential questions, come up with helpful anecdotes, and write down your questions. You also need to dress the part, so make sure to come in your best business casual (at a minimum).

Test Your Technology Half an Hour Early

You wouldn’t be late for an interview on-site, and you definitely can’t be late for a virtual interview. There’s little leeway for tardiness if you don’t have to leave your house, so make sure you rule out everything that could get in your way beforehand.

The most common reason virtual interviews start late is because of a technology fail. To prevent that from happening, test out your speakers and microphone early. If you’re not familiar with the web conferencing tool, read a quick how-to before the interview starts. 

And if it’s an app, download it earlier in the day. Don’t be caught waiting for it to install when your appointment rolls around!

If you’re having any technical problems or you think there’s an issue on their end, acknowledge it. Don’t be afraid to say you can’t hear or see your interviewer well. It’s better to let them know than to try to fly blind.

Practice Your Pace and Tone

Given the role of the camera, many people focus solely on the video aspect of the interview. While your background, lighting, and appearance are very important, you shouldn’t forget to focus on the audio.

Lag, noise, accents, and other issues make virtual interviews trickier than asking a candidate into the office. To help them out, you should focus on speaking clearly and at a reasonable, natural pace. Use your pauses wisely and use your nonverbal communication to make it clear when you’re finished speaking.

Be Yourself to Ace Your Next Virtual Interview

Virtual interviews are a great way to speed up the recruiting process and save everyone time. They’re not a replacement for a final, in-person interview, but they’re a great substitute, particularly right now as companies try to hire while social distancing.

The best trick for virtual interviews is to treat them like a normal interview and prepare accordingly. Be early, know where you’re going, and above all, be yourself.

Ready to move forward?

Are you on the hunt for your next job? We can help you get there. Get in touch to learn what roles are available.


3 Ways to Demonstrate Confidence in an Interview

Interviews often feel like you have been transported back to high school. You need to go meet new people, your clothes and appearance matter, and no matter how much you study, you still feel nervous before a test.

Just as in high school, confidence is key during an interview. Confidence makes you sound authoritative and can even make you more personable. 

Don’t worry: you don’t need to be confident. You just need to act like it (and ideally know your stuff, too). To help you conquer your first-day-of-school fears, follow these three interview tips.

#1 Make Regular Eye Contact

Eye contact can be one of the hardest things to achieve when you’re nervous, but it is important. If you look at your lap or out the window, you appear as though you’re too anxious or even distracted.

When you prepare for the interview, make sure you practice making eye contact, either with yourself in the mirror or with someone sitting opposite you.

#2 Prepare Questions Ahead of Time

“Do you have any questions for us?” It’s one question you can guarantee will come up, but will you have an answer?

This is perhaps the best opportunity to demonstrate your confidence in an interview because you get to interview them.

You may find it helpful to come up with these questions while researching the company. Make a note of them, and read over the questions in the car before you head into the building to keep them at the forefront of your mind.

Asking the right questions shows them you’re engaged both with the role and with the interview process. It also demonstrates both critical thinking and confidence.

#3 Get Rid of Negative Self Talk

What about your experience makes you least confident? Is it your skills, experience, or even when (or if) if you went to school?

Instead of relating these things in a negative manner, write them down and then re-write them in a positive sentence.

By getting rid of that negative self-talk, you’re less likely to believe it and far less likely to repeat it in an interview.  If you don’t talk negatively about yourself, then you won’t give your interview a reason to think that way about you.

Confidence Wins You New Opportunities

Being confident at a job interview isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s a skill you work on overtime.

Fortunately, a job interview isn’t high school. Your interviewer is judging you based on what you present to them, and you’re in control of that.

Are you looking for your next big opportunity? RightStone can help you ace the interview. Get in touch to learn more about what we do.


Do You Still Need a Cover Letter When Applying to an IT Job

Due to the fact that most IT jobs primarily require a high degree of technical experience and ability, many job candidates in the industry assume that sending a resume to an employer on its own will sufficiently demonstrate their qualifications for a particular role. Resumes, after all, are intended to be clear-cut and straightforward documents that lay out the bare facts of your professional experience and skills.

