Now That Techies Are Cool

Posted on December 9, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Consulting/Contracting, Job Market Trends, Job Search Tips | Tags: , , |

Techie career

Techies: Congrats! You’re finally cool. 🙂

With a plethora of job openings in the tech sector, it should come as no surprise that those who once thought they would rather do anything else but program code or work with “tech” (much less hang out with those who do) are now suddenly changing their tune. It also doesn’t hurt that the title of “geek” or “techie” is suddenly something cool, thanks to the rise of innovators like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

As a result, job postings are being flooded with wannabes. You know, those English majors who now want to be computer science geeks (hey, they probably did read a lot of sci-fi growing up…) and work for some trendy Silicon Valley startup so they can blog about it. (My wife is an English major, so I reserve the right to poke fun.)

The impact this has on the market, though, is that it slows the hiring process and makes hiring managers throw up their hands and say, “there’s a shortage of talent.” [I would argue that most likely these companies are also ill equipped to handle the hiring process properly and just give up after skimming through the 500th communications major resume. (For more on this, check out my earlier post, “From the Corporate Goo to the Job Market Zoo“.)]

All hope is not lost for the true techie, however. A recent article by CNN Money, called “Why getting into tech isn’t as easy as you think“, outlines some of the hurdles these crossover candidates are facing. For one thing, they need to be aware that the tech industry has its own set of rules and skill sets that are particular to it, and they must demonstrate that they can maneuver through it. [Like learning how to “speak code” would be one place to start; see my post “Why Our Programming Knowledge Needs an Ugrade“]

So, all of this should be good news for techies, then, right?

Well, in the midst of all these non-techies trying to break into the industry, those candidates with tech experience must tread carefully. Here are two important things to consider:

  1. Cultural fit is increasingly important to employers. It might seem like a buzz phrase or passing trend, but “cultural fit” in the 2014 job market will be a key factor. That means, essentially, that techies need to work on their soft skills. It’s not just enough to have that IBM background or Cisco certification; now you need to demonstrate you can move within the environment the employer has, which is not always an easy sell for a group who tends to be more introverted. This is an area where your non-tech wannabes can have some advantage. If they can demonstrate that they can be innovative and learn the lingo, they might edge out someone with a more technical background for a management or less hands-on tech role based on their ability to meet the “cultural fit.”
  2. Think business opportunity when showcasing skill sets. Here at NoddlePlace, this is a big part of our mantra to our clients. It’s not always just about what certification you have. You need to be able to take that credential and show how you can use it to increase business efficiency and value. In other words, you need to be aware of what the business does, what problems it has, and how you can use your tech skills to make it better. Then you need to articulate that. So, no more hiding in the cubicle in the corner hoping management will “get” your value. It doesn’t work that way. What most likely happens is that management thinks it doesn’t have the right talent or that it isn’t out there.
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Career Management and Your Domain Name Do Go Together

Posted on November 22, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Executive Job Search, Job Market Trends, Job Search Tips, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , |

toon924OK. So you might be thinking, “what does my domain name have to do with career management?”

Answer: More than you might think.

Owning your domain name will soon become more important than ever.

If you’re like me, you probably never gave it much thought. I mean, who cares about “”? Why would anyone want to own that? Why would I want to own that?

Answer: Because as social recruiting and social networking continues to rise, having your own domain name will be the new business card, and it will be the hub of your online “community.”

Sounds a bit much? I don’t think so.

We have already entered a mindset in hiring that candidates who are unsearchable online are becoming increasingly suspect and that there is a demand for more authenticity in a candidate’s online bios and profiles.

Translation: They claim to want more content marketing from job seekers. They want to go online, read your profiles, check out your activity, see what content you are sharing. And they are going to want to “Google” you and find a central hub for all of that…your domain name. (And, by the way, that is becoming true even when you aren’t actively seeking. The concept of “social” engagement among a company’s employees is a hot topic right now.)

Now, I have to admit some skepticism here. These are all the same people proclaiming that they can’t spend more than 6 seconds reading a resume because the “resume is dead” (yet when repeatedly asked what they would prefer to read, they respond with “LinkedIn profile”…essentially a resume in narrative form; of course, after they “read” your profile, they then ask you to do what? Yep…submit a resume!). So it is somewhat a stretch to believe they are going to wade through layers and layers of online content.

