Have you taken steps to build your online brand? Here’s an interesting fact: even if you haven’t taken steps yet to cultivate it, chances are you already have an online presence that can be searched and reviewed by potential employers. From online reviews at sites like Amazon to social media posts and more, your online presence is a tool many employers will use to help make a hiring decision.
Creating and managing your online brand is essential
If you haven’t taken formal steps to build and manage your online brand, now is the time. In fact, here are some tips for building an effective one. But in this blog, I’m going to get into the basics – where to start and how to build your online brand so that it’s easy for employers to find both you, and the well-crafted messaging you intend for them to find!
Here are the three first steps you should take:
1. Google yourself. First things first… you need to know exactly what employers presently see when they Google your name. See which online profiles you have set up and what they include about you, so you can make changes or delete them entirely. If you have profiles on outdated sites that you haven’t used in awhile (i.e. an old MySpace account you haven’t accessed in a long time), I recommend deleting them. That way, when you purposefully build your online brand, you’ll be taking the steps to ensure potential employers see what you want them to see.
2. Get social. Chances are you already have a Facebook profile, but have you optimized your privacy settings? Keeping your personal activities to yourself is one way to protect your online brand and ensure that employers are seeing what you want them to see. These tips will help you ensure your profile is visible to the right people. Facebook’s new Graph Search functionality is also impacting privacy…check out this infographic to understand how it can impact you (and how you can take control).
Now is also the time to reserve your name on other sites that employers may check, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and About.me. At the bare minimum, complete your profiles with a professional-looking image and basic information about your background and skillset. Keep the image and descriptions consistent across each site to ensure a professional image. Once you’ve set up your profiles, choose one to two social media outlets to connect with colleagues, peers and potential employers. While LinkedIn is the most obvious choice for professional connections, Twitter offers significant potential to connect and reach out to employers in a non-confrontational way (people expect you to reach out and build relationships on Twitter!). On Twitter, you can find relevant content to your industry and share it—use hashtags to build followers. These are just a few of the things you can do to start building your online brand through social media.
3. Consider a website. Websites may seem like a lot of work, but online applications like WordPress offer free, easy-to-build websites—it serves as another cost-efficient and excellent way to build your online brand. Go to a site like GoDaddy.com to see if your domain is available (check by entering “yourname.com”—if you have a pretty common name, you may need to use a variation like “your-name.com” or something similar). Consider purchasing your domain, as well as any other variations. Hackers and spammers are known to buy up domains that are similar to other sites to trick people into visiting them—buying variations of your domain will protect your identity and your online brand! Once your domain is purchased, it’s time to “build” your website. You can purchase a WordPress theme (that’s your website design) for as little as a few dollars. Or, you can easily download a free WordPress theme. Then, keep it simple—your website can be a basic introduction to your skills and background, with links to your social profiles (of course!) and contact information. Creating a website can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple website with a page showcasing your skills, expertise and past accomplishments to an employer will be extremely effective. The idea is that you control the message, and how you are presented to potential employers!
Complete these three steps and you’ll be well on your way toward effectively building and controlling your online brand. Are there any other steps you’ve taken to build your online brand? Have any tips to share? We’d love to hear them!
As an IT professional, the phrase “soft skills” might not ring any bells. In a world where technical skills are essential, soft skills aren’t necessarily on your “must-have” list – but they should be.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are those interpersonal and business skills that help you land an IT job and advance your IT career. They dictate how you interact with colleagues and managers, how you present yourself, and how you communicate. Here are just a few examples:
The ability to make and maintain eye contact
The ability to present yourself as neat, organized and professional
The ability to effectively communicate your skills, questions and feedback (both verbally and in writing)
I’d like to add some other traits to this list that might not fall into the category of “soft skills,” but are traits that are essential to showing employers and managers that you are a well-rounded IT professional:
Turning your cell phone off during interviews and while on the job
Honesty in your background, needs and day-to-day work (both with your recruiter and your employer)
Why do soft skills (and other essential traits) matter?