While resumes are undoubtedly a crucial component that should be included in every job application, they don’t necessarily provide employers with an in-depth feel of an applicant’s character or unique abilities. In order to communicate those qualities, it’s essential to include a cover letter in every application that you submit in your IT job search.

What are the benefits of a cover letter?

As mentioned above, a resume – while very useful – should only be communicating the bare-bones facts of one’s career: work experience, education, technical skills, awards, contact information, and so on. A cover letter, on the other hand, should paint a picture in an employer’s mind of who you are, why you’re passionate about what you do, and how, specifically, your unique background, skills, and experience make you the best possible candidate for the role that you’re applying to.

In other words, it should take the facts that are contained in your resume and turn them into a story about how you’ve come to be who you are and where you are today.

What are the components of the ideal cover letter?

Compared to resumes, cover letters typically require a bit more time, thought, and effort. To simplify things a bit, here are four basic components that should be included in every cover letter:

 

  • Greeting, such as “Dear Mrs. [insert name of hiring manager].

 

  • Body paragraph containing an outline of your experience and the specific reasons why you’re a uniquely good fit for the job.

 

  • Role and Industry-specific keywords placed strategically throughout the letter.

 

  • Appropriate closing, such as “sincerely,” or, “thank you for your consideration.”

 

To learn more about how to format a compelling and effective cover letter, check out some of these templates.

At RightStone, we’re passionate about providing job candidates with the education and resources that they’ll need to advance to the next stage in their careers. To get started on your IT job search, contact us today!


8 Traits that Successful Professionals Show

Every job varies in terms of the skills, abilities, and talents that are required for success. A technical skill that’s absolutely crucial to one role might be completely superfluous to a professional working at a separate job. That said, there are some traits that every highly successful professional possesses, irrespective of their particular role or of the industry that they work in.

By understanding the qualities that are conducive to success in any role, we’ll be much more likely to cultivate those traits within ourselves and thereby make it more likely that we’ll enjoy success in our own careers.

With that in mind, here are eight common traits of highly successful professionals:

1. Discipline.

Before success becomes possible, an individual must learn how to forego impulsive pleasure, concentrate for long periods of time, and never veer from their own standards of excellence. All of this must start with self-discipline.

2. Passion.

Professionals who care deeply about their work and who believe that their goals are worthwhile are much more likely to be successful than those whose commitment to the task is merely lukewarm.

3. Eagerness to learn.

Success requires an ability to consistently update one’s store of knowledge and to adopt alternative points of view.

4. Ability to take risks.

If you’re not willing to take risks, you will remain in the same place.

5. Organization.

As success accumulates, so too does responsibility. Staying on top of a growing number of daily tasks requires an ability to keep things in order over long periods of time.

6. They seek opportunities to learn from the success of others.

No one climbs the ladder of success on their own. There are countless relationships that have to be cultivated and maintained along the way. For every successful professional out there, there are mentors, teachers, and inspirational figures behind the scenes who each played some sort of role in that person’s achievements. The ability to engage with and learn from successful individuals who came before you is crucial to our own thriving.

7. Communication.

If you’re able to communicate in a forthright, confident, and articulate manner, you’re much more likely to clearly express – to yourself and to others – what success actually looks like for you, and what you need to achieve it.

8. They prioritize their health.

Physical and mental health is the foundation for any success story. When we fail to nourish our bodies and our minds, we’re setting ourselves up to encounter serious impediments to success. In order to be successful in our careers, we first have to ensure that we’re getting the diet, rest, exercise, and self-care that we need to be able to perform at our best.

Improvement is an ongoing process, and the actions that we take today determine the degree of success that we’ll enjoy tomorrow. At RightStone, we specialize in providing professionals with the resources that they need to advance in their careers. Contact us today to get started!


4 Mistakes You Should Avoid During Your Next Interview

The interview is arguably the most pivotal phase of the entire hiring process. After a candidate has been deemed to be a potentially good fit for a role based on his or her resume and cover letter, the interview is the chance for applicant and employer alike to determine if there truly is a match between the candidate’s personality, temperament, and ability, with the unique culture of the workplace that they would be entering into. It’s crucial, therefore, for candidates to know what they should expect during a typical interview, and how they should prepare.   

