Four Strategies to Market Yourself Better in Tech

August 3, 2017

In our combined 35+ years of experience as recruiters, there’s one crucial skill that we notice lacking in many tech candidates: knowing how to market yourself. It’s one thing to look great on paper – but being able to get the true value of your accomplishments across in social situations is a whole new ball game. In our industry, we find that technology professionals struggle to talk about themselves clearly and concisely – before we know it, we’re hearing about an algorithm and the candidate has veered off course due to nervousness and discomfort with communicating concisely.

If this sounds like you, or you get sweaty palms just thinking about how to talk about yourself in a professional context, read on to find out what we’ve observed in our experience, and our top tips for success.

  1. Establish an effective elevator pitch

In the tech industry, communication is an integral quality. Development teams always require members who are clear, concise and capable of communicating effectively in a team environment – and demonstrating this capability starts with your elevator pitch. Inevitably, you will always come around to the question of “tell me about yourself” when chatting with industry professionals or potential employers – so you should always have an idea of what to say ready in your back pocket.

Why it matters:

Over the years, we have realized that no matter how far candidates are in their career, being able to explain what they do concisely without rambling can make a dent in their first impression. Be prepared!

What makes an impact:

Share something personal – but not too private. We don’t want to dive into the depths of your personal lives, but learning about things like where you’ve moved from, where you grew up or interesting hobbies help add some personality to the picture you’re painting. Think of your elevator pitch as less than a sales effort, and more of a structured story about yourself.

  1. Look beyond the job description

You read a job description and think – “this is a perfect fit!” Not so fast – let’s pause for a moment. A job is so much more than a list of responsibilities and salary – it comes with a company culture, new management styles and teams. In our experience, we find that candidates who are able to hone in on what is really important to them makes a significant difference in deciding whether a position is really a good fit for what they’re looking for in the long-term.

Why it matters:

This awareness will translate directly into refining your job search and how you talk to others. By being able to identify the kind of company that aligns with your values and personality, recruiters like us are also able to bring those options to you.  For instance, if you value company events and Friday evenings on the patio, we’ll know that a company that isn’t focused on socializing won’t be a good match. Knowing what’s important to you will ultimately guide your job search and conversations down the right path, and help recruiters make the right match.

What makes an impact:

Knowing how to align your preferences with clear examples helps communicate what you’re looking for. For instance, try talking about:

  • Your preferred working style: “I’m an early riser – I love being able to come in early and leave late to get my best work done.”
  • How you feel appreciated: “Receiving a personal note from a manager to let me know I’m doing well helps motivate me to continue accomplishing my goals.”
  1. Conduct a self-assessment

Take stock of where you’re at in your career, your skill set and how you want to grow. In order to market yourself effectively, it’s essential that you dig into what you’re capable of in order to relay that information with clarity in professional contexts.

Why it matters:

No one knows you better than yourself. Bring those skills, courses and experiences to the surface by diving back into what you’ve accomplished. Our most recent work experiences tend to be what we talk about most, but there is great value in evaluating how else you may have been successful, innovative or influential in other times during your career.

What makes an impact:

If you’re finding it challenging to get out of your head, talk to past colleagues and bosses to find out what they remember as particularly memorable about your experience working together. Next, talk to professionals in companies you’re interested in working at and take them out for coffee! By pulling together the pieces of what you can market about yourself and learning what is valued in working environments you want to join, you’ll be able to gain greater clarity and carry out a self-assessment that will help you communicate what you’re capable of effectively.

  1. Don’t forget about your digital profile

Updated your resume? Don’t forget to do the same on your LinkedIn!  How you portray yourself online is as important as what you say in person.

Why it matters:

If your resume and LinkedIn profile don’t mirror each other, that can be a red flag for some potential employers and recruiters. Instead of giving them another reason to consider you, a lack of synchronicity on these pieces could inadvertently put up barrier that could have easily been avoided.

What makes an impact:

Match your positions, titles and dates from your resume to your LinkedIn profile precisely.  Don’t leave others wondering about unfilled gaps and conflicting job descriptions – pay attention to detail across the board, and it will pay off.

Want to learn more about our take on industry news, best practices and common missteps? Read more of our insights here.

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