It’s important that anyone seeking a job in IT does everything they possibly can to enhance their prospects of obtaining a new role. One proven way of improving job prospects is CPD – Continuous Professional Development.  Essentially, CPD is the term used for consistently improving and working on an individual skillset, so that the potential employee can fit back into the working environment without needing additional training or hours of mentoring time. It’s not hard to see why this would be appealing to an employer.

CPD as an IT professional.

For those unsure about how to go about integrating CPD into their professional life, then these tips should help:

Firstly, it’s important to look at some of the primary skills in the industry and focus on learning those.  One of the biggest mistakes that many job hunters make is taking on a certification that’s irrelevant to the sector they last worked in.  For instance, if they were working in the ICT industry and were made redundant, then obtaining a certification in Italian might look good on the CV, but a qualification in SQL Servers will be far more likely to actually lead to a job opportunity.  It will simply mean they’re more useful to potential employers.

For IT business analysts with a training fund, there is the possibility of further skills development through graduate or postgraduate level courses. Most universities have course advisors that can help candidates choose the most appropriate course of study, so it's worth making contact with them or with a recruitment agency who can advise on current industry shortages and training opportunities.

Online CPD resources for IT professionals.

Secondly, if trying to save money whilst they job hunt (a sensible move), then the web offers a whole host of free resources designed to help people learn new skills at no cost. YouTube, in particular, is a good source of free lessons on everything from building websites in Wordpress to networking. Once a new skill has been learned, it can be added to the CV, even if it hasn’t been used professionally – the applicant will still be able to demonstrate to any potential employer that they have this skill, after all.

Keeping your knowledge fresh.

Thirdly, applicants should always ensure that even when they are between jobs, they constantly keep themselves up-to-date with developments in the industry. For sectors such as IT, it is vital to continue to read up and learn about new systems and techniques in order to continue to present as a skilled candidate with a committed attitude. Employers are less likely to hire someone if they think they’ll need to spend the first six months training them on the latest changes in the sector.  Any applicant should always be ready to converse with potential employers regarding the up-to-date technology within the industry and should check in with IT recruitment agencies to see if there are any particular skills that are in demand.

Get a mentor.

Finally, they should make sure that wherever possible, they work with a mentor.  Whilst a great deal can be learned by courses, some jobs are so unique that easily the most effective way to excel at them becomes to learn from a person who is highly experienced in performing the role.  For instance, if an applicant is seeking to become a business analyst – or they already are one and want to improve – then there is no substitute for constantly communicating with someone who is already in that role, and has years of experience that they can then share. They’ll be able to provide advice on the pitfalls of certain tactics, how best to manage projects and how to minimise potential errors.