Category: Project management

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:

 

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:

What’s Your Tech Career Road Map Look Like? Smooth or Bumpy?

What’s Your Tech Career Road Map Look Like? Smooth or Bumpy?

country-roads-wallpapers-1When mapping out your next IT or tech career move, knowing your value and setting achievable goals is a vital first step. In setting goals, the priority should not center on the number of opportunities (quantity) rather on the right opportunities (quality) that align with those values. Specificity in these matters is the key. If it is the right opportunity, go all IN! If not, don’t pursue it. It will take time that you could be using for researching the right opportunity that is in alignment with your roadmap.

Project Manager Job Jungle

When Christina began her job search adventure, she was lost in the wilderness of which way to go. She started out the same way most of her competitions does: by posting for any job that had the words “project manager” in it. She did not define industries, location, or really any other specifics. So as you can imagine, what she got was an avalanche of emails that basically made her frustrated and somewhat lost. Soon she began wasting the little job search time she had trying to sift through them. Her LinkedIn profile and resume really branded her as a project manager, and she was lost in a sea of project managers all vying for the same roles.

Nothing was specific for Christina. She did not stand out. Her values were lost in the job search jungle.

Project Manager Road Less Traveled

It was then that Christina came to me. We began to put together a roadmap that included values that were important to her…location near home including remote possibilities (family and recreation time is important to her), she always wanted to work in the aerospace industry, and she wanted to work at a smaller company after working in a large corporation for years.

So we took these values, revised her resume and LinkedIn profile to align with them, and made some specific introductions to valuable contacts instead of just trolling the job boards.

roadmapShe now had a roadmap inclusive of her values and goals. As a result, she started using her job search time more efficiently and had greater results in much less time. It wasn’t long before she found opportunities that met her goals and gave her that family and recreation time she valued.

In beginning your job search adventure and as you progress through it, ask yourself these questions to stay focused and on track:

  • Am I willing to fight for my values?
  • What’s important to me?
  • Am I am willing to bend or not bend in my unique value or perceptions?
  • Do I know what my value-add is?
  • Do my “stories” reflect my values and goals?
  • Am I pursuing opportunities that I do not really want?
  • Am I being specific?
  • Do my resume and LinkedIn profile portray the brand I want for career goals?

Sticking With It

But here is the real key to the whole thing. Setting goals is one thing. Sticking to them is another. It takes a lot of willpower, and it takes support. Various detours will pop up along the way and get you sidetracked. Other opportunities will arise that might seem worth pursuing. This is why you need a “team” behind you. Every Olympic athlete, even those in “individual” sports has a coach and an entire support system behind him or her. Yet most of us attempt to maneuver through the job search jungle on our own. Considering not only are our livelihoods on the line with each career move, but also our lifestyles, where our families live, how much we work, how long our commute is, and so on, it makes sense that we would build our team as well and not try to “go it alone,” doesn’t it?

If you would like more information on how to use your road map , without so much recalculating, text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR schedule a time (see below) to speak with me and learn more about our “concierge” job search solutions:

IT career adviser 5Sue Sacco is a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS) for ITtechExec who blends a unique background in managing both IT and telecom day-to-day operations with extensive hiring and recruitment experience for small/mid-sized organizations as well as for a prominent Fortune 1000 company. She is also a Career Thought Leader Associate.

Sue has been up close and personal with HR and has had to wade through layoffs, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. (That means she’s a veteran of the job market zoo and has been so deep in corporate goo that nothing surprises her anymore!)

Text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR schedule a time below to speak with me and learn more about our “concierge” job search solutions:

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

Since 2012, in an effort to understand what problems the PMP hiring market is looking to solve, so that I can better position my clients in the marketplace, I have been running an annual poll on Polldaddy asking this question of my connections in tech:

[polldaddy poll=”6142495″]

Year after year, without fail, the number #1 response is “Poor requirements gathering and analysis.” Currently, it is running away with ~48% of the vote.

What say you? Do you agree with the 48%, or do you think there are other more pressing reasons?

