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1Make your Resume a Living, Breathing Document

Rich Braun, CEO of Delphi-US, an IT staffing and recruitment firm based out of Newport, RI, says job seekers need to tailor their resume to each job. “Make your resume a living, breathing document,” Braun advises. “Read the job description in detail and then properly construct it to fit the job and highlight relevant experience.”

2Use Social Media to Land a Job

When searching for a new position, it’s not only about public job boards like anymore. “Sites like LinkedIn are great for the passive job seeker,” says Braun. LinkedIn lists thousands of jobs. Identify the right opportunity, and, then tap your network to get introduced through a mutual connection. Also, staying in your industry’s loop by setting up a blog and tweeting about trends moulds you into a thought leader. Once that happens, certifications become less important.

3Referrals and Networking

Reputation speaks louder than paper. “The best way to find a job is always to get a reference from someone who respects you,” says Braun. If a well-respected employee makes a call, your certification-or lack of-becomes less important. Reach out and beef-up the number of recommendations on LinkedIn to work the relationships of your peers and former managers.

4Don’t Make Excuses

Have a reason for why you don’t have the required certification, but not an excuse, Braun advises. Jobseekers that dismiss IT certifications with excuses like, “it’s just a piece of paper,” come off looking bad. “It can seem like sour grapes,” says Braun. Instead, tell the truth-perhaps former employers did not pay for certifications or you have been focusing on your career. Point to your resume and extensive experience as proof of qualification.

5Work with Recruiters

Don’t just wait until you’re out of a job to call a recruiter. “Forge relationships with two or three recruiters you click with,” Braun says. Recruiters have close, personal relationships with hiring managers. That means a direct phone call from your recruiter can often get you the interview, even if you don’t have the paper required in the job listing.

6Free Education for IT Certifications

Just because you don’t have that certification now, does not mean you should not go for it. If you’ve been laid off, some state schools like the University of Rhode Island offer free tuition for skills-based classes that count toward certifications. Take a look at your state’s policies and see if there is an affordable way to build your resume while you search for your next gig.