Tag: job market

Kick in the Pants: How to Find the Best Mentor For Your Career

Kick in the Pants: How to Find the Best Mentor For Your Career

career mentorIf there’s one thing that separates wildly successful people from everybody else, it’s often the presence of a mentor.

In the IT and tech worlds as in life, we can’t do everything on our own. We need good advice, a sounding board, and the perspective of somebody who understands where we’re coming from. So why do so many people avoid mentor-mentee relationships?

Because most people don’t understand how to get a mentor, if they realize they need one at all.

A great mentor is rarely handed to you. Sure, some people naturally fall into mentorships without making a concerted effort, but this isn’t something you want to leave to chance. In tech and IT, it’s imperative to be at the top of your game and to think like an entrepreneur. A mentor can help you make the most out of your job and show you how to turn it into your life’s work, not just another 9 to 5.

However, there’s a catch: finding the right person for you. But don’t despair. Mentees have found their mentor matches for centuries, and you can, too. All it takes is a little work.

How to Find Your Best Mentor

First, you need to realize that most mentorship happens organically.

The words “will you be my mentor?” should ideally never come out of your mouth. That’s because good relationships develop naturally over time. In fact, you may already have a mentor if you seek the counsel of a trusted advisor regularly. Don’t discount any relationship just because the person in the mentor role isn’t in your exact field or industry. If he or she is valuable to your career, the person becomes your mentor as soon as you start thinking of them as such. No further acknowledgment is necessary.

If you haven’t found your mentor yet, determine what traits and qualities an ideal mentor would have to be useful to your specific work life.

Does your mentor need to have taken your career path? Or would it be better to get an outsider’s perspective? Do they need to be senior-level, or would somebody with just a few extra years’ experience suffice? Remember that mentors can come from anywhere, so don’t set your sights too narrow.

Start or deepen a professional relationship with your would-be mentor.

If you’ve pinpointed a stranger as your ultimate mentor, do not start by asking him or her for mentorship. For new as well as old contacts, let them know that you value their knowledge and would appreciate their professional opinion. Invite them to coffee or lunch, and get to know them (or know them better). If and only if you feel that the relationship is comfortable for both of you, see if you can continue asking their advice in the future on an ongoing basis.

Be the relationship’s maintenance person.

When you’re receiving the benefits of mentorship, make your gratitude known. Say please and thank you. Ask your mentor about his or her life, and offer your help. Mentorship might look from the outside like a one-way street, but nothing is further from the truth. It’s up to you to nurture the relationship — and eventually, to pay it forward by taking on a mentor of your own.

 

Your Tech Job Search – The Real Skinny: You Don’t Have to Move to Silicon Valley to Find a Great Tech Job

Your Tech Job Search – The Real Skinny: You Don’t Have to Move to Silicon Valley to Find a Great Tech Job

Looking for the perfect tech job or IT job for you?

Your tech job search doesn’t have to be difficult or force you to relocate somewhere else across the country.

technical resume writer tech job searchWhen you’re frustrated with your tech job search, it’s tempting to think of moving to an area where it seems like people are getting hired left and right. But the truth is, you don’t have to move to California to get your dream tech job. In fact, there are several good reasons why you shouldn’t.

Take our native New York, for example. With major tech companies like Verizon, Time-Warner, IBM, and Siemens, the employment rate is growing at an annual increase of 3.08%, compared to the national average of 1.8%. And the jobs aren’t just opening up in New York City. CompTIA reports that there are 18,645 tech companies located throughout the state with an emerging abundance of openings in areas such as Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown.

With an average IT salary of $85,244, there are plenty of good reasons to stay in New York — the ninth-highest ranking state in terms of salary compared to all 50, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Convinced yet? Here are a few more great reasons to keep pounding the (local) pavement in your tech job search:

Avoid an over-saturated market.

In highly saturated markets like Silicon Valley’s, there may be more opportunity, but there’s also more competition for the available tech jobs and IT careers that are available..

Save yourself moving costs.

Unless you’re a top-ranking employee, most employers won’t cover moving costs, which can set you back a bundle — and twice that if you decide to move back.

Consider cost of living.

While Silicon Valley paychecks tend to be fatter, cost of living is dramatically higher than in most of New York. Your disposable income could flatline, or even decrease, depending on your job and where you live.

If you’re stuck in a rut with your tech job search, don’t pack up that moving truck just yet. Give us a call, and we’d be happy to work with you on finding a job that fits your IT career path and your ideal geographical location.

 

What To Do If Your Company Gets Acquired

What To Do If Your Company Gets Acquired

corporate mergerThere’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.

Let’s face the music: Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time. Perhaps your competitor wants to control the market share and snatches up your company without a second thought. Or maybe your company is already a market leader in a sector your competitor wants to break into. Whatever the situation, jobs are at risk during the transition, and that goes for the other company’s employees, too.

