Many students make the mistake of thinking that they’ll have recruiters falling at their feet when they graduate. Truth be told, IT isn’t as specialised as it used to be. There are far more people entering the industry than there were ten years ago, and not enough jobs to go around. If you’re about to venture into the job market, these four tips will help…

1. Keep Your Digital Footprint Under Control

Every time we sign up to a new website, post updates on social media and respond to comments, we are adding to our digital footprint. Even when we’re browsing the web on smart phones our behaviours, interactions and activities leave behind metadata that can be collected and stored. This information is often quantified, usually by corporate entities, in order to promote a product or service. This information can also have serious consequences to your job prospects. So before you start sending out CVs, search the Internet of anything harmful that could be found by recruiters, and if you find anything, get rid of it. Better yet, don’t post controversial, questionable comments/pictures/material in the first place!

2. Be Truthful About Your Abilities

The world of technology is moving at an extremely fast rate. Top of the line hardware and software often goes out of date within years, sometimes months, along with the user’s ability to navigate it. If you haven’t been active in your field for a while, chances are, you’re knowledge will be lacking. Most employers know and understand that there will be a learning curve. While they may expect you to have special skills within a particular sector, or a qualification that demonstrates your abilities, you shouldn’t worry too much about whether or not your skill set is up-to-date. Lie and it will come back to haunt you – the last thing you want on your first day of work is to be caught running through tutorials on Expert Village.

3. Keep Metrics Quantifiable

If you have experience managing budgets and can demonstrate measurable results from anything that could have a quantifiable figure, don’t be broad. For example, stating that you “significantly increased search engine traffic” or that you have “experience managing large client budgets” means nothing. Instead state, “Increased search engine traffic by 300%” or “Experience managing multi-million pound client accounts.” That said, if your previous accomplishment aren’t particularly noteworthy when quantified, leave them out altogether. Dishonesty is a symptom of low self confidence, and if you make claims that you can’t verify or will send you into a state of panic, then employers will see through the facade.

4. Never Lie About Past Misconduct

We all make mistakes. If you have a criminal record, don’t hide it. Most employers will use a disclosure & barring service to check your history. If you omit details from it, they will find out. Employers and recruiters aren’t actively looking for convictions, and most will be able to determine whether or not a particular issue is worth factoring in to their decision. Be frank and honest if you have a blemish on your record and it shouldn’t hold you back.