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How Social Media Can Revolutionize Your Job Search

How Social Media Can Revolutionize Your Job Search

social mediaMost hires are made due to a personal connection made through friends, coworkers, or recruiters — but today, many of these relationships take place online more than they do in person. That’s where social media comes in. By using the right online networks to connect with the people who matter most to your job hunt, you’ll find great opportunities, speed up your search, and have the potential to land a better gig than you could have the old-fashioned way.

What will social media do to your job search?

Easily build up your network of contacts and keep in touch.

Bye-bye Rolodex, hello Twitter. Keep up to date with your professional contacts online to let them know what you’re working on — and to share your success stories.

Let your network know exactly what you’re looking for.

The first step to getting what you want is asking for it. Post a brief, casual, professional-sounding note to your network of choice. Somebody out there might just be able to hook you up with a great opportunity.

Learn about the people who will be interviewing you.

A little due diligence on LinkedIn goes a long way. While you don’t want to seem like a stalker (that’s why sticking to LinkedIn is a good idea), you can learn the relevant facts about your interviewers, making you seem extra prepared.

Prove your expertise online.

Answering questions on websites like Quora.com or LinkedIn.com show that you have a wealth of knowledge and the generosity to share. That’s a very good thing when an employer looks you up online.

Get valuable information about the companies where you’d love to work.

By following companies you admire, you’ll learn more about how they do business — and how they hire. Some companies only post job openings to their social media accounts, so be sure not to miss them!

 

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

 

Brian Tracy’s Newest Book, UNcommon

Brian Tracy’s Newest Book, UNcommon

Brian Tracy has teamed with Stephen Van Vreede and several leading experts from various industries to release the new book, “UNcommon,” by CelebrityPress.uncommon the book with stephen van vreede

(Don’t Miss the Exclusive Offer Below!)

Stephen Van Vreede, Founder of ITtechExec, has joined a select group of business experts and entrepreneurs from around the world, along with best-selling author and business development expert Brian Tracy, to publish UNcommon: Common Sense but Uncommon Knowledge from ​Today’s ​Leading ​Entrepreneurs and ​P​rofessionals to ​Help ​You ​L​ead an ​Extraordinary ​Life of ​Health, ​Wealth and ​Success with CelebrityPress™. The book hit stores June 11, 2015.

Brian Tracy career adviceHere’s an overview of the book:

“While Common Sense has been noted to be in short supply, and Uncommon Knowledge hard to come by, the Celebrity Experts in this book have combined the two to produce high rates of success in their fields. If you are looking to accomplish personal, worthy goals, a helping hand will get you there faster. In addition, a mentor will invariably get you there at less cost than if you try to make your own way, helping you to avoid the errors that may be time-consuming or costly, or both. Succeeding requires the attributes of hard work, sound planning, action, and perseverance–while combining common sense and uncommon knowledge as part of the process.”

For his part, Technical Resume Writer & Job Search Strategist, Stephen Van Vreede, focuses on the concept of “corporate entrepreneurship” in today’s world of work and how important it is for the professional of today to take a page out of the entrepreneur’s playbook when it comes to career progression and advancement.

Of course you can do it on your own. The point is you no longer have to!

Exclusive Offer When You Order Your Copy of the Book

Get a free Technical Recruiter Directory ($75 value) and an Autographed Hardcover Copy (signed by Stephen) of the Book for Only $24.95! 

Get a listing of 1350+ U.S.-based technical recruiters complete with names and physical/email addresses when you order an autographed copy of the hardcover book. (The book will be shipped to you, but the directory will be available for immediate download.)

**This offer lasts until my limited supply of the book runs out!**

Click Here to Order Your Signed Hardcover Copy of UNcommon for $24.95 with Free Technical Recruiter Directory

Stephen Van Vreede

 Want the eBook Instead?

You can download the ebook here (available in pdf format) for only $4.99:

Get the eBook Version of UNcommon for $4.99 Here

 Just Want a Free Chapter?