A wise recruiter (in fact, it was Indecon’s own Brannon Nealy) once said that technical skills can be taught, but soft skills are developed over time. And they’re just as essential to a successful career – at any stage.
When we talk to our clients and understand their needs and goals, we overwhelmingly hear from clients who want well-rounded IT professionals. Professionals who have the technical ability (and potential) to succeed in the role, but who possess those skills and traits I mentioned above. And who are a good fit for the cultural environment.
Employers want IT professionals who have the presentation and communication skills to succeed in a variety of work settings. Possess those skills and you are in great shape to land an IT job, or advance your IT career.
As a staffing firm that is really more of a consulting partner, we understand how important the right fit is to the short- and long-term success of our client’s employees. So we take the time to ensure that our candidates possess the skills needed to thrive.
The interview process
Every day, we see candidates who possess none or just a few soft skills. If you are concerned that you don’t possess the skills needed to make a good impression, don’t worry! Here at Indecon, we give in-depth coaching to our candidates in a range of soft skills and other areas to ensure that you put your best foot forward and are ready to make an impact.
Your long-term IT career
Developing those soft skills when you’re still looking for work will also make a big impact on your long-term career. Here’s a great example:
One of our recruiters spent significant phone time with a consultant recently. This consultant was having difficulty communicating with his manager, and was feeling frustrated. Our recruiter talked at length to the consultant, to the manager and to other workers at the employer to understand the manager’s communication style and how to most effectively work with him. He conveyed the feedback to the consultant to “fix” the strained relationship.
Can you see where effective communication skills could make an impact in a situation like this? When first starting at a new place of employment, observing your colleagues’ and manager’s communications styles will help you understand and evaluate the best ways to interact with them and get your work done. When it’s time for a promotion or other opportunity, the strength of your communication (and other skills) will help you shine and stand out among your peers!
What other soft skills should we include in the list? Do you have any stories of effective (or ineffective) soft skills? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Whether you’re in a small town, a big city or something in between, there is no staffing agency that services all companies in your entire region. Consequently, when looking for job opportunities, working with multiple recruiters and staffing agencies can speed up your search and give you a better range of positions to consider. Experienced IT contractors are likely already aware of the best ways for working with multiple staffing agencies. However, less experienced IT professionals, who are newer to working with staffing agencies, may not know the best ways to utilize these relationships. And that’s where we can help.
Here at Indecon Solutions, we encourage you to maximize your reach and accessibility to opportunities by partnering with multiple staffing agencies. If you’re already working with an agency and are looking for more, or maybe better opportunities, give us a call!
When working with multiple staffing firms, there are 3 key things to keep in mind:
1. It’s all complementary. By strategically choosing the recruiters and agencies you partner with, you can hit most major employers in your market. But it’s important that you do your homework and seek out those agencies that have complementary client relationships. There is no benefit to potential employers receiving your resume from multiple sources for the same position. In fact, it can actually hurt your chances of landing a position.
2. Take an active role. Sure, your recruiter is here to help you reach your IT career goals, and, as a staffing agency, we’ll work on your behalf to find the right match between your skills and an open position. But it’s imperative that you take an active role in the process, particularly when you’re working with multiple agencies. Be sure you’re managing which companies the agencies are submitting your resume to, and for what positions. Some staffing agencies will “blast” resumes to employers, which many consider a nuisance. This can dilute your value in the market and actually hurt your chances of landing a position. You should require each agency you work with to get your permission prior to submitting your credentials for a position. A few minutes managing where your resume is going can pay off in dividends down the road.
3. You want a “high-touch” firm on your side. Here at Indecon, we are a “high-touch” agency. We do a careful job of screening candidates and submitting them for appropriate IT jobs. To put it simply, other staffing agencies simply don’t do this same level of screening and matching. Due to this diligence, most employers will take more seriously candidates who come from a firm like ours. What does this mean for you? When choosing a staffing agency to partner with, be sure to understand their process. In fact, here are questions you should ask all your recruiters: a. Who are your clients (companies with job openings)? b. What is your screening process? c. Does your agency have direct relationships with clients? Agencies that do not have direct relationships can sometimes bombard employers with resumes, hoping to get a match. This can put you at a distinct disadvantage.
