Does Alma Mater Matter? Not So Much, Say CIOs

Robert Half Technology Shares Tips for Highlighting What Matters Most on the Hunt for a Job

TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - As students head back to class this fall, they should try to obtain real-world experience, in addition to their diplomas, if they want to make the grade with employers, a Robert Half Technology suggests. Fifty-one per cent of CIOs said they prioritize skills and experience over college degrees when making hiring decisions. Another 32 per cent said they place a little weight on the prestige of a job applicant's university when evaluating job applicants; only 10 per cent are heavily influenced by an impressive alma mater

The survey is based on more than 270 interviews with CIOs from a random sample of Canadian companies. Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, "When evaluating a candidate for an IT position, what value do you place on the prestige of their college or university?"

I place a little weight on university prestige


I place a lot of weight on university prestige


University prestige doesn't matter to me


I place more weight on skills and experience than on whether or not a candidate attended college/university


Don't know




"When recruiting top talent, IT employers prioritize a candidate's ability to demonstrate the practical application of skills over education," said Deborah Bottineau, Senior Regional Manager of Robert Half Technology. "Although a quality education establishes a foundation, applicants who have real-world IT experience are better able to transition into a role with less ramp-up time."

Robert Half Technology offers these four suggestions for showcasing real-word experience on the job hunt:

  1. Explain your learning process. What resources have you used to build your skills? For example, if you are a developer, are you active in any developer communities, or have you taken part in hackathons?
  2. Show off your projects. Have you designed an app? A website? A software product? Come to the interview prepared to share examples of your own work.
  3. Discuss experience earned in the 'real world.' A potential employer should hear about any relevant internships, volunteer opportunities, and part-time or project work you have completed. Explain not only what you did in those roles but also how you made a difference.
  4. Shine a spotlight on your soft skills. Many employers are looking for technology professionals who can bring both technical and nontechnical skills to the job. Calling attention to communication, project management, problem-solving and similar skills could set you apart from other candidates.

About Robert Half Technology
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at Follow Robert Half Technology at or visit our technology blog at

SOURCE: Robert Half Technology

For further information: Naz Araghian, 416.350.2330 ext. 62132,


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