You can download a free chapter written by Stephen Van Vreede, winner of the Editor’s Choice Award for his contribution to this best-selling book:

Get “The Rise of the Corporate Entrepreneur” Chapter Here


About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

Interview with Kurt Phelps of Phello

Interview with Kurt Phelps of Phello

Starting in 2019, ITtechExec has begun incorporating Phello’s advanced contact management system into our Job Search Solutions. In a recent podcast with Phello owner, Kurt Phelps, our own Stephen Van Vreede discusses resume writing, your network, and utilizing it in the process:

Listen to Podcast Interview with Kurt Phelps of Phello

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

4 CIO Leadership Tips to Propel Your Brand in the Executive Job Market

4 CIO Leadership Tips to Propel Your Brand in the Executive Job Market

CIOIn 2016, Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, spoke at the SIM Boston Technology Leadership Summit to a group of CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives. In case you didn’t know, Mr. Travis also served in leadership roles at Papa John’s, Burger King, and Blockbuster. Interestingly, his 4 CIO tips had nothing to do with technology directly. They all focused on leadership, and leadership tends to be the area that most CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives avoid when writing a resume or LinkedIn profile. So let’s take a look at the CIO tips, and then we’ll discuss how important each one is for the resume or candidate profile.

Invest in People
Recruiting, building, and retaining an elite team in IT is a constant challenge in today’s market. Most companies struggle to develop and retain their best people. Investing in training is important. Once you’ve identified the best people, it is cheaper to reward them financially than it is to replace them.

For the Resume: This is definitely important, as talent combined with good execution is really powerful in business. So what have you done from an organizational leadership perspective to win the day with the building and growth of your technical teams? Have you been able to get these people you’ve developed to stay and grow with you?

Effective Communication
An open and continual dialog with your team is critical. Travis cites his use of technology to stay in touch with his employees and leadership team; however, he also mentions that in-person discussions over coffee work well whenever possible.

For the Resume: Everyone knows that good communication skills are important. The problem is, if you just say “good communicator” or “excellent communication skills” on the resume, it comes across as trite. You’ll get a ho-hum response. What is an example of a communication program you’ve put into place or a business outcome that stemmed from excellent communications in your line of business?

Inspiration
You’ve got to overcome the dull, unexciting reputation that many IT leaders get pegged with. Sorry, but that’s the perception. Some of it has to do with the dominant personality trait that attracts people to technology to begin with: they prefer interfacing with the technology or solution more than with people. I get it, you can fix a broken gadget, enhance code, and come up with a more elegant solution to a problem…but when it comes to people, you can’t fix stupid, right?

For the Resume: As a technology leader, what have you done to inspire teams? Have you been able to steer the team in a common direction with a positive energy to deliver a solution?

Culture
Culture is the biggest buzzword of all these days, especially in technology organizations. Culture goes well beyond inspiration, which is great to get things kick-started. A culture is built over time and is something that requires continual maintenance. More importantly, culture is not something that can be faked.

For the Resume: Cultivating a vibrant culture is a huge deal! Technical deliverables are great too; however, I would contend that the IT organization that puts these four things together (Investment in People, Communications, Inspiration, and Culture) will deliver timely, high-quality, and innovative solutions.

Conclusion
A winning presentation today for a CIO, CTO, or IT executive must delve into what I call the “intangibles” like business and leadership skills, personal strengths, and management philosophy. That’s why providing a traditional resume with facts and figures is only a part of the picture, not the whole. Get out of that paradigm and discover what you can do to highlight your abilities to invest in and inspire people, communicate effectively, and build a winning culture. Think about it…don’t you want to be part of an organization that recruits you because they value these things highly as well?

 

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

The Difference Strategic Networking Can Make

Meet Ally. Ally is a Program Manager for a midsize firm who would like to go back to a Senior Project Manager role at a Fortune 500. She would like to make this move for the simple fact that she much prefers overseeing projects versus project managers. Turns out, she’s very good at it and misses it. She’s even willing to take a pay cut to make it happen. Easy, right?

