I’m looking for work as a QA Tester/software developer but haven’t worked in my field in about three years due to family management issues. I’ve had numerous telephone interviews for developer positions but unfortunately, all these recruiters say the same thing – my skills are out of date – and they don’t even test me! Please can you help me with this horrible feeling of being expired?
Signed: IT Expiry dates (ITED)
It is critical that you keep your technical skills current and up-to-date in all fields, and even more so in the Information Technology (IT) industry, senior recruiter and leading HR professional at IT firm QA Consultants, Gavriel Levy, advises. Levy offers the following advice that can help you return to the labour market in your profession:
In the IT industry there is, generally, a two-year expiry date for a skill being current and marketable. It is imperative that you are always up-to-date with the latest and newest software and technology out there in your field. Learn it and use it even if you are not working, or even if it’s not directly related to your exact career goal. All new technology impacts your job and career; in this knowledge-based economy, it’s critical to keep learning and growing.
Create your own projects and practise the new skills.
Find online courses that can teach you the technology. Try to find a training course online or a manual or guide video on YouTube. Sometimes you can download the software for free for a one-month trial. Play with the new tools until you learn them. Add this project and skill set to your resume as soon as possible, even if you are developing for your friends or family. Until you are proficient with the new skill, you can write “Familiar with ERP software,” for example, in the technical skills section of your resume.
Use social media.
Go online to find the latest technical knowledge and skills required in your field. Join groups on LinkedIn. Target companies and people to follow on social media so you can keep current with the latest and greatest. Engage in dialogue in these groups. Follow companies and people on Twitter. Create Google Alerts so you always gathering current information in your field.
Keep building your professional network.
Even when you find a job, as with learning, networking is continuous; it never stops. Continue meeting professionals in your field at work or outside. Conferences, trade shows, associations and trade magazines are other sources for keeping current, and for building your network.
Don’t oversell or undersell your technical skills in the resume, or in the interview. You will be tested. Be specific with your areas of expertise and let the employer know that you will be able to learn any new technology quickly. If your technical skills are outdated, it’s an opportunity for you to prove to any interviewer that you have excellent communication skills by stating that you are a self-directed learner and that most of your technologies and skills, were learned independently. This is a great marketing feature and benefit for any hiring manager who values communication and interpersonal skills above and beyond the technical skills that need upgrading.