A recruiter who evades these questions or is unwilling to answer them likely isn’t invested in your career’s success. Don’t be afraid to ask recruiters about their methodology and past results – this is your career after all!
One additional thing to keep in mind: You may be more successful in your job search if you work with an agency that meets you face to face, gets to know you and your skills, and can therefore present your unique qualification to their client.
I hope these tips help you effectively manage your job search with multiple staffing agencies. If you have any questions or would like to team up with Indecon Solutions, give us a call, or check out our current openings.
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles.
All of us feel the strain of workplace stress from time to time. But, prolonged stress at work will take a toll on IT professionals and will stifle your career goals. But there’s even more to it. Workplace stress will affect your:
Attitude – Ever feel like you’ve lost your positive attitude? Workplace stress could be piling up and affecting your personality.
Sleep – Workplace stress can affect more than your IT career, it can have a dramatic impact on your personal life as well. In particular, stress can affect how much and how well you sleep. And that makes it even harder to get through the next workday – it’s a vicious cycle!
Health – All stress, not just workplace stress, has been linked to higher cholesterol, anxiety, heart disease and stroke…none of which sound very appealing!
Now that we’ve established how workplace stress can negatively impact your career goals and personal life, let’s take a look at what you can do about it. I’ve seen and spoken to many IT professionals over the years who suffer from workplace stress.
I know that professionals like you have unique sources of stress at work. Lack of confidence in skill sets, uncertainty about job security and other factors can lead to incredible self-doubt in your IT career. Well, that self-doubt is leading to stress, which only fuels the fire.
Combat self-doubt and banish workplace stress with these tips:
Be aware of your workplace stress triggers. Pay attention to feelings of workplace stress and write down or record the circumstances or triggers that led up to them. Chances are, this is a recurring process, so if you can understand the triggers, you can prevent stressful feelings from taking over your IT career in the future.
Always have a backup plan. You wouldn’t forget to back up your computer, so why would you go into a project without a backup plan? At the onset of a project, all IT professionals should identify two or three possible scenarios and create basic plans to deal with them, should those situations come to fruition. This isn’t just a good way to banish workplace stress, it’s good practice for successful IT projects!
Change your way of thinking. If you’re not in the right IT career, you might feel self-doubt about whether you can do the job. Maybe you’re unhappy or unmotivated. Is this just your job, or are you meant to do this? If you’re not feeling fulfilled at work, then you’re only hurting yourself and making workplace stress unbearably bad. It’s time to get into the right IT career opportunity for you (a little self-promotion here – Indecon can help you find the right IT career opportunity for your goals).
Have a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude toward a situation or project is proven to have an impact on its success (therefore reducing your workplace stress levels). Don’t approach IT projects with a doubtful mindset, go in with a positive attitude and you might just reduce the stress associated with it.
Find a mentor. Find an IT career mentor to provide you with motivation for reaching your career goals. Mentors can have a profound impact on IT professionals, and can help you lower workplace stress while reaching your career goals. These tips can help you find your IT career mentor.
What types of steps do you take to reduce workplace stress? We’d love to hear your stories and tips! Feel free to share them in the comments section below, or on Facebook and Twitter.
Resolutions can help you reach your goals—here are some ideas to pursue in the new year. However, I’m not here to give you ideas for resolutions. What I do want to share is how to help you reach your goals in 2013: define your career path with an IT career map.
Defined Career Paths are Not a Given
Some large companies build defined career paths into their internal processes; however, you are more than likely not going to receive a set career path from your employer upon hire. In management or sales roles, they are more common, but in IT, you are likely on your own. But don’t let the lack of a formal career path be a deterrent, it’s important to take control of your IT career and not just let it happen. Defining a career path with a map can mean the difference between an acceptable career and a truly exceptional one.
Why Build an IT Career Map?
Defining your career path will make a dramatic impact on your success. IT career maps provide:
More job satisfaction. Knowing that you’re working toward a specific goal in your IT career and understanding what it will take to get to the next level in your career path will lead to greater satisfaction.