Well, something seemingly simple…a slight change in direction…caused Ally a lot of grief.

That is, until she started working with Sue, our Job Search Agent. Before then, Ally had a typical process. She either tried to reach out to recruiters or she applied on job boards. At one Fortune 500, she saw the posting of her dreams for the Senior Project Manager role. She applied. She waited. Then she heard back:

Overqualified.

But they would gladly consider her for a Program Manager role. Of course, Ally no longer wants that role. By the time she started working with Sue, she was starting to think it would never happen. But Sue, as always knew better (lol).

The first thing Sue did was work our ITtechExec network and connections to find an in at this Fortune 500. After a few tries and a few calls, Sue had her connection. She then introduced Ally.

Ally met with the connection, explained what she was trying to do and what her experience had been. The connection referred her to someone else inside the company who was in charge of hiring for the senior project manager position. Within a week, Ally was having a phone interview and is currently scheduled to go in for her first round of in-person interviews.

Sue showed us all the difference strategic networking can make.

It’s taken us ~10 years here at ITtechExec to build up a vast, active network of professionals across all types of industries and organizations who generally are willing to support and assist their fellow professionals. Of course, not every connection leads to this kind of response (if only!), but Sue continues to prove to us that the global world we live in can be pretty small at times, and even supportive; it’s really a matter of how strategic your network is and how well you approach them.

I, for one, am grateful for the momentum that the connections made through our network, and Sue’s efforts, make for clients like Ally. What happens from here, and how things turn out, are up to Ally and the interviews she has as a result. Of course, nothing is a slam dunk, and I have already told Ally, we shouldn’t stop here to “wait and see”…there are more connections to be made as things take time.

But, as Ally has already seen, it is a much more promising approach than hearing back from some automated system telling you that you are overqualified.

To find out more, email me at stephen@ittechexec.com, or if you want to know about our resume and job search support solutions, set up a time to speak with me below:

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede IT Job Search Tech Recruiter ExpertStephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text him at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

 

8 Steps for Your First Year in a New Job

8 Steps for Your First Year in a New Job

Congratulations on Landing that New Role!!

You did it. You made it through the job market zoo, maneuvered through the corporate hiring “goo”, and negotiated your way into your next position…it’s time to celebrate! Woohoo!

It’s also time to be wise, and I know you, simply because you are reading this, are wise. 🙂

Now, I don’t want to bring down the mood in anyway because we should be doing our happy dance, BUT I always strive to be real with my clients and network. So here it is: The first year of any new role is pivotal for two reasons: (1) You want to get off on the right foot, and (2) you want to enter into a “cautiously optimistic” mode where you hope for the best but yet don’t completely abandon the work done during your job search to build your network  and get yourself into a “ready” position.

The last thing we all want is for anything to go awry, but in today’s market, sometimes it does. So our goal here at ITtechExec is to help you transition into the new role with ease while taking a “cautiously optimistic” approach that gets you off on the right foot in your new role while keeping you “always ready” to make a move should a new opportunity come along. And you can do all that without a heavy burden.

*This is how Stephen’s concept of “Corporate Entrepreneur” works in today’s career market. You give your all to your new role, but you wisely keep yourself ready to make another move. It’s not that you want to do so; it’s that you want to stay strong all the way through your career to the finish line.*

8 Steps to the First Year in Your New Job

Step 1: Write a Short Introduction/Bio

  • Start by putting together a short bio that you can send out and use to make intros across the organization. It’s nice to have something succinct, yet prepared, that you can use to make the best first impression, whether that is to your in-house team, global team, vendors, contractors, etc.

Step 2: Update Your LinkedIn Profile to Add Your New Role

  • We usually recommend you wait at least a month into a new role before doing this. Let’s get you acclimated a bit and see how things are looking first. Then let’s make it public on LI. Plus, you might have a little more say after you’ve put in a few weeks…like what the job is really about.

