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Your Career Map - A Guide for IT Professionals

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Your Career Map - A Guide for IT Professionals

  1. 1. IT resources CREATE YOUR CAREER MAP A guide for IT professionals DOUGLAS PAULO
  2. 2. /02 INTRODUCTION IT professionals are in high demand around the world. With consistently low unemployment rates and a rapidly growing industry, this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. If you’re serious about your professional progress, it’s crucial to understand that this favorable workforce environment alone doesn’t necessarily translate into better job prospects. Fortunately, with an overall career plan that helps you better understand existing and future opportunities, you stand a much better chance of reaching your professional goals. KEY HIGHLIGHTS In this eBook, you will learn about: • The importance of career management • How to develop your own personal brand • How to build a career map that helps you to purposefully reach your professional goals
  3. 3. WHAT IS CAREER MANAGEMENT? Before creating an overall plan, let’s first take a closer look at the concept of career management. Career management is an ongoing, purposeful process through which professionals: • become aware of their interests, values, and strengths • identify their professional life goals • obtain information about job maturity • create personalized action plans to lead them to their career goals Though all of these activities are valid and plausible aspects of professional life, when performed as one-dimensional actions, they lack effectiveness and long-term viability. /03 Career management is not: • an activity to enhance your résumé • a job search tactic • a promotion-motivated action • an activity that’s prompted by job loss
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION /04 Your career map Take a moment to reflect on where you are professionally. Next, consider where you want to be one year, five years, and even ten years from now. How do you get there? An integral aspect of your career management strategy, a career map can help you reach your goals throughout your professional life. A career map is a proactive, long-term plan that purposefully guides you to your professional goals by means of careful career management and direction. This guide will show you how to create your own personalized IT career map and how to continuously use it to assess your professional progress. In short, your career map allows you to take control of your career trajectory. It reaches far beyond present day technologies and takes into consideration aspirational goals that help plan your pathway to achievement. A CAREER MAP IS A PROACTIVE, LONG-TERM PLAN THAT PURPOSEFULLY GUIDES YOU TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS BY MEANS OF CAREFUL CAREER MANAGEMENT AND DIRECTION.
  5. 5. /05 THE IT CAREER MAP: For today’s IT professional, the lesson is to stand out from the crowd so even if circumstances become less favorable, you stand a better chance of remaining more happily employed. Create a career map, develop your brand, and enhance your IT portfolio.
  6. 6. /06 PART I: LIVING IN HAPPENSTANCEVILLE
  7. 7. /07 PART 1: LIVING IN HAPPENSTANCEVILLE Happenstanceville. Maybe you’ve been there: The name says everything. It’s a short-term place, where you only take action when something “happens” to you. That something can range from being passed over for a promotion to stumbling into a great opportunity, and from job loss to being selected for a highly specialized training. It’s a short-term place where some people wind up spending a lifetime. It’s characterized by a “fly by the seat of your pants” approach to your next career move—or the lack thereof. What’s wrong with Happenstanceville? The answer is threefold. First, the economy can be a fickle thing. In 1998, the Internet and everything IT related seemed virtually unstoppable. Two years later, when the dot com bubble burst, all of that came crashing down. Many IT professionals were left unexpectedly unemployed—many who thought they had job security and, therefore, hadn’t given much thought to the next stage of their career. Having a long-term career plan, and knowing what your next career steps are, can help you manage through economic downturns and unexpected changes. For today’s IT professional, the lesson is to stand out from the crowd so even if circumstances become less favorable, you stand a better chance of remaining more happily employed.
  8. 8. /08 PART 1: LIVING IN HAPPENSTANCEVILLE Second, simply reacting to external events limits your career awareness and development. Without pinpointing your professional qualities and goals and without ongoing self-assessments, it’s difficult to adeptly manage your career to effectively meet your objectives. Last, but certainly not least, while plenty of opportunities may come to you because your skills are in high demand, they may not be fulfilling in the long run if they don’t line up with your professional values and goals. If you haven’t mapped out exactly what you like to do and where you ultimately want to take your career, it can be difficult to discern whether an opportunity is right for you. Consider this: perhaps you’re an application developer who has a goal of launching a startup. You decide to work for a large company to gain the experience you need to get you there. Based on your stellar application development skills, you find yourself moving up the ranks in positions such as Software Engineer, Team Lead and Architect.