Help deciding where you want to go. Building an IT career map will force you to look at your role within a company and understand if you’re serving a critical need. During the process, you may realize that you don’t have the skills needed to reach your career goals, or that your organization doesn’t have the IT career opportunities you’re seeking. Defining a career path will help you identify and make choices that help you reach your career goals.
Guidance regarding the skills you need. That same process will also help you identify key skills you’ll need to reach your career goals. When building an IT career map, you’re not just identifying the roles you want someday, but you are also developing a structured plan to get there. This includes identifying key skills you’ll need, and opportunities for additional education.
The Next Steps
Okay, your company may not have defined a career path for you, and you’ve made the decision to build your own IT career map…now what?
Realize that it’s one step at a time. Sure, you might be in a hurry to reach your career goals, but understand that you’ll need to achieve one step at a time in your IT career—with your eye on long-term goals. Treat your IT career map as sort of a chess map—focus on the next step, but think five steps ahead. Constantly work toward achieving your immediate and long-term goals, and make decisions based on those goals.
Don’t forget business skills. In most IT career maps, you’ll need more than technical skills to reach your goals. It may be tempting to focus solely on the technical, but advanced business skills will be necessary to reach management or executive levels. Be sure not to neglect those skills.
Understand that you will deviate from your plan. You’ve put all this hard work into defining your career path. Now, understand that your IT career map will change. More than once. The average career path can span 15 to 20 years…think of how many things can change or circumstances can fluctuate in that time! Career mapping is a dynamic process, particularly in the IT industry. Here’s a great rule of thumb: Review and update your plan at the start of each year, at the same time you update your resume. Or even better, revisit it several times per year as your career goals, skills and circumstances change. But be sure to revisit and update your defined career path at least once per year. It’s essential toward keeping you on the right path to reach your IT career goals.
Have you created an IT career map? How has it worked out for you? We’d love to hear your stories! Please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.
2012 flew by, didn’t it? Here at Indecon, we had a great year working alongside our clients and consultants. Did you reach your IT career goals last year? What career goals have you set for 2013? From experience, I know that starting off strong is essential to a successful year. What better way to start off strong than to kick off with a makeover to help you reach your career goals?
Now, a career makeover is no ordinary makeover. It’s a makeover that will define several areas where you can improve to see greater IT career success. You’ll be on track to reach your specific career goals. Feel free to bookmark this blog post as a checklist or reminder to keep you on track to reach your goals as you start off the New Year.
Your IT Career Makeover Checklist
Here are four areas to focus on for a successful IT career makeover:
Style. By no means am I suggesting you should change your personal style; however, take a good look at your wardrobe. Does it match your current position? How does it compare to the next job title you’d like to achieve in your IT career? The old adage “Dress for Success” is popular because it’s true. You may have also heard that you should “Dress for the position you want, not the one you have.” So, while you should not sacrifice your personal taste and style, take an honest look at your wardrobe and determine if each piece really conveys the right impression to your coworkers and supervisors.
Attitude. The right attitude is critical to your short- and long-term IT career success. Take a minute and reflect on your attitude in 2012. Were you constantly complaining? Focusing on challenges instead of solutions? Did you engage in office gossip? I’ll put this bluntly—stop it! Most people fall into those traps, but the most successful professionals will tell you they quickly move on from those thoughts and later avoid them completely. Instead, focus on positive attributes, constructive challenges and attainable goals. Not only will you be happier at work, but you’re also likely to grab the attention of your peers for your renewed attitude in the workplace. Attitude can be one of the hardest parts of a career makeover, but it can have the biggest impact.
Skills. Now’s a great time to jump start new training or education as part of your career makeover. Take a look at in-demand IT skills and assess which will help you reach your IT career goals. Or, if you’re looking to move into a management role, consider returning to school for management or business classes. A range of skills outside of traditional IT will help you in your career. Communication and writing skills can also be a great boost. Makeover your skills, and you’ll be poised for the great opportunities that come your way. We’ve profiled in-demand skills for business analysts and project managers. These posts will get you off to a great start!