Step 3: Contact Network

  • If you’ve been through our Document Design & Job Search Membership, then you are familiar with the CM system we use, but even if you haven’t been, you can still find a better contact management tool than LI, to prepare a message to go out among your contacts announcing your new role (you can’t just assume everyone will see this through LI).
  • As with the LI profile, it is wise to wait a few weeks in to see how things are going and to consider how we want to announce it.

Step 4: Build a Testimonial Page

  • Here’s something we try to get every client to start doing…collecting testimonials, whether that is from executive leadership, peers, end users, partners, etc.
  • Every good entrepreneur knows how important it is to have others do the talking about them, so they collect testimonials. Every good “corporate entrepreneur” should do the same.
  • A testimonial page is an excellent resource to have at Performance Review time, Promotion time, or when entering back into the job market.

Step 5: Update  Your Resume

  • OK, as you get later into your first year in your new role, and likely have some early accomplishments under your belt or at least underway, now it is time to update the resume.
  • You might not think it is important, but it is good to do it yearly. This way your resume is always current and ready to go. And if you do it yearly, it takes a lot less time than if you wait 3 or 4 years.CIO resume example IT recruiter

Step 6: Transition into Maintenance Phase for 2nd Year

  • Think about what you can be doing on an ongoing basis to keep yourself poised for the future. We don’t tend to have static careers anymore, where it is 10-15 years before we change roles or companies, so having a yearly maintenance check-up is important. Here are some things to consider:
    • What is the state of your resume? LI profile?
    • Are you continuing to collect those testimonials?
    • Have you kept up communicating from time to time with your close network connections?
    • What about those recruiters you spoke with during your job search? Do you touch base every once in a while?
    • Do you have a “Next Opportunity” profile? In other words, if you were looking to make a move, what would that next role look like and where? What can you do in the meantime to keep your eyes and ears to the ground?

Step 7: Pay It Forward

  • So often when we think about networking, we think about what others can do for us, but now that you are securely in your next role, is there someone in your network you can help by making an introduction or referral?
  • What would it look like if you let your network know that you are available to chat with or mentor if someone needs some job search advice (within reason, of course).
  • The careers of tomorrow are going to be based more and more on networks of professionals sharing and supporting one another, so it is wise to be someone who is ahead of that game.

Step 8: Think of It as “Career Protection”

  • We all would like to have some sense of “job security”…it’s one of the main items listed on any survey done on careers. In today’s market, the best way to get that, or at least some semblance of it, is to build in your own “career protections”. That is what these steps are meant to do, and it is what I talk about in my book UNcommon with Brian Tracy. I see it making a difference for the hundreds of clients I work with each year.

Sometimes these steps seem hard, especially when all we want to do is sit back and enjoy the new role. We don’t want to hear that there is more work to be done! I get it. As a small business owner, I really get it! And if you need to take a week or two to enjoy the moment, go for it.

Just remember, a cold job search is getting tougher and tougher to launch even in a good hiring market because corporate hiring practices are increasingly getting, well, crazier.

So a little preparation along the way will give you a head start later on! It’s one reason why we recently started offering our “New Job First Year Membership”.

Here’s how it works: Throughout your first year at the new job, we walk along beside you, basically taking care of all the steps listed above on your behalf, to make sure you update your LI profile, notify your important contacts of your new position, prepare a short introduction (or bio) to help you get going within your new organization, touch base with you a few months in to see how things are progressing in the new role, update your resume so it is “always ready”, and make new strategic introductions across our network based off of your new role (as you always wants to be networking as long as you are working; now we can leverage the new role).

Our membership solutions are designed to be flexible to each situation, manageable, and diverse. Of course, we want you to be focused on this new position and on making it as successful as it can be. So our membership isn’t meant to be time-consuming. Think of it as us working in the background to help keep some momentum going that will get you updated and ready to go should you decide to or should you decide to go for a move internally with this new organization.