If poor requirements gathering and analysis is consistently the main problem, then what steps do most PMs need to take to resolve it? Love to have you contribute!

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:

 

Real Skinny: How To Get Your Company to Move to the Cloud

Real Skinny: How To Get Your Company to Move to the Cloud

toon_103_0It is a truth universally acknowledged that tech workers who are road-blocked by senior management from succeeding at their jobs are frustrated workers, indeed. One major instance of said road-blocking is still fairly commonplace — the transition of companies into cloud computing. Even CIOs lock horns with their support staff over this issue due to the misunderstanding, fear, and reluctance to change.

How do you get your company into the 21st century and into the cloud? You have to realize that it’s more than just a pragmatic issue. In fact, it’s a company culture issue.

Companies go through major structural transitions all of the time, and the move to the cloud is no different. But like other major changes — office location, software, organizational hierarchies, and so forth — it must be handled with delicacy and care. The first and most important step is to get your team on board with you is by making it clear why moving to the cloud is necessary before you explain how you will accomplish it.

Author Rachel Roumeliotis at O’Reilly breaks down the benefits of the cloud into an easy-to-explain model: speed, safety, and scale.

Speed

Time really is money. When your company uses the cloud, you save the precious seconds, minutes, and hours that allow you to work better and create more innovative solutions.

Safety

Security is often the biggest concern when transitioning over to the cloud. Create a bulletproof data safety plan and be ready to make a convincing argument to doubtful colleagues and managers.

Scale

Moving to cloud computing frees your company to expand — or contract — as necessary to efficiently achieve the results you’re looking for. Hardware will never compare.

Remember, any big company transition is a culture issue before it becomes a practical issue, so work within the bounds of your company’s culture to bring your computing practices up to speed and into the cloud.

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!

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Startup Jobs Are Harder — And More Rewarding — Than How They Are Portrayed In Media

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Startup Jobs Are Harder — And More Rewarding — Than How They Are Portrayed In Media

CEO of ITtechExec Stephen Van Vreede explains what it’s actually like to work in a startup, from the long working hours to the amazing workplace perks.

Rochester, NY — June 3, 2015 — Stephen Van Vreede, CEO of ITtechExec, published a new article titled “What It’s Really Like to Work At a Startup.” In the article, he reveals what startup careers look like in reality, busting the media myths of big perks and paydays and showing instead that startups provide major opportunities to share tech talent with other experts in the field.

Van Vreede says, “You can’t open a book or flip on the TV without coming face-to-face with startup workplaces these days. For the techies among us, the tidal wave of startups poses a mysterious allure. We know that in real life, they can’t possibly be as non-traditional, amusing, back-breaking, and downright absurd as they appear in the media. Or can they?”

Stephen Van Vreede is a personal brand strategist, certified resume writer, job search agent, and the CEO and owner of ITtechExec. Stephen has 10 years of experience in employment strategy and 8 years of corporate management
experience. He holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from Villanova University.

Read the entire article here. http://www.ittechexec.com/the-real-skinny-what-its-really-like-to-work-at-a-startup/

About ITtechExec:

ITtechExec is a new kind of full-service employment agency that combines resume writing, portfolio building, and job search solutions to launch extraordinary tech careers in the 21st century job market. CEO and Executive Solutions Guide Stephen Van Vreede created ITtechExec in 2001, using his background of personal branding and corporate management to create a multi-pronged approach that gets results. ITtechExec serves as the job seeker and career changer’s trusted adviser, helping them make the best of the careers they’ve built and guiding them into the professional futures they desire.

##

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says To Thrive During a Merger or Acquisition, Be Prepared

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says To Thrive During a Merger or Acquisition, Be Prepared

CEO of ITtechExec Stephen Van Vreede advises tech and IT employees to prepare in advance for mergers and acquisitions by staying up-to-date and having a financial plan.

Rochester, NY — March 23, 2015 — Stephen Van Vreede, CEO of ITtechExec, published a new article titled “What To Do If Your Company Gets Acquired.” In the article, he explains that mergers and acquisitions are a reality for IT and tech employees, and that preparing in advance for a transition puts employees in a better position to keep their job or quickly find a new one.

Van Vreede says, “There’s nothing employees want to hear less than that their company is about to go through a merger or an acquisition. But in the tech sector especially, the shifting tides of the marketplace mean that these changes are a reality many people must face. While it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand until the rocky times are over, that’s simply not an option. You want to swim — not sink — no matter what happens to your current job, and the key is to take action now and get prepared.”

Stephen Van Vreede is a personal brand strategist, certified resume writer, job search agent, and the CEO and owner of ITtechExec. Stephen has 10 years of experience in employment strategy and 8 years of corporate management experience. He holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from Villanova University.

Read the entire article here. http://www.ittechexec.com/kick-in-the-pants-what-to-do-if-your-company-gets-acquired/

About ITtechExec:

ITtechExec is a new kind of full-service employment agency that combines resume writing, portfolio building, and job search solutions to launch extraordinary tech careers in the 21st century job market. CEO and Executive Solutions Guide Stephen Van Vreede created ITtechExec in 2001, using his background of personal branding and corporate management to create a multi-pronged approach that gets results. ITtechExec serves as the job seeker and career changer’s trusted adviser, helping them make the best of the careers they’ve built and guiding them into the professional futures they desire.

##

 

 

 

 

When You and Your Technical Recruiter Aren’t a Good Match

When You and Your Technical Recruiter Aren’t a Good Match

Choosing – or finding – the right technical recruiter for you can be vitally important in your IT job search

IT recruitingWhether you love technical recruiters or avoid them like the plague, the fact is they do play a part in the IT hiring process. In fact, in today’s tech job market, they play an even bigger role than they ever have.
That doesn’t mean you have to use them, of course, but why not give yourself as many options as you can?
Where most candidates go wrong with technical recruiters is 1) they don’t properly matched or aligned with them, 2) they expect too much from them, and 3) they fail to nurture an ongoing relationship with the ones who are a good fit to create a potential pipeline of opportunity down the road.
I’ve witnessed many candidates waste a lot of time talking to the wrong technical recruiter for them, and then they can’t figure out what went wrong. 

Sue Sacco, our Concierge Job Search Agent, says that it all starts with a little research. When she is working our client members, she:

  • Prepares a list of properly matched technical recruiters with their contact info to save our members the time and energy of trying to find them on their own. With geographical restrictions no longer at play and the number of technical recruiters skyrocketing, it’s harder than it used to be to find ones that place for the types of positions you want to go for. That is precious IT job search time you have to spend. So Sue takes care of that so our members can focus on other aspects of their search, like networking with colleagues and decision makers (because you should never rely on just one type of job search method in today’s IT/tech marketplace)!
  • Then once Sue creates her list, she either guides the member in how to introduce themselves to these technical recruiters or she takes it a step further and makes the introductions on our members’ behalf, again saving a lot of legwork and freeing up time to pursue other options as well!

Furthermore, once our members do engage with a tech recruiter, Sue can then walk them through their discussions to make sure they stay on track and not waste time here either.

 This is what a concierge job search agent service does. It’s not that you can’t. It’s that you don’t have to.
Either way, though, whether you attempt to find and engage technical recruiters and headhunters on your own or you work with someone like Sue, first and foremost is ask yourself, “Is this technical recruiter a good match?”
If the recruiter can’t say that he or she has placed candidates with your background and your salary range, then don’t waste anymore of your precious job search time.
(Want just a general directory of tech recruiters? Download our directory of 1350+ technical recruiters or our directory of 800+ project/program manager recruiters.)
Protecting the Tech Career You’ve Built

Protecting the Tech Career You’ve Built

We get a lot of questions about what we mean when we say “protecting” or refer to “career protection.” The following presentation tells the story of how this idea of protection took root and how it has evolved into everything we do at ITtechExec and NoddlePlace. It is our sincere belief that in today’s market, whether you’ve been around a bit like our ITtechExec members have, or are just starting to climb the ladder, like our NoddlePlace members, that you do more than just toss out resumes and scour job boards. It’s time to protect what you’ve built so far: