Ace your tech job search: Essential tips for entry-level candidates

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Settle in, tech aficionados! The realm of technology is dynamic, exhilarating, and let’s face it, a bit bewildering. You’re on the cusp of diving headfirst into the tech industry, but where do you begin? What do recruiters really want from an entry-level candidate? We’ve got you covered. 

“Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” – Alan Kay

So, you’re fresh out of college, or perhaps you’ve just completed an intensive coding boot camp. Now, you’re ready to take on the world… or at least, that’s what you thought until you saw the mountain of job postings and the infinite number of applicants. 

The tech industry: A sea of opportunity

At first glance, you might assume that the tech industry is brimming to the point of oversaturation. But here’s an inside scoop that not many realise: a saturated market signifies a high demand as well. In our modern world, there isn’t a single company that can thrive without the aid of technology. 

It’s not about the scarcity of opportunities; it’s about having the eagerness to spot them. More importantly, it’s about arming ourselves with the necessary skills and knowledge, ensuring that we are the perfect fit to seize these opportunities when they present themselves. 

Let’s decode the tech job market, discover what employers are really looking for, and explore how to stand out in an entry-level IT role. So buckle up, your tech career is about to take off!

1. Understand what recruiters look for 

First stop on your tech job journey? Understanding what recruiters in the IT field are hunting for. It’s not just about knowing your Java from your Python, it’s about pairing those technical skills with key soft skills. Companies desire team players who can communicate, problem-solve and adapt in an ever-evolving tech landscape. 

If you’re poised on the starting blocks of your tech job hunt, it’s perfectly natural to do your homework and seek advice from those who’ve already navigated the tech job maze. But here’s the thing – these people can only share insights based on their own personal journey, and let’s face it, your path might look quite different. Instead, consider seeking wisdom from the HR specialists in IT – the actual decision-makers who’ve seen a sea of candidates. 

Allow me to illustrate. You’re likely to glean more valuable insights from a blog post titled “What to look for in a frontend web developer CV for your company” than one that reads “What to add in your frontend developer CV”. The first option gives you a sneak peek into the mind of a recruiter, the person holding the reins of decision-making. On the other hand, the latter offers insights from a candidate who may (or may not) have struck gold, but their experience is relatively limited.

With that in mind, here are some top-notch resources, where you can gain valuable insights into the recruiter’s world, helping you understand what they look for in an IT candidate: 


YouTube Channels 

  • A YouTube channel with a wealth of videos on recruitment strategies, including IT roles.
  • The Big Game Hunter TV: Managed by Jeff Altman, a seasoned IT recruiter, this channel offers numerous tips to both recruiters and candidates.


  • The Recruiting Future Podcast: This podcast features interviews with global leaders in the recruitment industry, offering a goldmine of information.
  • WorkTrends: A podcast discussing future trends in recruitment, including the IT industry.

Knowledge is power. Understanding the recruiter’s perspective can help you tailor your approach, making you stand out from the throng of IT job seekers.

Tailor your CV to each role 

One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to CVs. You need to tailor your CV for each role you apply to, highlighting relevant skills and experience. And don’t forget, there’s more to a CV than just work history – projects, certifications, and even relevant hobbies can demonstrate your passion and aptitude for tech. 

It’s become commonplace for recruiters to leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in scanning loads of CVs from a sea of candidates. They filter tons of CV through AI, so, if you’re not tailoring your CV to the vacancy, you won’t even pass the first filter. Given this high-tech approach, you too should harness the potential of AI to fine-tune your CV, ensuring it makes the cut. Let’s level up the playing field, shall we? 

I’m pretty confident that you’ve heard of ChatGPT, these are some key points that AI could help you to tailor your CV to every vacancy you apply:

  1. Highlight Your Relevant Experience
  2. Emphasize Technical Proficiencies
  3. Showcase Transferable Skills
  4. Customize Your Professional Summary
  5. Focus on Achievements and Impact
  6. Address Key Responsibilities
  7. Use Relevant Keywords
  8. Match Educational Qualifications
  9. Tailor the Professional Experience Section
  10. Personalize Your Cover Letter

3. Nail the interview 

By adhering to the initial two tips, you’ve already laid the groundwork for a successful journey to the interview stage. You may feel a flutter of panic – that’s totally okay! Human Resources recruiters anticipate these jitters, especially in entry-level candidates. It’s entirely normal, so don’t stress too much. However, remember that keeping your cool will only bolster your chances. 

It’s crucial to do a deep-dive into the company’s background before your interview. Get a feel for the technology they utilise – a little LinkedIn sleuthing could help you glean this information from current employees. It’s equally important to familiarise yourself with the company’s culture – understanding and aligning with its values could give you an edge. 

Don’t forget, technical tests are part and parcel of the tech job hiring process. They’re a way to assess your tech acumen, so be sure to prepare diligently for this portion of the interview.

To help you ace your technical tests, here are some stellar resources that sharpen your skills: 

  • HackerRank: Practice coding skills, take part in coding contests and even get hired through their job board.
  • Codecademy: An interactive platform that offers free coding classes in various IT disciplines.
  • LeetCode: A platform for preparation and improvement of coding skills through solving problems with different levels of difficulty.
  • Codewars: Achieve code mastery through challenges known as “Kata”.

Remember, practice makes perfect. These tools will help you become more comfortable with problem-solving and coding under timed conditions, just like in a real tech job interview.

And there you have it – three essential tips to catapult your tech job hunt: practising technical skills, showcasing soft skills, and improving your digital presence. Like everything worthwhile, it’s going to take consistency and discipline. But trust me, it’s worth it. 

Don’t feel disheartened by rejection, it’s par for the course. Remember, every ‘no’ brings you one step closer to that coveted ‘yes’. You’re bound to face a fair share of no’s, but it’s all part of the journey. It’s not just about landing the job; it’s also about growing professionally and personally. 

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson

So there you go, ready to conquer the tech world. Follow these tips, stay determined, and soon enough, you’ll secure your first tech job. Here’s to your success in the world of tech!

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