If there’s one stereotype about techies that is almost always true (and I have a family full of them) is that they can talk all day about virtualization and network security issues and debate the merits of this solution or that, but they are pretty mum when it comes to talking about their careers. They want you to be impressed (if they even think about that at all) with how they can use their knowledge of technology to solve real business problems, but they want to show, not tell. They are high-level problem solvers, not philosophers.
Talking is overrated anyway.
It’s Time to Come Out of the Shadows
Ten years ago, that quality wasn’t a big issue in the workplace. In fact, it was kind of expected. The techies would hide out in their cubicle caves devising the next solution or migration, and everyone else basically tried to stay out of their way. Today, however, techies often find themselves getting a bad rap, needing to fight to show that they are more than just a commodity that can be outsourced on a whim, that they know how to communicate their knowledge in a way that “tells” value as well as “shows” it. It’s an annoyance, for sure, but like it or not, it’s where the market is continuing to head.
Also, it’s more than about just being more approachable at work; with social media becoming more and more a part of our personal lives, the idea of “engagement” is now a hot topic when it comes to pursuing our careers and how we position ourselves to “influence” the virtual marketplace. Whether you are looking for the next position or happy where you currently are, it is wise to figure out how to use social media to “chat” about your “core talkable difference,” in other words, what makes you unique in your knowledgebase and how you can talk about it. It’s time to stop thumbing your nose at social media as a tool for helping you in your career.
I know, I know, I can hear you now: “Social media is overhyped.” “Social media is a waste of time.” “Social media is just for GenYers.”
And you know what? All of that is somewhat true. What’s also true, however, is that social media is a tool that you can use to your advantage if you know how to do so (I know because I’ve tried it!). If someone tells you that social media is just a time-waster, chances are they aren’t that knowledgeable about it in the first place. You need to get advice from those who use it effectively, and the only way to do that is to get on there…(just sayin’).
Social Media & the Techie
So here are three ways techies can get more chatty across social media and use it to their advantage in their careers:
I know…who has time, right? But blogging is where you can really shine, especially if you know how to drive traffic to your site. You don’t have to talk about how wonderful you are, just communicate your knowledge, share tips, link up with like-minded others. Think of it less as “selling” yourself and more as directing your career down the path that most interests you.
Both the Groups and Answers features on LinkedIn are good tools for engaging with others and for getting an opportunity to share and respond to information about your main topics of interest. You can position yourself as someonen to listen to as well as someone who listens to others.
Some people will call Twitter the biggest waste of time on the Internet, and it certainly can be…if you don’t have a strategy for how you are using it. Not only can you “tweet” out your blog links and LI group responses, but also you can engage in Twitter chats that are relevant to your background. Here are two we recommend:
- #ITchat (Tues., 1pm, Eastern): Each week this chat covers a different topic related to IT.
- #TCFchat (Wed., 3pm, Eastern): Hosted by the Tech Career Forum, this chat covers issues related to career and job search, from resume to personal branding to the state of the IT job market. You can learn more about the Tech Career Forum and #TCFchat on LinkedIn. You can also find out about the latest questions/topics for the upcoming Wednesday chat.
The ITtechExec Way
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