To find out more, email me at stephen@ittechexec.com, or if you want to know about our resume and job search support solutions, set up a time to speak with me below:

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede IT Job Search Tech Recruiter ExpertStephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text him at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

What Do Swim Meets and Career Management Have in Common?

What Do Swim Meets and Career Management Have in Common?

My daughter Olive is 14 and is on her 5th year of competitive swimming. She is, I can proudly say, without a doubt, one of the hardest working, most committed kids in our area (can you picture my chest puffing out? Haha). She doesn’t miss a practice, a meet, an opportunity to get better. You name it, she is there, spending hours upon hours per week in the pool AND she is happy to be there. (I’m not going to lie..Sheree and I tried everything to get her interested in other things, as this was not in our plan for her, and although she is already an accomplished flute player for one of our music schools, she doesn’t love it the way she loves the water.)

But despite all of her dedication, hard work, amazing swim technique, bright future, and so on, Olive has one problem:

She sometimes loses confidence when she needs it the most.

As I mentioned, the dedication is there. The desire is there. The work ethic is there. She posts good swim times at races, is considered a solid performer, but she has this tendency to hold back a little, doubt herself. She’s so analytical, technical even, that she’s acutely aware of her shortcomings.

And because of that, she can pull back when she is supposed to be surging ahead.

It’s a frustrating place for her to be, especially when she is putting in so much time. It keeps her from getting the ROI she should be getting. Some other, less dedicated swimmers are able to keep pace with her. As a result, she feels like she is spinning her wheels.

Now, obviously, she is a teenage girl. Discovering who you are, untangling your web of emotions, fighting against inevitable comparisons, and finding confidence amid your strengths and limitations is all part of that confusing time in life.

BUT, when you think about your career management, can you relate a little?

I can. While giving her one of my little “pep” talks recently (can you see her teenage eyes rolling?), it hit me that I have had many times even in my adult life when I have done the same thing. I’ve pulled back when I should have been surging ahead, all because I got some notion in my head that I wasn’t good enough or perfect enough or the timing wasn’t exactly right or maybe I needed more education.

As a result, my ROI hasn’t always been what it should have been.

Now, of course, there is much more to life than swim times, and our careers are not the only priority, nor should they be. Much like Olive, there are many valuable lessons to be learned beyond just results. But, let’s face it, we do want to reach our potential, don’t we? Or at least get close. After all, our livelihoods do matter. And we spend a fair amount of our lives at our professions. (Ambition and a competitive drive do not make us bad people!)

The main purpose behind our VIP memberships is to help our clients achieve better ROI, to provide the support to surge ahead and not pull back. Much like Olive continues to need good coaching support, and pep talks from dad (although she may not admit that part), we too as professionals often need the same type of encouragement.

We can’t just say we want it, show up, hope it happens….we have to face whatever it is that holds us back and take a new approach to conquering it!

(I told you I’ve been inhaling a lot of chlorine lately…haha…but seriously, our goal here is to help you keep moving forward, even when you aren’t in “active” mode. If it is a confidence boost, a sounding board, a hearty shove, whatever you find you need, I hope you will reach out to us along the way…that is what we are here for!)

The One-Two Punch Every Job Search of Today Needs

The One-Two Punch Every Job Search of Today Needs

When I first started in the resume and career document design business, times were good, especially in the tech/IT job market. Online tools, such as job boards, seemed like a long awaited answer to speeding up and making the hiring process more efficient, jobs were plentiful, and even though we now had online tools, the job search process itself had not changed all that much.

Then came 2007 and things began to change.

The recession hit in the U.S., upward mobility in IT/tech jobs stagnated, social media began to insert itself into hiring practices, and companies began demanding more and more automation in the hiring process. For a few years, it was hard to tell which direction things were going to go, as well as what was good and what was bad. All we really knew was things were changing, and the job market was less and less pleasant.

