Feeds

Is the IT industry short on Cobolers? This could be your lucky day

Sometimes a CV needs a few fossils

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Let's make one thing clear: your previous jobs are not the reason why you were hired. You were hired for having skills that bosses need.

People are employed because they are needed to do things that must be done, not because they can do something that is merely desired.

It’s not all bad news. The current Big Data hype means firms are reopening mature stable systems to suck in data. In this case, a “mature” system means that most, if not all, of the programmers who wrote it are long gone, so bosses often need archaeological skills to work out why the hideous old Oracle 3 and VB6 system behaves in a way that mystifies developers who’ve used versions that belong to this century.

Also, headcount freezes and attrition means that the support of some systems has dropped below a level that even Capita would find unacceptable.

What this all adds up to, is that some of the motley collection of skills that you’ve picked up over the years can be more valuable than you think. If you spin them right.

Your CV is wrong

First things first, drop the idea there is a perfect CV, even if you avoid the stupid mistakes I list here. You’re shooting in the dark and taking the time to read this article, which implies you’re not hitting as often as you would like. That means you need a Plan D. Plan A might be Python on top of MongoDB, B might be to go back to the bad old days of using Oracle, and C is to write SQL for whatever people will pay you to drive. Plan D is a shameless pitch to elbow your way in doing things other can’t or won’t do.

I suppose you can try to punt the idea that you’re smart enough to pick any API in a couple of days and since all programming languages either look like Lisp or C none really scare you. But realistically that won’t get your mortgage paid because you already know that the whole recruitment process fixates on having the latest version of the fashionable tech buzzwords and of course every single programmer on the planet is an Extreme Agile Top Down Business Oriented developer. Trust me on this because I read CVs for a living. We both know that when you say your last job was fiveyears where you used Hadoop and MapReduce, the reality is that for over four years you were the last remaining REXX guy, tending an old, critical system on life support. But by not mentioning it you are betting that a casual reader might think you only did the sexy skills. I have to admit that this spin can work, but at the price of that is missing jobs where your fossil skills are wanted.

Upgrade your pandering

A big mistake is only to have one CV that panders to this defective process, you need to pander to it in a more cynical way. Recruiters use keyword matching systems, so when a client says they want someone who knows Excel 4 macros (still in use) that’s what goes into the search field. Nor am I going to kid you that my firm doesn’t do the same - we just have a better search engine, one that lets me type in regular expressions and has a “sort of like” operator.

What no database can tell a recruiter is what you haven’t bothered to tell it. Please don’t tell me that you’re shocked when I say that job ads are spun to make the job look good, so there is a toxic symmetry where they don’t say that they need to migrate from Delphi and you don’t tell them that you know it. Whatever the skills needed, if the process is working properly, then you’ll be competing with people with roughly similar experience and sharing a fossil makes you stand out. Or not; you can’t know which of the jobs your CV gets sent to actually need your legacy skill which is why you need more than one. Fortunately there are still a lot of agencies so you can send a usefully different variant to each one.

That means you need to have multiple CVs, some with bright shiny leading edge buzzwords easily identified out from job ads, but others that include some of the things you think that no one wants.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Looking for a job in Europe? Experienced IT staff needed in UK, Italy and Germany
New graduates need life skills, says Euro Commish report
‘For the love of Pete, America, learn about decent chocolate’
If that's your only gripe about a life in LA, lucky you!
IT JOB OUTSOURCING: Will it ever END?
Let's look at the economics behind it...
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Want to break Netflix? It'll pay you to do the job
'Senior Chaos Engineer' sought to inflict all sorts of nasty, nasty, pain
HOT BABES! Worried you won't get that JOB in IT? MENTION how hot you are
'Don't hate me 'cos I'm beautiful' ploy for sad honeys
Oracle to DBAs: your certification is about to become worthless paper
So hurry up and get a new one, will all of you who took exams for 10g and lower?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.