Job Searching. Are you searching for a new job? You may be in a bit of a job search rut. Do you go to the same job boards and submit the same resume to every opening? If so, your job seeking time investment is not getting you the IT career results you deserve. Your job search should be a key component of your career makeover. So, include new job search habits in your career makeover. Meet with a recruiter to gain access to a range of new jobs (including many that aren’t posted on public job boards). Refresh your resume with clean formatting, results-oriented bullet points, and a skills summary that will get the attention of hiring managers. Network at events in your area to expand and better leverage your network of contacts. Or, take the time to optimize and refresh your LinkedIn profile so recruiters and potential employers can see just how great you are when they visit your profile. There are numerous ways to makeover your job search. Get creative and see results!
Are there other areas you suggest for a successful IT career makeover? Can you think of specific career goals that would benefit from a career makeover? We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences! Feel free to share thoughts, ideas and comments in the blog section below.
Throughout my 25 years’ experience in talent management and staffing, I have seen some trends come and go. But there is one trend that has stood the test of time, and one that I have consistently recommended to my employers, colleagues and clients throughout the years: bring in fresh talent. I feel passionately about the positive impact this trend can bring to an organization. It’s not rocket science, but a simple business notion that works.
In today’s Internet-fueled society, fresh, young talent is being grouped into its own category (and unique buzzword): millennials. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but a trend that I’ve been promoting for several decades is now one of the hottest topics in HR and recruiting. Millennials are constantly being rated, recommended or reviewed in a variety of online resources. This article from The Week identifies some ways that millennials are changing today’s workplaces. And the Washington Post even posted a guide to help professionals work more effectively with this burgeoning group.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of hiring millennials:
Cost-savings. This one is easy, but it’s incredibly important for every business. Younger, more inexperienced talent costs less. You’re instantly making an impact on your bottom line when you make an investment in younger talent.
Enthusiasm. Talent fresh out of school tends to approach their new career with innovation and unbridled enthusiasm that will be applied to helping your business reach its goals. Imagine what a team of millennials could do when combining that enthusiasm toward a common goal!
Energy. Now, I’m not saying you should work your team to the bone with frequent 12-hour days, but many millennials have a ton of energy to apply during the workday. Two o’clock slump? What two o’clock slump?
Fresh perspective. Millennials bring fresh thinking and new ideas to workplace challenges. To put it simply, their generation grew up with unparalleled access to technologies that simplify daily tasks and processes. Plus, bringing in millennials fresh out of school means that you are getting unbiased opinions from talented professionals who have not yet grown accustomed (or have been “programmed”) to doing things the way another company prefers. They can approach your business with an uncluttered, fresh view.
Hire Millennials in Teams
If you’ve read about the benefits of hiring millennials in the past, the list above probably isn’t news to you. But in addition to recommending that organizations welcome and embrace millennials, I also suggest a different spin on the hiring process of millennials. My experience has shown that bringing these bright, young professionals into an organization as a cohesive team will have a dramatic impact on the business. Hiring millennials in teams maximizes their impact.
More specifically, the way we offer teams of young talent here at Indecon can make a dramatic impact on your organization. We go to top schools and recruit fresh talent to help you reach a specific goal or target. We assemble talent based on your unique requirements, and then we fully train and mold them into your company and culture. After making sure they have the precise technical skills needed to help you reach your business goals, we unleash them into your organization to start driving results, typically for one-year assignments. This unique type of service helps you maximize the benefits of working with millennials, and what they can bring to your business. But it also adds to the benefits by:
Keeping millennials in their comfort zone. We can (and will) recruit teams of IT talent from within the schools of your choice. So, rather than transfer students directly into a rather intimidating situation with many unknowns, they’ll come to your organization, as a group, with their peers—talent they’ve already been working with during their education. They’ll be more confident, they’ll understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they’ll bring way more to the table than a single young pro who’s not part of a team.