But by the early 2010s, it became apparent that the job search landscape was altered for good.

The online tools that were supposed to make life better for companies and job seekers alike persisted, but it was apparent no one gave much credence to them actually working, especially past the manager level. And those newly automated hiring practices became so wieldy that, frankly, only HR people seemed to like them.

What became obvious to us at ITtechExec was that we needed to do more than just design documents; we needed to help guide professionals through this new job search “zoo” by offering solutions that would help them build momentum using other, more effective methods to create opportunities for themselves.

For the past 8 years, we have been offering our very own “concierge” Job Search support solutions. Our clients would start with the career document design with Stephen Van Vreede, Executive Resume Writer, and then move into our job search strategy development and support solutions with Sue Sacco, our Job Search Agent.

Due to the demand for both types of solutions, we now offer them as part of a comprehensive, month-by-month Document Design and Job Search Membership that walks side by side with you throughout your job search introducing you to recruiters identified just for you, working within our own ITtechExec network to help you build contacts in your industry and target market, and offering support in reaching out across your own network more effectively. We aren’t a replacement for your own search efforts, but we do ease the burden and offer you potential connections that could lead to opportunities in today’s market.

In other words, we provide the “one-two punch” that is often missing in today’s job search approach.

Too many professionals find themselves blindsided by this marketplace when they embark on a job search. They’re still remembering the 1990s or early 2000s, and it is hard for them to orient themselves in today’s market. And although things were a bit simpler back then, it’s not all bad today.

You just have to know how to maneuver through it while having some patience.

To find out how it can work for you, book a free 30-minute “Upcoming Career Move Prep” phone or Skype session with me, your IT/Tech Job Search Strategist & Resume Writer, Stephen Van Vreede.

 

Two Career Roads Diverged, and I Cannot Decide

In 2014, I wrote a blog post titled “Two Roads Diverged in Your Career Path Woods…and You?” in which I played off of Robert Frost’s famous poem to look at how often we get hung up in life (and thus career) on the ins and outs of making that next step when sometimes all we need to do is just, well, make a step, any step.

I was once again pondering all this recently when I was speaking with a college assistance planner in regard to my daughter, who is about to enter high school. I was discussing how as parents, my wife and I were findings our heads collectively spinning when it came to all the hoops that supposedly needed to be jumped through, and all the boxes that supposedly needed to be checked, when it came to improving her chances amidst college rejection rates that seem to be at an all time high. “How many AP classes can she handle over the next 4 years?” “How many times will she need to take the ACT and SAT, and should she take SAT subject tests?” “By age 18, will she have mapped out her entire life plan and seen enough of the world so she can write some highly philosophical entry essay?”

Yikes…

Obviously, like many parents before us, we want what’s best for our daughter. We want to believe that we are giving her the best guidance and the best opportunities. And, yes, obviously, we are willing to get educated on what’s happening out there and get advice. But, what we’ve found is that there is a point where knowledge and advice can only go so far and you have to stop and ask, “What is our end goal, really?”

In other words, you have to stop chasing and start building.

Of course, you don’t reject all the advice and ignore all the hoops. Some of it is practical, a necessity, a fact of life (SAT scores do matter, for instance, especially if attending a selective college is important to you), but you carefully begin to pick and choose the path you want to follow based on who you are, not on what others say you have to be.

If you don’t, you will go crazy competing against a scale in which you will never measure up.

Naturally, as parenting usually does, all of this got me thinking about my own life and career path. How many times have I just been chasing instead of building?

Over the years, I’ve written about the “rat race”…the allure of it…the constant worry that you aren’t checking off all the right boxes, that the image you’ve built isn’t quite what it should be. We all fall victim to it at some point. We end up on this never ending cycle of playing “keep up” or “catch up”, and it seems like we have little control.

We seem to be living in a world that is a bit out of control.