  9. 9. /09 This is great career progression if your goal is to remain on the technical side of the profession. However, despite the value of your endeavors, these roles are not leading you toward your ultimate goal of launching a startup. A good career map would have you considering roles that will lead you to IT Director or CIO positions where you can gain the exposure to business management and marketing that is critical to running your own business. Knowing this, Happenstanceville suddenly loses much of its charm. If you’re serious about realizing the career you envision, one that allows you to develop and advance, you need to move out of Happenstanceville. It’s time to travel to your new destination. SIMPLY REACTING TO EXTERNAL EVENTS LIMITS YOUR CAREER AWARENESS AND DEVELOPMENT. PART 1: LIVING IN HAPPENSTANCEVILLE
  10. 10. /10 PART II: ARRIVING IN PURPOSETOWN
  11. 11. PART 2: ARRIVING IN PURPOSETOWN /11 Now that you’ve put Happenstanceville in your rearview mirror, you’ve arrived in a privileged place most have not yet seen: Purposetown. In Purposetown, you know which long-term professional direction you want to pursue. You’re aware of your strengths and values. And you know what to do in order to reach your career goals. You don’t wait for opportunities to happen: you work towards creating them so you can take the next step on your career path. Upon arrival in Purposetown The only way to enter Purposetown is with a career plan passport, which is proof of having addressed these four main aspects: 1. You actively manage your career. 2. You understand what a recruiter can do for you. 3. You understand what a manager can do for you. 4. You understand what you have to do for yourself.
  12. 12. PART 2: ARRIVING IN PURPOSETOWN /12 Let’s take a closer look at each. 1. Managing your career. In the introduction, we learned that career management is an ongoing process that allows you to be aware of your professional interests, values, and strengths; research information about job maturity; pinpoint your career goals; and create an action plan to move towards those goals. Remember: as you progress in your professional life, you need to keep assessing your situation and making any necessary ongoing adjustments and updates. 2. Understanding what a recruiter can do for you. Because a recruiter has direct connections to employers, he or she can be a valuable ally who can match you and your skills to appropriate opportunities throughout your career. In addition, a recruiter will check in with you periodically to see if you’re happy where you are, or whether, based on your progress and planned career steps, you’re looking for a change. KNOWING WHAT CATEGORY A ROLE FALLS INTO ALLOWS YOU TO EVALUATE WHETHER YOU’RE A LIKELY CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION.
  13. 13. PART 2: ARRIVING IN PURPOSETOWN /13 3. Understanding what a manager can do for you. Because your manager’s responsible for your performance in your current position, he or she can be another important ally. A manager wants you to deliver value for your employer and, in order to do so, can coach you based on your specific needs. Remember: your company has a lot invested in you, so it’s only logical that your manager wants to understand your work style and professional aspirations in order to help you—and simultaneously your company—progress. 4. Understanding what you have to do for yourself. Neither your recruiter nor your manager can decide what motivates you, what your career goals are, or what your next move(s) should be. You are the only person who can define your professional trajectory. That’s why you have to make your career map yourself. DON’T WAIT FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO HAPPEN: WORK TOWARDS CREATING THEM SO YOU CAN TAKE THE NEXT STEP ON YOUR CAREER PATH.
