The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

Posted on January 8, 2015. Filed under: Career Management, Consulting/Contracting, Cyber Security, Engineering, Executive Job Search, Healthcare IT, International Job Seekers, Interviews, IT networking, Job Market Trends, Job Promotion, Job Search Tips, LinkedIn, Manufacturing, Personal Branding, Product Development, Programming, Project management, Recruiting, Software Development, Technical Sales |

2015 job marketGreat news: Bloomberg reports that after November’s remarkable hiring surge, the job market is expected to grow in 2015. If you’ve been stuck in a non-ideal or part-time job and are looking to make a strategic career move, now is the best time to do it. The way we hire and work is changing now more than ever, and there are many exciting opportunities for IT and other technical professionals. But what do you do if you haven’t been on the job hunt in a while and don’t know the new rules of interviewing and hiring?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

  1. Expect a different hiring process

More and more companies are realizing that how they hire reflects well (or poorly) upon their brand. Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are aiming to make the process more human and relatable. Use this friendlier recruitment process to showcase your soft skills, but always keep it professional.

  1. Build a portfolio

Whether or not you have something physical to show for the work you’ve done, hiring managers will want to see examples of your work before you get the interview. Write case studies for projects you’ve worked on to broadcast your skills and back up your claims of success.

  1. Go beyond LinkedIn

If you haven’t spruced up your LinkedIn lately, now’s the time — but don’t stop there! Develop a social media presence that shows off your skills and interest in your profession.

  1. Ask the right questions

A report from LinkedIn says that many qualified job candidates don’t get hired because the interviewers don’t know the best questions to ask them. Learn the “forced-choice question” method — asking what the main objectives for the job are, and then using examples to show how you can achieve them — to help improve your odds.

  1. Anticipate a 3-5 year tenure

Perhaps the biggest change of all, many companies now realize that job seekers will only stay at the company for a handful of years. Know this when going into the interview, and stress what a difference you can make in a short time frame. Be sure to think of this job as the stepping stone to what’s next, not the position you’ll be in for the next several decades.

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Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Posted on December 9, 2014. Filed under: Big Data, Career Management, CIO, Consulting/Contracting, Cyber Security, Engineering, Executive Job Search, Healthcare IT, International Job Seekers, IT networking, Job Market Trends, Job Promotion, Job Search Tips, Manufacturing, Personal Branding, Product Development, Programming, Project management, Software Development, STEM, Technical Sales, Women in IT |

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.

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Is Tech Getting Too Soft?

Posted on March 25, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Job Market Trends, Manufacturing, Personal Branding |

soft skillsIn my last couple of posts, I have been discussing the results of a survey conducted by the LMA Consulting Group and APICS Inland Empire, in which they surveyed employers in the manufacturing and logistics arenas. First I looked at the rise in employee retention efforts due to a skills gap shortage. Then I discussed the professional/technical skills that are reported as most lacking by these employers.

Now, I’d like to look at the soft skills these companies want from their talent.

Tech and soft skills is another topic I have been visiting (and revisiting) over the last several months as I read career trend after career trend that state that soft skills combined with tech skills is in high demand by today’s employers. (For some of my posts, check out “The Softer Side of Tech” and “The Road to Promotion: Culture, Culture, Culture“.)

Here are the soft skills listed in highest demand:

  • Presentation and Communication Skills
  • Writing Skills (check out an earlier post on this subject: “Why Our Writing Skills Need an Upgrade“)
  • Problem-Solving
  • Collaboration & Teamwork
  • Management Skills

When you combine this list with the professional/technical skills list, you realize it’s a pretty tall order.

They’re looking for an extroverted introvert who thinks like a strategic business partner while architecting the latest systems solution in the latest technologies.

[And, oh, it would be nice if you didn’t care about money too much…they’d prefer you to be more concerned with “culture,” please.]

Hmm. No wonder there’s a talent shortage…they’re looking for 1 in a billion! 🙂

It does make you wonder whether tech hasn’t gone a little too soft.

Somewhere along the way we’ve romanticized the idea of the global workplace filled with TV commercial-like versions of “IBMers” all brilliant, all innovative, all articulate, all enthralled with brand building, all trying to save the planet.

And now companies are frustrated that this image isn’t reality. So they are going to do more molding (aka “mentoring”) and image building (aka “employees as brand ambassadors”) and cultural awareness training (aka “onboarding”) all while continuing to pay low, missing the boat on retention, and producing odd mantras about culture and leadership. None of which, mind you, gets you any closer to fulfilling your skills shortage gap…

But I digress…

The bottom line is that for the professional who can succeed in presenting just enough tech skills combined with the right soft skills, opportunity is certainly there.

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