Consistency. We build relationships with universities across the country to gain access to top talent—professionals with the skills you need. Plus, we understand your business as if it were our own, and we can go to each school with a firm understanding of your organization and its specific hiring profile, eliminating much of the bad hire risk and ensuring stronger, better hires each time.
Long-term results. Contract-to-hire enables you to determine if the person or team is the right fit for your organization. Following the completion of the contract, you maintain all rights to hire them onto your permanent staff—one of them, or all of them. The choice is yours.
I’ve seen firsthand the dramatic results fresh talent can bring to your organization, and it seems that mainstream business media has caught on. But you can stay ahead of the curve and maximize your investment into millennial talent by considering the advantages of hiring teams of fresh IT talent.
Have you experimented with hiring teams of talent in your organization, or do you have any unique millennials stories in your business? We’d love to hear them—so be sure to share them with us in the comments section.
Welcome to Indecon’s class on Social Media Recruiting Etiquette 101. In this class (or blog post), I’ll address some best practices and etiquette you should keep in mind when using social media to recruit.
Mashable has compiled an excellent Social Media Recruitment Survival Guide with information and tips to help you get started. I recommend bookmarking the page to use as a guide to kick off or refine your social media recruiting plan. Mashable also shares some interesting statistics in their guide, including my favorite:
90% of recruiters are using social media to find, source and connect with talented candidates.
That number is pretty astounding, isn’t it? 90% of recruiters are using social media as part of their recruiting plan! But, are they using it properly? That’s where I’d like to step in and offer some basic social media etiquette rules for recruiters.
Social Media Recruiting Best Practices
Avoid “cyber-stalking” candidates. Sometimes you stumble across a great candidate. Someone who is a perfect fit for your organization. The right skills, the right background—all of it. It’s natural for you to be excited about this candidate and what he or she can bring to your organization. But don’t get overzealous. Maybe a routine check of social media on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is part of your recruiting process. But, avoid trying to dig too much into a candidate’s personal life. Not only can it make you look a bit invasive to candidates (if you are using sites that allow users to see who’s viewed their profile), but also using certain information—even if it’s posted publicly on social media—in a hiring decision is against the law.
Don’t “friend” candidates. Would you take a candidate out for drinks after a job interview? Of course not, so why would you want to become “friends” on Facebook? Friending someone on the most popular social media site gives a perception of intimacy and familiarity that can make it extremely awkward if you decide to move forward with another candidate. Or, you could end up seeing extremely personal information that is meant for family and friends (and candidates could see your personal information!). My advice is to never send a Facebook friend request to candidates. They may accept because they’re afraid they won’t get the job otherwise, or, they’ll accept and cause potential awkwardness (as mentioned above). If you receive a friend request from a candidate, politely respond and explain that you do not mix your business and personal lives. Rather, be sure to include an invitation to connect on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter.
Keep in-person and telephone communication as your primary choice. The Emily Post guide to social media etiquette offers some great advice to help you remain professional as you use social networks. One of her tips in particular is extremely important to keep in mind when connecting with candidates on sites like LinkedIn or Twitter: Don’t put in writing what can be said on the phone. Although slightly out of context from Emily’s intent, be sure to remember that social sites should not be your primary method of communication with candidates. A quick phone call, in-person meeting (when appropriate and reasonable) or even an email are all more personal and professional methods of communicating with candidates. Social sites like LinkedIn offer great opportunities for networking, making a first connection, setting up a phone call, asking for an email and staying top-of-mind. But shift those over to personal emails and phone calls as the recruiting process moves along.
Follow these social media recruiting best practices and you’ll be well on your way toward finding great candidates via social media, in a professional manner!
Have you had any great social media recruiting experiences? Or maybe a social media blunder? I’d love to hear your stories—feel free to share them in the comments section below.
A few weeks back, we began a blog series detailing the must-have skills needed to thrive in an IT project management role in the coming year. Keeping your skills current will give you more career stability, will increase the chances of landing new job opportunities and will foster personal and professional growth.