  14. 14. /14 PART 2: ARRIVING IN PURPOSETOWN Your career map It’s essential to understand that your career map is a doubly useful resource. It’s not just your way out of Happenstanceville and into Purposetown. It’s also the tool that will help you navigate the rest of your professional life after you’ve arrived in Purposetown. Because once you’ve mapped your career destination, you’ll need to regularly assess if you’re on the right track and, if necessary, make any tweaks to keep you heading in the direction you want to go. Think of your career map like a GPS: it will get you to your destination, even if it means adjusting the course if you take a detour along the way. THINK OF YOUR CAREER MAP LIKE A GPS: IT WILL GET YOU TO YOUR DESTINATION, EVEN IF IT MEANS ADJUSTING THE COURSE IF YOU TAKE A DETOUR ALONG THE WAY.
  15. 15. /15 PART III: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER
  16. 16. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER /16 As mentioned, a career map is more than just having a career goal or taking ad hoc action when circumstances require you do something. It’s about evaluating your trajectory and filling in the blanks regarding what you need to keep your career purposeful. It allows you to evaluate new developments in your skills, preferences, and goals, as well as changes in the industry. The value of self-assessment Taking an in-depth look at your professional self or professional identity is the single most important aspect of any career map. There are four components to a thorough self-assessment: • Roles. What professional roles have you occupied in the past, and how did they contribute to your development? Where do they fit into your projected career path? • Skills. What skills and certifications do you possess? To what extent are they measurable? Did you acquire them through education or experience, or are you self-taught? EXPERIENCE SKILLS ROLES BRAND PORTFOLIO
  17. 17. /17 PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER • Strengths. What are your strengths and how do you apply them in your profession? How do you plan to take advantage of your strengths during the course of your career? • Experiences. What professional experience do you have? How have your life experiences contributed to your professional life? How will both your professional and life experiences contribute to your future career? Answer the questions above, and you’ll have a good overview of your current professional identity, as well as the one you want to establish. This overview is a crucial aspect of your career map. From now on, before committing to any opportunity, from a new job or a volunteer project to writing a guest blog or starting a professional development course, take a moment to assess how that opportunity matches your professional identity and where it fits in your career map. By doing so, you’ll learn to discern between opportunities that serve your purpose and those that don’t. TAKING AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT YOUR PROFESSIONAL SELF OR PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF ANY CAREER MAP.
  18. 18. /18 PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER Flexibility Note that a career map doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the fastest way to your dream job. In fact, it can actually allow you take a detour—but a detour isn’t necessarily a waste of time. Let’s say you’re a whiz at systems security, but you’ve recently discovered you enjoy creating apps. You accept a short-term app development project to find out if it’s something you want to be doing full time. During the project, you realize it’s not something that will hold your attention for 40 hours a week, and you want to return to your original focus—systems security—as soon as possible. The flexibility to explore other options without immediately committing long term is important to your professional development. The job of your dreams could quite possibly be a different one when you’re 35 than it was when you were fresh out of college. A CAREER MAP CAN ALLOW YOU TAKE A DETOUR—BUT A DETOUR ISN’T NECESSARILY A WASTE OF TIME.
  19. 19. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER /19 Consistency is key The key to a good career map is consistency. By consistently returning to your career map to assess where you are and what you’re doing to get you where you want to go, you can avoid unnecessary or unwanted detours. At the same time, you still maintain the flexibility to explore new opportunities without losing focus of your goals. And that’s a well-mapped career. Building your map, your brand As your career map takes shape, something wonderful happens. Recruiters, managers, and other professionals in your field start to recognize your unique brand. Note that whether you’re consciously building your brand or not, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent to those in your professional world. What types of projects you take on, how you work, what your skills and strengths are, and how you interact with others all broadcast your professional brand. And as you progress in your career, your brand evolves with you. So you might as well take control and consciously manage it. GOALS SETTING IS A KEY ASPECT OF ANY CAREER MAP AND ALLOWS YOU TO PERIODICALLY ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE RELATIVE TO YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GOALS.
