Entry Level Candidates
Entry level candidates are commonly defined as those professionals with four years of working experience or less. Our recruiters surveyed say the best candidates in this category should have a bachelor’s degree and ideally technical certifications relevant to their specific field, such as A+, MSCE, CCNA/CCNP, or Oracle Professional. However, if you don’t have a degree, Moberg says you should be prepared to explain what experience you have to compensate, whether it’s an internship or skills learned from a previous position.
If you are looking for your first job in the technology field, just over 90 percent of recruiters said the majority of jobs available at the entry level can include work in desktop support, help desk, or administration. These positions may provide the necessary experience you will need throughout your technology career and may also help you land your next job opportunity.
"Our clients will always need desktop and administrative people," says Moberg. "If you are getting into a large enterprise organization this is a great way to get your foot in the door."
Once you are ready to take the next step in your career, recruiters will expect you to have between five and seven years experience. An overwhelming 83 percent of our recruiters surveyed also say experience with enterprise level clients is important at the mid-career level, no matter what size company you want to work for in the future.
"Enterprise level companies want proof that you are able to work with a larger infrastructure and complex organization," says Moberg. Candidates with enterprise level experience are also a hot commodity for smaller companies who want to grow their business.
While it is important to have experience with a large organization or infrastructure, recruiters typically look for that experience without gaps of unemployment. Before the recession, recruiters would likely overlook candidates who went without a job for months at a time. In 2011 though, recruiters now say they are more forgiving.
"We take unemployment gaps into consideration, but people still need to be able to show a constant career course," says Moberg. "At this point you are likely an expert at something, so you have to be able to take 60 seconds to brag about yourself and tell the recruiter why they should consider you, over others in the running for the same job."
If you have been without a job for three months or more, Moberg says it’s important to get back into the game. Be flexible on your commute or willing to take a salary cut, but also let your recruiter know your career goals for getting back on the path to success.
Senior Level Candidates
With seven or more years of experience, most recruiters would classify you as a senior level candidate. Recruiters surveyed not only expect senior level candidates to be an expert in their certifications, but these candidates should also have extensive experience in the software development life-cycle.
"They should have been a part of the design, analysis, development, and testing at this point," says Moberg. "They should be able to talk to the business owners and the tech guys who speak in code."
Additionally, senior level candidates should be comfortable with social media platforms more than any other career level. Fifty-five percent of Kforce recruiters said they actively look for information on experience, past employment, and referrals on social media sites. At this level, recruiters use LinkedIn as a way to qualify which candidates are the best fit for a job, but Moberg says candidates can also use social media to their own advantage.
"For example, they can go on the Java webpage on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter and get the latest news on different technologies and keep their skills up-to-date," adds Moberg. While a senior level candidate may not have experience with a particular version of software, this can show a recruiter or employer that the candidate is knowledgeable on the latest updates, even if they have been out of work for an extended period of time.
Andrew Moberg is an Online Sourcing Manager for Kforce Inc., a professional staffing and solutions firm providing flexible and permanent staffing solutions in the skill areas of technology, finance & accounting and health and life sciences. Andrew is responsible for the development, implementation and administration of the Firm’s talent identification programs.