Finding out that change is afoot can come as a shock to employees and create an exceptionally stressful, tense environment. After all, mergers and acquisitions put your livelihood at risk. It’s no wonder that work atmospheres change instantly as soon as the news spreads.

The important thing to remember is that nothing’s set in stone until the leadership makes personnel decisions; it’s not a guaranteed death sentence to your job.

Don’t let your stress get the better of you, and seize this opportunity to build yourself a “lifeboat” to get you to your next job, if necessary.

While ideally, we’d all be perfectly prepared to get a great new job at the drop of a hat, that’s not the case for many people. Whether or not your business is going through a merger or acquisition right now, it’s smart to follow the steps below so you’ll never be caught off guard.

How to Survive a Merger or Acquisition

Get your finances in shape.
Planning a big purchase? Now’s the time to put that on hold. Eliminate any unnecessary spending and come up with a plan so you’ll be in good financial shape for the time it takes you to find a new job — just in case.

Refresh your resume.
It’s a great idea to always be updating your resume, but if you haven’t, start right now. You want to be ready to send it out to potential employers at the drop of a hat, especially if others in your same role will be on the job market at the same time as you.

Reach out to contacts.
Rekindle valuable relationships and reach out to new contacts that will strengthen your network. The sooner you do this, the better position you’ll be in if you need to let them know you’re looking for a new job.

Leverage HR.
Break out your hiring paperwork and see if you have any clauses written into it about whether your role can be laid off, severance pay, or non-compete agreements. Human resources mangers also often have a wealth of resources to help you find your next job, if necessary.

Keep your morale and work ethic high.
Show your superiors that you can take changes in stride by resisting the gossip and negativity that inevitably occur during mergers and acquisitions. You’ll make a great impression on those around you, which is a valuable edge to have during this transitional time.

 

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 (June 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) compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You?

Kick in the Pants: Work-Life Balance: What The Experts Are Saying

Kick in the Pants: Work-Life Balance: What The Experts Are Saying

work life balanceWork. Life. Balance. These are three of the most problematic words for employers and employees alike. How do you know if you have enough of it? Maybe you have too much of it? Are you working yourself to the bone? Or are people’s careers skyrocketing ahead of you because you focus too much on your personal life?

Experts’ thoughts on work-life balance are changing constantly, and the popular opinion on the subject is truly a moving target. That’s why we surveyed the latest information on the subject to report back to you how those three little words are being interpreted right now, in 2015.

Blurred Boundaries

Rarely are work and life two separate things these days, as Jacob Morgan of Forbes argues. As the expectation for being “always on” increases, so does the expectation that employees will find jobs they actually feel passionate about.

Smartphones Are Controversial

A major part of the blurred work/life boundaries has to do with technology, in particular, smartphones. But being constantly reachable on nights, weekends, and vacations isn’t always well-received by employees. As Fast Company reports, 65% of workers are expected to be reachable outside of work, but a whopping 35% of these employees feel they don’t have enough personal time.

A Little Imbalance Is Okay

As Entrepreneur author Boland Jones writes, “… for entrepreneurs, there’s very little delineation between the two parts of life.” Now that every employee should be thinking like an entrepreneur , we couldn’t agree more. When you’re in charge of your career and always thinking about what’s coming next, you might have work on your mind even when you’re not in the office — and that’s okay!

What’s important is that you connect the hard work you’re putting in with your overall career goals, not that you log long work hours just because everyone else is. When you can see the big picture and you like where you’re headed, it’s worth it.

The Real Skinny: Will Workplace Perks Make You Happier In Your Job?

The Real Skinny: Will Workplace Perks Make You Happier In Your Job?

workplace perksPeople in tech have one big benefit over people in other industries: the awesome workplace perks. We’ve all heard about the free meals, massages, and gym memberships that some companies use to herd all of the best talent their way. And yes, if your particular workplace doesn’t offer high-caliber perks, you might feel a little jealous, or even compelled to look for a more lavish workplace. But hold on for a second there: How do you know for sure that perks will actually make you happier at work?

We all know that money is not the same thing as happiness. If you’ve ever had a cushy job with a less-than-cushy boss, you also know that sometimes a paycheck just isn’t worth working in a toxic environment. Perks that save you money on things like groceries, exercise equipment, or daycare aren’t really that different from extra money in your pocket, and they certainly don’t guarantee a better relationship with your boss.

Most research shows that workplace perks don’t make much of a difference in employee happiness.

The top factors in employee happiness are often cited as fair pay, good working relationships, a sense of autonomy, and recognition for a job well done. When it comes to happiness, financial benefits are really only part of the equation. Of course it’s essential to be paid well for what you do — but do you really need all of the bells and whistles, too?

As attractive as a perk-filled workplace seems, it’s the quality of the perks —not the quantity — that really matters.

Not all companies can offer Google-level perks, and that’s okay. There are dozens of perks that reflect well on a potential employer, but have little to do with how much they are spending on extras. Oftentimes, these “quality” perks come in the form of workplace policies. Pet-friendly offices, casual Fridays, or summer hours, for instance, might not seem as glamorous as free lunch, but they actually might make a bigger impact on your day-to-day job fulfillment.

When you’re looking for your job, seek out perks that show that the employer actually cares about employees and isn’t just aiming to impress.

It’s easy to get starry-eyed when you’re in talks with a big company that offers tons of free stuff, but don’t mistake perks for the qualities you care about most in a job. Perks function in today’s world as a marketing tool that caters to potential employees. Some companies devote an extraordinary amount of time and resources into creating perks that will get your attention. This doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the perks or the company — it just means that you have to take extra care not to let perks distract you from what’s actually important to you.

Before you jump ship and pick up a new, perk-laden job, challenge yourself to figure out what’s vital to you in your next role, regardless of extras. Perks are fun and interesting for a little while, but having the job you want in an environment you love is a better long-term move for your career and for you.

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 (June 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) compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You?

 

Kick in the Pants: 5 Ways You Can Start Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

Kick in the Pants: 5 Ways You Can Start Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

technical recruiter helps with IT resumeIf you’ve been taking a slow, leisurely climb up the career ladder, listen up: It’s time to stop being passive and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

These days, it’s no longer your employer’s responsibility to plan out the next 20 years of your career — it’s yours. Work is changing, and if you want to have a career you love, you have to change along with it. Entrepreneurial thinking is the new “must” for every employee, whether you’re the newest hire or the CTO, and it’s the way you’re going to make the most of your current job and your future career.

So how do you start thinking like an entrepreneur, even if you feel the furthest thing from it?

Trim the Fat.

Entrepreneurs are the captains of the proverbial ship, and dead weight will sink it. Toss inefficiency overboard so you and your company can get where you’re going faster.

Let Your Passion Guide You.

What part of your job inspires you and fills you with new ideas? Focus on what drives you, even if seems small at first, to ignite your passion and come up with creative solutions.

Banish Fear.

Take calculated risks to up your entrepreneurial ante. The movers and shakers of the IT world don’t move and shake because they play it safe; they have the confidence to take intelligent risks and to handle the consequences.

Share Your Vision.

Don’t save your brilliance for a later date, or somebody might beat you to the punch.

Be “The” Expert.

Are you the go-to person in your workplace when a problem arises? Aim to know more, work harder, and pitch in more than anyone else to be seen as a leader, not just another employee.

When you put these practices into play, you’re better equipped to be a knockout at your current job, but more importantly, you groom yourself for a future career that just might surpass your expectations.

You Don’t Have to Be Corporate to Work Here, But It Helps

You Don’t Have to Be Corporate to Work Here, But It Helps

It’s a pretty pessimistic world these days. And although some forecasters see bright skies coming up over the job market horizon, others see only gloom mixed with a little doom. So, clearly, it depends on whom you talk to and on the world view or outlook you’ve decided to go with.

Job Impact of IT Outsourcing Recap

Job Impact of IT Outsourcing Recap

toon_119Outsourcing of business processes (BPO), including IT services and support, has been going on for many years. Our panel discussed the short-term and long-term impact to the US job market. Of course, this discussion extends beyond simply the number of jobs to the quality of the jobs and the ability to cultivate the tech talent here at home to satisfactorily fill those high-level IT positions. You can review the recap of our Tech Career Forum twitter chat that we held on Wed 2/13 at 3pm ET (#TCFchat) on Storify or at the Tech Career Forum LinkedIn Page. You’re welcome to post comments here as well.

Tech Job Market: 2012 Year in Review

Tech Job Market: 2012 Year in Review

toon-10712012 has been an interesting year for the IT and tech industry. We are going to review some of the highlights…and lowlights… and discuss how these events may shape the year to come. We’ll also review what the events of 2012 mean to active and passive job seekers going into 2013.

Join the discussion and hear expert opinions this Wednesday 12/19 at 3pm ET on twitter at #TCFchat. You can start by posting comments here or on the Tech Career Forum LinkedIn Group page.

The discussion topics include:

1. What were some of the major tech layoffs in 2012? What does that mean for 2013?

2. Offshore outsourcing or insourcing? Which way is the US tech market headed and why?

3. How has the unemployment rate for the general market impacted the IT and tech markets? Are you optimistic about 2013?

4. What are some technologies and/or skills that are in high demand as we get ready to begin 2013?

5. What are the most important takeaways from the events of 2012 to help better position you as a candidate in 2013?

 

Blame It on the Economy; Everyone Else Does

Blame It on the Economy; Everyone Else Does

When I first began as a career consultant, the economy wasn’t great. Then it got better. Then it tanked. In all three scenarios, however, one thing remained the same: Job seekers were ill-prepared to conduct a job search, and it was always the economy’s fault (yes, even in a good economy!). If this market were just doing better, or if that law were passed, or if this company were more viable…I’ve heard them all (and as a small business owner, I’ve had to navigate through the very same economies).
So why should job seekers be any different?