Significant Other Tech Career Move Survival Guide: Part I

Posted on November 6, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Consulting/Contracting, Executive Job Search, International Job Seekers, Job Market Trends, Job Promotion, Job Search Tips |

retirementHow You Both Survive This Upcoming Technical Career Move

Don’t take this the wrong way, but…

 The #1 impediment to career progression is often a significant other. (Yikes!)

The good news, though, is that on the flip side, our significant other can also be the #1 supporter of our career!

The line between becoming an impediment versus a supporter is often a fine one.

We don’t intend to impede our loved one’s career, of course. But unwittingly, we often transfer our own fears, concerns, perspectives, issues about money and success, experiences, and worry for our home and children onto our loved one’s shoulders, which can create an emotional barrier for him or her.

Today’s technical job market is a zoo, to put it lightly.

Protecting and advancing a career in this market is not so cut-and-dry as it might have been once. Simply having the talent and experience and waiting for someone to notice rarely works anymore. A lot of investment has to go into maintaining the certifications and nurturing the skill sets, and even then they don’t sell themselves as competition is strong at any level.

So to help you and your significant other as you prepare to face the market realities, I’ve put together this “survival guide” as a way to come together to make sure you become the #1 supporter throughout this process. Below are the first 8 ways you both survive this upcoming technical career move. (In Part II, we will look at 8 more.)

You Both Need to Recognize That:

  1. Tech is different. For someone with a technical background or who works in a tech-related industry, the market is a bit different. Some things might look the same, or sound the same, but the requirements are not necessarily the same. Therefore, the way other professionals (such as yourself) might conduct a job search might be somewhat different from what your technical significant other needs.
  2. Competition is strong. Whether it is an internal promotion or external move, the technical job market has strong competition. This means that your tech leader needs a differentiator to stand out from the masses who are all vying for the same jobs with similar qualifications. Even though he or she might have great certifications and advanced degrees, these things don’t “sell” themselves like they might in other industries. In technical markets, they are more often expected, which means a lot of people are getting them too. Now you have to compete against all the other candidates who also have that cert and who also feel it should just automatically open doors.
  3. Your significant other deserves more than just a resume. Because tech is different and competition is strong, the personal branding of our technical leaders takes time to develop, and it is important that it is done correctly by those who do understand the tech market and its demands. The #1 resume we fix at both ITtechExec and NoddlePlace is the one written by a significant other for the technical job market. Ouch! It’s true. Furthermore, it’s important that you don’t miss out on the portfolio approach that is proving to be so effective for technical candidates. Other industries might still be able to get away with the old school resume concept. Tech is different.
  4. These careers need to be maintained. If you’ve been through grad school or various certification programs with your technical significant other, then you already know what he or she goes through to stay relevant to the market. As we mentioned, these programs, however, only provide credentials. They don’t take those credentials and translate them specifically into the tech job market. So often obtaining a certification or advanced degree, while great, is only half the battle. There must be a strategy other than hoping for the best to make that investment in the learning pay off.
  5. Today’s job search can take 1 month for every $10-20K in salary. And that’s when the job search is a full-time gig! This means that for our level of client, they could be facing 6, 8, 10, or more months in job search mode. (It’s why we measure the results our members receive.) We knew we could do better for our clients, and with our resume portfolio AND job search “launch” solutions, we do. For the past year, our clients have been averaging 2.4 months and recovering ~169 hours of time that would have been lost!
  6. Promotions are a job search too. All too often, we have a tendency to think that because our loved one might be up for promotion that he or she will just get it because they “deserve” it or have been waiting in the wings for it. The truth is the internal promotion is just as important to prepare for as the external one (perhaps even more so because it is a higher stakes process). Corporate politics, forgetfulness, and other kinds of hiring/retention practices (what we call “goo”) can and often do get in the way. Plus, we believe that technical pros should always know their worth in the marketplace and have leverage with their current organizations.
  7. Tech pros are changing jobs every 3-4 years. Even if your significant other is beating these odds, change is still inevitable. That’s probably true in all fields these days, but it is especially true in technical fields. One reason is because of the high demand for outside contracting/consulting. Therefore, it is important that he or she keeps their materials up to date and ready to go. It’s also why we advocate for a “corporate entrepreneur” mindset that creates peace of mind through preparation. Less stress is a very good thing!
  8. Resumes aren’t dead, but they’re ailing. It used to be that the tech candidate barely even needed a resume, but today a resume is no longer enough. LinkedIn profiles are becoming more and more important in the job search process, and addenda to the resume that enhance on the soft skills and leadership experience of your technical leader go a long way. We also have infographic resumes and marketing briefs at our disposal. You don’t have to do them all, which is why we believe in first setting a strategy and then building customized solutions to meet that strategy. We never just toss resumes and LI profiles out there and hope something sticks!

(Stay tuned for Part II.)

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