Certainly I’ve seen this with my technical management clients. They think of personal branding as a mold or structure that they have to squeeze into in order to be “accepted”. In reality, usually what makes personal branding effective is someone who knows how to crack the mold a bit, so to speak.

It’s a frustrating place for those who’ve spent a lifetime chasing the hoops and boxes, maybe even feeling a great sense of accomplishment in having done so. The structure is comforting. It gives you a formula, a direction.

The problem, of course, is that if you’re not careful, it can also make you somewhat indistinguishable from all the other candidates out there.

One role I see this happen with the most is in Project Management. There are so many project managers these days with PMP certifications, it can be tough to separate out from the crowd. Another is Engineers with PE certifications. I’ve often seen it in pharmaceutical and medical device sales as well. Pretty soon the market gets flooded with candidates who are well qualified, but on paper, they don’t stand out from one another.

Often, what has happened, and we’ve all been there, is that so much time was spent trying to be the very picture of PMP or PE that once we’ve achieved it, we’ve also lost any sense of individuality.

So at some point, a decision has to be made: How do I play this game while still building my own story? What hoops do I jump through, and what ones do I skip to forge my own path?

Without doubt, it is a delicate balance. But it is choice that can make all the difference.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

Career Management in a World Gone Rude

Career Management in a World Gone Rude

Parenting has never been easy.

Hopefully that statement isn’t too controversial these days. But no matter what political, moral, cultural, religious principles you adhere to, I would think one universal truth in all of it is that raising someone to go out into the world and contribute to it is daunting at best.

I would also think that there shouldn’t be much controversy in saying that in today’s culture, parenting is made even more difficult by the fact that, well, rudeness is everywhere. Again, it doesn’t matter where you live, which world view you subscribe to, or how much of a hermit you and your family have become:

We are surrounded by a general acceptance of rudeness.

Our morning and evening commutes are filled with rudeness. Our reality TV is, well, celebrated for being rude (if you’re a rich housewife AND you’re rude, even better!). And social media seems to be taking rudeness to a whole new level.

When we don’t agree with someone, we call them whatever vile name we can think of…publicly, in front of children, no matter where we happen to be. If we feel like saying it, we should just say it!

But it doesn’t matter because of course we’re right…and it’s our “right”…and politeness doesn’t matter.

We’re sick of being polite anyway.

And self-control? That old thing? That’s for chumps, right? Just tweet out whatever comes to mind, whenever it comes to mind. You can always ask for forgiveness and a book deal later.

In the suburban world my family inhabits, we’re on the edge of “Midwestern values” (we live in the western part of NY that thinks it’s part of the Midwest), which basically means people still don’t want you to think they are rude even when, no, especially when, they are rude. (After all, they were giving you their best smile when they stabbed you in the back.)

To call them out for their rudeness would be the ultimate in, well, rudeness!

As I mentioned, as a parent, this makes life particularly complicated. Asking your teenager to treat adults with respect seems like Parenting 101, right? Of course, that would be a lot easier if the adults in turn acted like fully formed adults, not like taller, fatter, more wrinkled versions of emotionally unfulfilled teenagers. Sigh…

But I digress. My point is not just to bemoan the hardship of parenting, but to look at the general hardship of frankly living in today’s rude culture.

And many times this rudeness comes out most prominently in our careers.

If you are in the corporate culture, or even out in the marketplace as an entrepreneur, business has always been business. If you don’t provide a marketable skill, you pay for it. And if you don’t keep up with the changes in the market, you get left behind. Some people may call this “rude,” but there has generally been an acceptance of economic principles at work and a certain level of personal accountability to them.

Now add in today’s hyper-rude culture to the mix.

It’s tough to manage a career when adults are no longer in charge, when people no longer bring professionalism to work (they might try but lack of self-control is hard to hide for long), and when people think they are educated because they read their news feed that day (you know, the one filled with only news that comes from people they agree with?).

In a world that keeps talking about our collective humanity, we seem to have a strange idea of what that is.