Knowing what to say, what to wear, and how to compose oneself during an interview is one thing; knowing what not to say and what sort of behaviors to avoid is quite another. In this post, we’ll walk you through four common mistakes that you should be careful to avoid in your next job interview. 

1. Failing to familiarize yourself beforehand with your interview.

In most cases, employers and hiring managers will let you know before your interview who it is that you’ll be speaking with once you arrive at your prospective workplace. By taking the time beforehand to read up on your interviewer’s (or interviewers’) profile(s), you will have a better sense going in of which points of your experience you should be sure to touch upon. It will also give you a chance to see if you have any professional connections with your employer that might provide some common ground. 

2. Asking questions with answers that were provided by the job post.

Before you head into an interview, always be sure to study (and study again) the job post or other resources from which you initially learned about the opening job. No job posting will be fully comprehensive in its description of the role and its responsibilities, but they will usually provide you with answers to the most basic questions. If you ask your interviewer questions with obvious answers, that could convey a message that you’re disorganized or unable to do your homework prior to an important meeting. 

3. Failing to dress appropriately.

A candidate showing up to an interview looking scruffy, disheveled, or inappropriately dressed is sending a message that he or she might be equally careless with their work. Showing up to an interview looking groomed and sharp, on the other hand, sends a clear message that you have respect for the interviewer and that you take your professionalism seriously.

4. Being distracted by your phone.

For many of us, glancing at our phones during a conversation has become such a deeply ingrained habit that we tend to do it almost unconsciously. This may be (more or less) okay during a normal social interaction, but it can greatly harm your chances of success during a job interview. Before you go into an interview, be sure to turn your phone off so that you’ll be fully present and undistracted by incoming messages or calls.

At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to find connections that last. If you’re ready to start looking for an exciting new role in IT, check out our jobs page. 


Do You Love Your Job? 3 Signs It May Be Time to Move On

It’s easy to know when you love your job. When you’re happy in your current industry, company, and role, you feel excited and energized at the beginning of each day (or at least most days). You’re able to foster mutually rewarding benefits with your coworkers. And at the end of the day, you tend to feel a genuine sense of satisfaction. Arriving at the realization that we don’t love our jobs, on the other hand, is not nearly as straightforward. In many cases, people might continue working at a job that they don’t enjoy for years, simply because it’s able to provide security and stability. In others, employees might continue to put up with toxic work environments or responsibilities that they don’t enjoy because they imagine that there will be some reward awaiting them in the future which will justify all of their present dissatisfaction. 

There are plenty of tech professionals out there who dislike their current role, but who are hesitant to leave, not least because of the competitive nature of their industry. Sometimes, it’s best to deal with the temporary frustrations and stay put. Other times, it’s time to move on and look for something better.  

Here are three reliable signs that it might be time to leave your current job: 

You don’t feel challenged by your work.

In order to feel satisfied, useful, and engaged at work, it’s important for most of us to be challenged by our roles and responsibilities. Not too much, but enough that we genuinely feel that we’re growing personally, professionally, and intellectually. If you feel that you barely have to put in any real effort in order to be successful at your current job, that’s a reliable sign that your time and energy would be better spent somewhere new.

You often feel sick, tired, or stressed.

There’s a certain amount of stress that will come with the territory of any job. Consistent stress, on the other hand – whether it’s the result of your workload, work environment, boss, or all of the above – can have seriously negative consequences on your physical and mental health. If you start noticing that you’re regularly achy, tired, anxious, or maybe just not always the most pleasant person to engage in conversation, it’s probably not just you – it could be the demands of your current job. 

Employees at your company tend to not stick around for very long.

If you feel satisfied (or maybe you just feel neutral) at your current job, but you start to notice that new faces around the office seem to rapidly come and go, be careful. That’s a reliable sign that there may be some unresolved or unspoken problems at the workplace, and also that there are better places to work that are out there. 

If you’re ready to begin looking for your next role in the IT industry, check out our jobs page. 


Learn What The Top Employers Are Looking For On Your Resume

Your resume is your first real point of contact with any potential employer, the document that will serve as their first impression of your background and suitability for a role. Everyone’s resumes vary depending on their personal experience and skills, but there are some common features that all employers look for in a resume when trying to determine if a candidate is a good fit.

Here are some tips for organizing your resume to increase your chances of having it catch the eye of a potential employer:

Include Industry and Role-Specific Keywords – Top employers typically receive huge numbers of resumes, which they need to have strategies for sifting through. One of the quickest ways for an employer to gauge how well-suited an applicant is for a role is to look for “keywords” on a resume. These are words describing skills, background experience, and knowledge that demonstrate an aptitude for the specific role and industry being applied to. Before you submit your resume, study the job description, company, and industry you’re applying to so that you can add keywords that will grab a hiring manager’s attention.

Watch Out For Embellishing – Most top employers who are trying to fill a role get inundated with resumes that are exaggerated. When a candidate’s resume includes, to the letter, every single required skill that was listed in the job post, that’s a pretty good indicator that that applicant does not possess those skills. When you’re building your resume, make sure not to include skills or expertise that don’t accurately reflect your professional background. When it comes to applying for a new role, it pays to be honest and to use your legitimate skills and background as your selling points.

Communicate the Progress You’ve Achieved in Your Career – When they’re looking at a resume, employers want to be able to tell that a candidate has accomplished some forward progress throughout their career. This will come across from your past job titles and the companies you’ve worked for, but there are other ways of communicating progress as well. When you’re outlining job descriptions for each position you’ve held, be sure to describe the specific responsibilities that you had and the skills that were required for you to be successful. That way, employers will get a much clearer sense of what you’ve learned, how and when you gained those skills, and how they were translated into you excelling throughout your career.

At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to find connections that last. If you’re ready to start looking for an exciting new role in IT, check out our jobs page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How to Write the Perfect IT Cover Letter

In the course of the IT professional’s job search, certain steps can ultimately mean the difference between being selected for an interview and being lost in the crowd. One of the most crucial of these steps is the crafting and submission of strong, compelling, and up-to-date cover letters.

The cover letter is your opportunity to leave a strong impression in the mind of a hiring manager. This document should communicate enough personal information that it creates a comprehensive picture of you, your background, and your experience; but it should not be so long that it leaves recruiters feeling bored. The bottom line is that creating the perfect cover letter is a balancing act; one that requires some knowledge about what, specifically, IT managers are looking for.

With that in mind, let’s explore four crucial steps to drafting the perfect IT cover letter:

  • Draft Your Cover Letter so That it’s Complementary To, Not Duplicative Of, Your Resume – Your resume and your cover letter are two separate documents serving separate purposes, and they should be drafted accordingly. Your resume will delineate the specific roles you’ve had throughout your career, and your cover letter should detail the specific skills that you’ve acquired as a result of working in each role. In other words, your resume should be seen as a more technical document; your cover letter, on the other hand, should describe how your experience has caused you to grow and develop professionally over the years.
  • Don’t Include Too Much Personal Information – Your cover letter should leave hiring managers with a detailed sense of your professional skills and experience. You don’t need to take up too much space discussing your personal or family life (unless that’s specifically requested in the job post). As a general rule, you should stick to elucidating your professional credentials and how they qualify you for a particular role when you’re crafting your cover letter.
  • Tailor Each Cover Letter for the Role You’re Applying For – If you’re submitting a generic cover letter for every role that you apply to, hiring managers will be able to tell. This will not reflect well on your suitability for a role. Before you submit, be sure that you mention somewhere in your cover letter the following pieces of information:
    • The position you’re applying for (this should be mentioned in the first couple of sentences)
    • How you first heard about the job
    • The skills and experience that qualify you for this particular role
  • Be honest – As with any part of the application and interview process, honesty is always the best policy. Your cover letter should focus on your background, experience, skills, and aspirations in as transparent a way as possible. Stating – or even implying – that you have skills that you haven’t developed may benefit you in the short-term, but it will eventually come back to haunt you. Be yourself and sell your merits exactly as they are.

Looking to Grow Your Career?

At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to find connections that last. If you’re ready to start looking for an exciting new role in IT, check out our jobs page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • 4975 Preston Park Blvd #550, Plano, TX 75093
  • 972-895-2555
Military Spouse Employment Partnership Forbes America's Best Temporary Staffing Firms 2020