In this post, we’re examining the must-have skills for another IT profession: Business Analysis. A Business Analyst (BA) serves as a liaison between the business community and the IT world. They are responsible for eliciting the business needs of the customer and for documenting and managing requirements throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC). A Business Analyst with a good foundation of BA skills and industry knowledge is extremely valuable to an organization. BA skills are transferrable across industries, making the BA role a very attractive career path.
The list below is not all-inclusive, but it consists of skills that many of our clients are seeking in BAs.
Must-Have Business Analyst Skills
To be a successful BA, you should have a good foundation of the following skills:
Coordinating and managing requirements meetings
Eliciting true business needs from end-users and business sponsors
Describing the business needs in a meaningful context for all audiences
Facilitating requirements discussions at differing levels of detail based on the participants’ background
Understanding and defining the As-Is and To-Be business models
Visually modeling or diagramming the business flow
Documenting requirements in a variety of tools
Maintaining requirements traceability throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC)
Creating test scenarios, test plans and test cases
Explaining system changes to end-users to ensure a successful transition
Working with end-users and leading User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
So how do you gain these critical business analysis, people and technical skills to become a successful BA in 2013? As we mentioned in our previous blog, formal training and contract work are great ways to get must-have business analysis skills. Be sure to check out our last blog, where we give suggestions for specifically obtaining these skills.
If you have any feedback on the skills I’ve noted here, please be sure to share them in the comments section.
In IT, keeping your skills current can be critical to your long-term success. It’s also one of the most important tasks for people reentering the workforce after being away for years or for those simply considering a career change.
The answer isn’t as simple as obtaining a list of the latest bleeding-edge technologies and taking a class or buying a manual. The answer often lies in understanding what is trending in the real world. For most companies, the goal is to keep the business running as effectively as possible, not to implement the latest technology or a silver bullet process.
To delve a little deeper into this concept, we’ll take a look at two fundamental areas of IT: Project Management (PM) and Business Analysis (BA). These are areas where a person who has been out of the workforce could reestablish themselves rather quickly if they have a good foundation of PM or BA skills and then add in some of the newer approaches being used today. This month, we’ll focus on the skills you need to find your next PM position. Next month we’ll address BA skills.
While the following list is far from all-inclusive, it consists of skills that many of our clients will require from new project managers in 2013.
Must-Have Project Management Skills
To be successful as an IT project manager, you should have a good foundation of PM skills, including the ability to:
Initiate and plan a brand new project
Define and manage the content of the project (Scope)
Create and manage a workplan (Schedule or Time)
Perform cost analysis and track to a budget (Budget or Cost)
Identify and mitigate risks to the success of the project
Identify and resolve issues that could negatively impact the project
Report on status and create informative executive-level dashboard reports
For good measure, you can throw in a little ITIL foundation and Six Sigma background and you’ll be a very versatile project manager!
The Next Step
So how do you gain these critical project management, people and technical skills to become a successful IT project manager in 2013?
Obtain Formal Training – A range of courses, webinars and training options are available for IT and project management professionals. Online and in-person opportunities abound, regardless of where you’re located. A simple online search will help you get started, or check with you local PMI chapter or http://www.pmi.org.
Talk to an IT Recruiting Firm – Indecon Solutions, for example, is comprised of a range of employees who hold IT and PM skills, and it’s our job to know where you can gain the skills needed to succeed in your career path.
Consider Your Past Workplace Interactions – People skills are a critical component to most jobs, so even if you don’t have all the PM and IT skills mentioned above, chances are you have several of the people skills. Maybe you haven’t perfected them all yet, but take this opportunity to reflect on past positions and how you interacted with your coworkers and clients. Then, compare those experiences to the people skills I mentioned above. I bet you have more skills than you think!
Try Contract Work – Contract opportunities provide a great way to gain experience in a particular field or hone a specific skill(s) to help you advance your career. A 3- or 6-month contract will provide the right amount of time for you to learn and develop those skills. Talk to your Indecon recruiter or visit the IT Careers section of our website to learn more.
Stay tuned next month for a breakdown of must-have skills for business analysts (BA) professionals.
If you have any feedback on the skills I’ve noted here, please be sure to share them in the comments section.