Why Wait?

You have an IT project to get done. You know it has to get done. It can’t wait any longer…or can it? You’ll need to figure out who in the department can get it done and still do the regular day-to-day tasks. You’ll have to figure out the time line for completing the project. Will your current staff have the expertise it takes to get ‘er done while adhering to the aforementioned time line? Upper management might tell you to hold off. Times are tough, right? Sales is down and money is not easy to come by. How do you justify getting the project done now? Let the boss know that you can get well-qualified help and save money on bill rates if you get it done now versus waiting.

Variable cost is one solution to the problem. You spend money now and make up the savings over time.

a contractor costs $65/hr x 3months (480hrs) = $31200.00 (total burden).
permanent hire, same qualifications – $77k plus benefits per year, don’t forget unemployment insurance, taxes, cost of posting ad, sifting through 25-50 resumes, 10-15 phone screens, 5-10 first interviews, 3-5 second interviews and the cost of the staff, from HR to the IT Team, taking time out to do that screening.

All you’re trying to do is get a project done, will you need the person long-term? How do you justify that to the boss? Contract-to-hire may be a good way to assess the need.

Another cost-saving consideration is the economy. Consider the scenario above. A 3month project, and people are willing to take less pay. Does that mean the person has depreciated or lost skills? No way.

a contractor costs $65 60/hr (saving $5/hr) x 3months (480hrs) = $31200.00 $28800.00(total burden). That’s almost $3000.00, and they’re better qualified because not everyone is hiring great people right now!

That’s almost 10% savings if you do it now rather than wait, AND the better qualified person is available now. In one year that person may not only be at a higher cost, but they may not even be available for project/contract work. In a year you’ll end up settling for someone at a higher rate and less experience. That’s no good.

Yes, it’s tough. Everyone knows it, but save the money now when it comes to IT projects. It will benefit you and your organization. We’re in business to earn money, and sometimes we don’t know how to take advantage in a down economy. This is just one way.

Show Your Enthusiasm

I have actually had job interviews and the manager said they passed on hiring me because I didn’t seem interested in the job. Can you believe that? Well, that’s what they told me. So what are you supposed to do? How about performing a cart wheel when you enter the room. Holy cow, look out, here comes the legs, BAM! That won’t work.

You go out on the Internet, do a search for interview questions, and all that comes up are examples of what questions you should be aware of when being the interviewee. Helpful? Yes. Why do I bring this up? Well, one way to show your interest in a job is to ask questions! How many times have you left an interview, gone home and had your spouse or friend ask, “how did the interview go”? Shouldn’t you be able to tell them a lot of details? Shouldn’t you be aware of the details so you can be sure that you are not only qualified for the position, but also want the position?

I tell people to have at least 10 questions prepared for the interview. Many line managers will summarize many things about the company and the position so at the end of the interview, when they ask if you have any questions, you’ll actually have some questions that have not already been answered.

Here are some example questions you can use when you go in to an interview. Some are 101 level. Some may be answered by viewing the company website, but it’s ok to elaborate. So if you notice on the corporate website that there are 3 addresses/locations for the company, you may want to ask what departments are at each location or how it’s dispersed.

How long has the position been open?
Why is the position open?
What is a normal day like?
How big is the department or team of people I’d be working with on a daily basis?
What has been the year over year growth of the company?
Who are the two biggest competitors of the company?
Who would I be answering to on a daily basis?
What type of training is involved for the role?
How many locations does the company have?
How many employees does the company have?
What is the day to day dress code?
What is the daily start and end times for work?
How is the department organized?
What is the biggest challenge within the department? ie meeting goals, things change so maybe its adaptability, etc
What is the biggest challenge that will be or has been encountered for this role?
Who has been there the longest in the department?
Who has been there the shortest amount of time in the department?
Who is the all-star in the department and what makes them stand out? This will tell you who you should seek out as a mentor.
Does the company have any company staff events? Bowling team, etc.
How often is feedback given, ie reviews, performance evals, etc?
What initiatives would you like to accomplish within the department in the next year, 5 years, etc?
Are any new department-level initiatives underway?
How many applicants have you had for the position?
How many applicants have you interviewed for the position?
When do you hope to have someone actually working in the position?
Based on our interaction, do you find me a viable candidate for the role?

Mileage may vary. Feel free to share questions you have found valuable, add it via a comment!

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9 Tips: Take Control of Your IT Career When Facing Layoffs

With unemployment rates at their highest level in six years and layoffs planned at some of the biggest companies, tech workers are feeling anxious about their jobs and powerless in the face of economic uncertainty. Two IT staffing experts offer some empowering advice for all IT workers.

read more | digg story

Job Search-Resume Part 1

I hated writing a resume. I never know what to include or how to convey my work history. I’m sure I’m not the only one that shares the same feelings.

I have reviewed a lot of resumes and I’ll try to provide some useful tips. Mileage may vary. The goal in this post is to spur ideas on content and not physical format. I’ll provide an example to view. Just connect the dots.

Address Line

At the top should be your personal information to include name, phone number, address, and email address. A no brainer, right? I have had people have list wrong phone numbers, and quirky email addresses. Stud69@hotmail.com is not something that should be listed on a professional document. So make sure you have one that doesn’t speak to the personal side of your life. Also, I find people that put everything one line after the other centered in the middle of the page.

Example 1:

Sean Kelley
123 Main St, Madison, WI
Phone: 555.555.5555
email: good_email@yahoo.com

The above is good, but you’re using a couple lines more than you need. Try this for an alternative

Example 2:

Sean Kelley
123 Main St · 555.555.5555 · good_email@yahoo.com

I think you can see the benefits, no?


I tend to not look at an objective. There hard to write and can be covered with a decent cover letter. You’re applying to an IT job and “you’re seeking an interesting and challenging career as an IT professional” no kidding. Nuke it.


What goes next as you go down the page depends on your experience and background. If you have little IT experience you’ll want to list IT skills, certs, or formal education-if it the area of study is IT. If you have IT experience I would then start with work experience.

Work Experience

Always list experience starting with your most recent. Company name, role/title and dates of employment should be here as well as bullets regarding the job.

The bullets should include quantifyable results. This won’t happen for every job and for every bullet, but it’s something to keep in mind. Anything you can list that either says you saved the employer time or money goes a long way. Many people list duties and responsibilities. Much of that is what people in the IT industry already knows given the role you’ve listed. Think outside the box a bit.

Make sure you make it clear when you relate to numbers or quantity. It’s easy to say you took over 50 calls per day when working a help desk job, but is that good or bad? Some places may think that’s nothing, so make sure you let the person know what that means. You can do that by using comparisons.


-Handled an average 50 calls per day when the department average was 25 per day.

That’s someone that’s doing more work than the average person. You can word it any way you want, but you get the idea.

So ask yourself “so what?” You managed Windows Servers. Did you manage 50 servers or 5?

I think this gives you a starting point. Next we’ll provide some sample layouts and some additional comments on resume content.