I’m pretty sure we care more about our dogs than we do about our fellow humans. After all, our dogs generally can’t offend us and they certainly never disagree with our religion or politics. Too bad they aren’t running our corporations!

When I speak with corporate executives, they tell me soft skills are sorely lacking. They have to spend a lot of time teaching people basic leadership and politeness skills. It’s exhausting. They feel more like parents than like bosses (and of course parenting is never easy).

(My wife, a freelance editor, had the lovely experience of working with a manager once who had to be sent to “be nice” school because she was inexplicably incapable of being nice on her own.)

It’s true that sometimes in our careers we have to make tough decisions and that sometimes no matter how we try, someone else will interpret our actions as rude or as insensitive.

My point isn’t to turn our culture too soft. It would just be nice if it could strive to be decent. If empowerment didn’t mean being vulgar just because you can be….if someone at the other end of the political spectrum from you wasn’t immediately vilified because of what you perceive to be true about all liberals or all conservatives. (Again, grown-ups usually know better than to rush to extremes…you know, that whole fully formed brain thing?)

Sadly, if you want to navigate through the murky career waters these days, you’re going to need to have a thick skin.

Much like in politics, anyone can spout off whatever they want to whenever they want to. You’re a member of the human race, so you’re fair game.

Whatever you do, though: Just leave the dogs alone. Don’t ever disparage the dogs. After all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there…

 

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

Resume and Job Search Strategy for an Aerospace Engineer Program Executive

Resume and Job Search Strategy for an Aerospace Engineer Program Executive

Every candidate faces some unique challenges, which is why it is so important to work with an executive resume writer and job search coach who have a deep understanding of the industry and the market. Let’s take a look at one client we worked with recently who had a unique challenge of her own. Suzanne is a senior executive in the aerospace industry, with quite a successful track record leading large-scale programs with the U.S. and foreign governments, the DoD, and major commercial accounts.

Suzanne’s Challenge

Suzanne’s problem was that she’d worked for several of the large players in the space, all within the past five years with each ending after a short period for various reasons. In addition, she wasn’t able to relocate to any of the major aerospace hubs, at least for another few years. Being bound by non-compete clauses and having a limited selection of opportunities within her geographic market made the pickings very sparse. Suzanne knew that she needed a new strategy.

Positioning Strategy

When we started working on the project to develop her positioning statements and marketing materials (Resume, LinkedIn Profile, Executive Bio, and PSR), my goal was to identify the attributes that would make her truly stand out in the market.

Her old resume was very focused on one of the big aerospace companies, whom she had worked with for nearly two decades. She had a ton of great material for that role; however, that job was five years in the past with four different jobs and four different companies in between.

This sent a signal to the market that her best work was well behind her. Of course, this wasn’t true at all, but reflected how she was feeling on the inside about the value she brought to the four short-term roles she’d held since then. So the initial challenge for me was to understand what she accomplished in each of these roles and affirm the value that she created. This took away any negative feelings associated with the succession of company changes in recent years.

Current Is King

Once Suzanne valued her achievements, we were able to build out the details for the four recent roles to give them some weight and significance. After all, we operate in a world that takes a “what have you done for me lately” perspective.

With the content we added, I focused Suzanne’s narrative on her experience leading and transforming programs, delivering within expedited time lines, and developing a strong customer relationship pipeline to fuel sales growth.

Job Search Strategy

The biggest area of opportunity for Suzanne was with her approach to the job search. Traditional channels just weren’t working because the recruiters she knew all recruited for past employers. When she responded to postings on job boards, she either wasn’t considered or they told her that she was overqualified for the roles, usually from recruiters or HR reps.

We not only created a strategy, but we helped Suzanne execute on a strategy that would connect her with senior executives in the industry. By interfacing with actual decision makers, she was able to talk through the constraints she was facing and make genuine headway in her search. The result was multiple offers that within the level and salary range she was hoping for while meeting the geographic requirement and offering schedule flexibility to suit her family needs.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Servings as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment: