Category: Women in IT

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:

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:

 

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

tech job search cartoon 15

Unlike Sam, whom we featured in our last segment as a Technology and Software Innovation Leader, Danielle is a Technology Director who has been with the same company her entire career. She started with them doing database work and hardware support before growing into development and IT operations roles. She wanted to position herself for managerial roles in application development and product management, but she had no idea if other companies would consider her qualified for these roles.

Titles Make a Difference

One major concern for Danielle was the fact that her company had never formally changed her title after nearly 20 years, even though the scope and accountabilities of her role had altered drastically. Did she really need to list that she was a Database and Applications Support Specialist on her resume and in LinkedIn?

No…you are afforded some flexibility with titles to ensure that they align with what the general market would understand based on your job duties. For Danielle, that meant we were able to tweak her title a bit to better communicate the level (Manager) and type of work (technical product management and development) she had been performing for the past 12+ years.

Is Only Working For One Company a Liability?

Danielle had received a bunch of calls and LinkedIn inquiries for Database Administrator and Technical Support roles. When sending her resume to recruiters, she got feedback that they didn’t think she was qualified for a Technology Manager role, and that being at the same company for nearly 20 years gave them concern that she couldn’t handle a change in environment.

Fixing the Problem by Reworking the Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Danielle explained how her position evolved over time, despite having no change in the formal job title. I did a resume makeover – and a LinkedIn Profile makeover too – that made Danielle’s progression come across clearly to even the most casual observer. A clearer presentation of titles that reflected the level of role she held and the duties she performed was also addressed.

The results for Danielle have been strong since we revamped her resume and LinkedIn Profile AND introduced her to some key players in her target market.

She quickly received calls for opportunities that matched her objective to be in technology management. She also got responses from recruiters and hiring directors when submitting her resume in direct response to open jobs listed on their website. Just as important, she felt better equipped to answer questions about her long tenure and why it made her an even stronger candidate.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume 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 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 consult:

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Strive For Workplace Equality Systemically And Personally

IT Employment Expert Stephen Van Vreede Says Strive For Workplace Equality Systemically And Personally

CEO of ITtechExec Stephen Van Vreede discusses gender equality in tech workplaces, explaining that changes must happen at both individual and structural levels.

Rochester, NY — May 27, 2015 — Stephen Van Vreede, CEO of ITtechExec, published a new blog post titled “Women in Tech: Top 5 Career-Building Tips.” In the post, he shares with readers five ways they can build better careers in tech and IT as the world of work determines — though not quickly enough — how to hire, promote, and compensate women equally.

Van Vreede says, “There are few more important questions in tech right now than how to correct the gender imbalance in the workplace … While ideally all women in tech would be afforded equal opportunity, advancement, and compensation by their employers, that’s not everyone’s reality quite yet. This is why we’ve assembled our top five tips for women already in tech or just starting to build their careers.”

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-women-in-tech-top-5-career-building-tips/

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.

 

##

 

 

 

 

Kick in the Pants: Women in Tech: Top 5 Career-Building Tips

Kick in the Pants: Women in Tech: Top 5 Career-Building Tips

women in techThere are few more important questions in tech right now than how to correct the gender imbalance in the workplace. As the website Hire More Women In Tech puts it, “monoculture is bad for business.” That, and we don’t need to tell you how important it is that techy women everywhere have the equality they deserve.

While ideally all women in tech would be afforded equal opportunity, advancement, and compensation by their employers, that’s not everyone’s reality quite yet. This is why we’ve assembled our top five tips for women already in tech or just starting to build their careers.

Choose The Right Company Culture

Each of us has individual preferences when it comes to the environment and culture in which we work. Don’t back down when it comes to finding a respectful corporate culture where you know you can do your best work.

Be Vocal About Your Skills & Successes

You’re rocking your projects — don’t keep it to yourself! Seize every opportunity to discuss your accomplishments and skills so your value is crystal-clear to everyone.

Maintain a Rock-Solid Network

Never stop building up your network, both inside and outside your company. Be ready to leverage your contacts at the drop of a hat if you need to.

Don’t Think Big — Think Huge

Part of being seen as a leader (no matter your role) is having vision. Don’t censor yourself when it comes to great ideas, even if they don’t seem realistic at first.

Remember You’re Stronger Than You Realize

When big challenges arise (and they always do), don’t back down. Where there’s a will, there’s a way — and more often than not, tackling the challenge head-on is easier in the end than walking away.

 

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!

 

 

Kick In the Pants: How to Navigate Workplace Politics

Kick In the Pants: How to Navigate Workplace Politics

toon476No matter how hard we try to get away from the drama of IT and tech office politics, they have a way of sneaking up on us. Whether you’re just starting a new job or you’re working your way up the ladder, it’s essential to know how to handle your specific workplace environment. No two companies handle their politics the same way. Fortunately, there are a number of best practices that can help you keep your head above water no matter where you work — the important part is to put them into play and avoid letting drama get the better of you.

Neutrality, Above All Else

The more important the topic at hand, the more things seem to devolve into an “us versus them” mentality. Your coworkers will want you to take a side and join them in their crusade. As enticing as this may seem — especially if you really do favor one side over the other — don’t give in. Sometimes staying neutral can strain certain relationships; as long as you feel confident that it won’t break them, stick to your guns. Make it clear to everyone that you understand where both sides are coming from.

**Of course, this doesn’t mean you lack the ability to be passionate or “fight” for what you believe in. The point here is to make sure you pick the battles worth fighting, and more often than not, the corporate “goo” is not the right battle.**

Do Your Recon Work

When you’re new to a job, one of the first things you should do is understand the workplace politics landscape. What topics, behaviors, and opinions are off-limits? A great way to crack this nut is by simply observing. Keep a close eye on what is causing stress or discomfort in your office, and take note if you see a pattern emerging. More often than not, a week or two of observation will give you plenty of information to go on.

Pinpoint Your Office Advocates & Adversaries

Everybody has them: your work friends and work foes. It pays to sort out who is who early on. The same way we have professional networks outside of our jobs, we have networks inside, too. Building strong relationships with your coworkers is a given. Pay attention to the people you’re unable to relate to on a personal or professional level, especially if you observe them involved in your workplace drama. Unfortunately, some people are naturally more drawn to chaos, and you will want to stay out of their path as best you can.

Be Forthright and Open

Mistakes happen. If you find that you’ve committed a blunder at your workplace, own up to it and make amends. Likewise, ask directly if there are any keys to preventing future gaffs. Show that you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and “play nice” in your office politics game.

Never Take It Personally

It can be a challenge to separate yourself from your job, and office politics do feel awfully personal at times. Remember that politics are most often the result of people wanting to do the best job they can, and that you’re all working toward the same goals. Even when it feels personal, remember that it’s your role — not you — in question.

When it comes to politics in the workplace, do your homework and choose to be the better person, and you’ll be on the right track for this and future jobs.

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:

How Many Certifications Do You Really Need?

How Many Certifications Do You Really Need?

certificationsJob-changers and entry-level job-seekers alike all seem to have the same question: Should I spruce up my resume with extra certifications? And if so, how many do I need to get the job of my dreams?

The answer? It depends.

Of course, showing off your skills and education is a good thing — but so is real-world work experience. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of certification-collecting rather than working towards the skills that will actually move your professional life where you want it to go. And because you don’t have infinite time, you need to prioritize the ways you develop professionally.

(You also want to be careful that you haven’t fallen into the Career Credential Addiction that seems to be pervasive these days.)

So, before you start raking in certification after certification, follow these three steps: take a reality check, do your research, and strategize.

Reality Check

What certifications do you actually need for your job? Don’t get waylaid by job ads that ask for lots of certs — oftentimes, they are in the “nice to have” category and not the “need to have.” Always consult your hiring manager before jumping right into a new cert just to apply to a few jobs. Be aware that lower-level certs are usually worth less to employers than high-level ones, so don’t accumulate the basics just to have a few letters after your name.

Remember: Unless you are in a profession that legally mandates certification before you can practice your craft, there’s often some wiggle room in getting hired for jobs that ask for them.

Research

Here’s a tip that will save you time, money, and headaches: Research the people who have the job that you want on LinkedIn. What certifications do they have? Don’t stop at just one or two — look for multiple people across the country who have the job title you seek, and keep a record of what certifications they have to their name. But don’t stop your research there. Scan as many job ads and company websites as you can to see where the common ground is. Chances are, if you see the same certs popping up over and over again, they are worth your time.

Strategize

Once you have the lay of the land, it’s time to come up with a plan. Will your current employer pay for certifications? Find out. Do you need to join a professional organization before you can get the cert you need? Ask. Boil down your plan to just the essentials, and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Never forget that relevant work experience is almost always considered more valuable than certifications, so factor that into your plan. Can you take on a new project at work, or volunteer your skills to an organization in need? Be creative in your approach.

Remember, it’s the quality of certifications — not the quantity — that matters in your job search. There’s no magic number. Certifications are shorthand for knowledge, but they aren’t the only way to prove your skills to potential employers.

Get comfortable communicating about what you do, and use your certifications as evidence to back-up your claims — not the other way around.

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Last week I put out a call for responses to a poll asking our audience what the phrase “corporate entrepreneur” meant to them. This topic of corporate entrepreneurship will encompass my contribution to my upcoming book Uncommon with Brian Tracy (Spring 2015), and I wanted to get a sense of what professionals out there thought when they heard the phrase.

The largest response at 23% was that a corporate entrepreneur was “a strategist”. A three-way tie for second at 15% each included:

  • Someone who’s business savvy but probably more suited for self-employment.
  • Someone who sees what’s coming in the corporate realm and prepares for it.
  • A professional who knows how to apply certain elements of self-employment within the corporate structure.

If you’d like to participate in the poll, please feel free to do so. I’ve included it below and will keep it open a couple more weeks.

At that time, I will post the results and give an excerpt from the book discussing this issue. As a technical career strategist following the world of work closely, I am convinced that corporate entrepreneurship is going to be a “must” (yes, a must) for anyone looking to maintain their careers, particularly as we move through the next decade.

The shifting of corporate culture, the convoluted hiring practices, the mixed-generational workforce, and most importantly, the global market outlook are all bringing together a perfect storm that will forever change what it means to be in corporate. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

[polldaddy poll=”8478809″]