I think what they are really saying is that they want to get a “sense” of who you are as a candidate. They want to feel that you have embraced the social era (like it or not!) and that you are establishing yourself as a subject matter expert of some kind.

That’s why you need to take control of your domain name before someone else does.

Crazy as it may sound, as people become more and more aware of the power they can have over someone else’s reputation, there is nothing stopping them from purchasing your domain name and either pretending to be you or using it to damage your name. (I’m just thinking of what an ex-spouse or disgruntled co-worker could do!)

It might be crazy, but it is worth the few bucks a year.

It doesn’t cost much to buy it now, but it could cost a lot later on down the road as the trend increases. So, take some time today and add your domain name to your career management portfolio. Use it to build that central hub where your web bio, social media contact buttons, and blog are all located. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming; just keep it current. And most importantly, keep it under your control…not someone else’s.

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Waiting Around for Technical Career Advancement Is Time Consuming!

Posted on November 20, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Personal Branding | Tags: , , |

career managementIn two previous posts (“Who Sets the Rules in Your Career?” and “The Top 2 Technical Career Motivators“), I focused quite a bit on what motivates us the most when it comes to our careers. In this post, I am going to discuss what seems to be the least thing that motivates us: time.

Obsessing about time is not the same thing as being motivated by it.

If there’s one thing that all professionals seem to have in common it is our obsession with discussing time. We are constantly trying to get the “timing right,” waiting for the “right time,” when the “time is right.” In fact, there is so much discussion about this scarce resource that you might be fooled into thinking that we really did care about it! Or that it really did motivate us to take action!

Techies are no different. When it comes to technical career advancement, they too seem to be waiting around for their “time.”

Time is more of a de-motivator than a motivator.

Think about it: It’s not what we say, it’s what we do. So although we might “say” a lot of things about time, how does that affect what we do? In many, many cases, the more we talk, the less we actually do.

The time is rarely right…until afterward.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I guess the time was just right”? More often that not, it’s a great line to use after we’ve made a change AND everything has worked out well. But typically, when you make the first move, you generally aren’t sure. You’ve read all the signs, prayed for a miracle, and started making a few calls…and you’re just hoping that you’ve timed it all perfectly! But what we’re really saying is that we just don’t want to try and fail…

And even if the time is right…you’re not ready.

Unfortunately, because we’ve been waiting and waiting for the right time, when “it” does come (whatever “it” is), we’re not ready because preparation didn’t seem necessary (it’s rarely a sexy buy). And pretty soon we’re scrambling to get ourselves presentable for that opportunity.

Don’t let time be your reason and your excuse for poor career management.

In the world of sales, there is an argument that a person needs to have both a reason and an excuse to buy something (or NOT to buy something). I would argue that more often than not we will ignore the reason (logic) in favor of the excuse (emotion).

For instance, it often doesn’t matter that we know we should be managing our own career advancement. We have a ton of great reasons to do so! The logic part is easy.

BUT, just because we aren’t sure about the timing, we’ll let that be a good excuse to get out of actually doing anything about it. And, thus, what we are really saying (but not saying) is that our emotion doesn’t line up with our reason. So we don’t make the investment.

Listen. There’s not a lot of fun in the idea of career management. And the thought of constant career management is daunting, at best. It would be really nice if the stars all aligned and the right timing was always clear.

But there is nothing so time consuming as waiting around for nothing to happen.

So what should you be doing?

  1. Maximize your potential with your current engagement: Are you tracking and building a project highlights portfolio? As I mentioned in an earlier post (“The Era of Promotions Will Return“), internal promotions will be on the rise within the next few years and the competition will be tight. It’s tough to go back and remember. You need to be documenting now.
  2. Position yourself to attract recruiters now BEFORE you need them: Recruiters will not admit it, but they much prefer to chase you rather than the other way around. They like finding hot prospects they can “steal” away from competitors. Remember, you can always turn them down…so why miss out on potential opportunities? Isn’t it nice to be wanted for a change?
  3. Begin building a network pipeline: In the world of online businesses, content marketing is key right now. And “engagement” is the word of the hour. Professionals need to take some tips from this world. Are you referable? If so, does your network show that? And I am not just talking about LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements…have you built a credible online brand? It’s better to consider these things NOW before you need them…because you will need them…the job market is changing, and social recruiting is here.

If you can start making strides in these areas, then “timing” will be less of a discussion because you will begin creating opportunities for yourself, and the “time” will almost always be right!

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