  20. 20. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER /20 Your brand consists of the service you offer professionally, your values, passions, top skills, and strengths. To gain a good insight of your brand, it can be useful to write out a description of your professional self. Here’s an example: • what you offer: experienced systems security professional • your values: transparency, communication, trustworthiness, perseverance • your passions: security, innovation • your top skills: CISSP, Unix, Checkpoint Firewalls • your strengths: precision, proactive, speed, strategy • summary: “I’m passionate about implementing current and effective systems security in order to counter data loss and proactively maintain the integrity of networks both long-term and in emergencies. I know how to communicate with non-IT professionals, as well as how to inform them about best security protocols to enhance overall systems security.” Next, put all of these aspects together in a tag line that accurately sums up your brand. For example: Experienced, proactive, and trustworthy systems security specialist working on current IT and human solutions to maintain the integrity of systems and counter data loss. YOUR PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS ?YOUR BRAND YOUR VALUES YOUR TOP SKILLS YOUR PASSIONS YOUR STRENGTHS
  21. 21. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER /21 Just like your career map, your brand needs regular assessment and tweaking. Let’s say you become the team leader on your next project and your outstanding communications skills contribute significantly to the rapid completion of the assignment. Moreover, you discover that you enjoy managing teams, so you take a similar position on your next project. When you assess your brand, you should tweak your description to reflect your management-oriented skills, strengths, summary, and tagline. Simultaneously, you should revisit your career map to see how leading projects affects your overall course. Is management your new goal, or is it something you want to do intermittently so you can alternate between leadership and innovative systems security work? Whatever you decide, make sure you adjust your career map so your new purpose, as well as how to get there, are clear. YOUR BRAND CONSISTS OF THE SERVICE YOU OFFER PROFESSIONALLY, YOUR VALUES, PASSIONS, TOP SKILLS, AND STRENGTHS.
  22. 22. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER /22 Networks Networks can be valuable resources when developing your brand. Use your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media accounts to reinforce your brand. By regularly contributing to conversations in a professional manner, as well as providing updates about what you’re doing, you can effectively communicate to the people in your network what your brand is. Additionally, your network will provide you with feedback by engaging in discussions with you or liking and commenting on your updates. Enhancing your IT portfolio You possess your skills, you’ve earned experience, and you’ve established your brand. Now it’s time to revise your résumé to present your portfolio in a manner that gets you the roles you want. How do you do this?
  23. 23. Describe your role in achieving a project’s goals, the challenges to the project, and how your skills and strengths specifically contributed to the outcome. Let’s say you implemented systems security for a client who integrated data from multiple company locations across the country. Here’s how you would present this in your portfolio: Created and implemented a systems security strategy (your role) to successfully integrate remote data banks without data loss (the objective). The project was completed within time and budget (the outcome) due to outstanding communication between remote and matrixed professionals that allowed for rapid script development, testing, and implementation (your skills and strengths)—despite encountering two major external security threats during the project (the challenges). Aligning channels for consistency Next, make sure that wherever your résumé appears, from your LinkedIn profile to your recruiter’s database, it’s consistent. Remember to update your portfolio and résumé according to developments. Everybody who’s interested in you as a professional, from your network to potential employers, needs to see consistency in all information about you. By ensuring the information you publish is the same across all channels, you reinforce the transparency and trustworthiness of your brand. /23 REVISE YOUR CURRENT RÉSUMÉ TO REFLECT YOUR BRAND-BASED ACHIEVEMENTS, AND REVIEW IT REGULARLY SO YOU CAN ELABORATE ON IT CLEARLY WHEN SPEAKING WITH A POTENTIAL CLIENT OR EMPLOYER. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER
  24. 24. Your boot camp timeline You’ve learned why you should move from Happenstanceville to Purposetown. You’ve learned how to create a career map, develop your brand, and enhance your IT portfolio. And now it’s time to actually do it all! To put it all together, give yourself a timeline of a month: Week I: Perform a self-assessment and create a career map. Week II: Evaluate your personal brand and further develop it. Week III: Enhance your IT portfolio and revise your résumé. Week IV: Align all your channels for consistency. By allowing yourself a week for each step, you have enough time to be thorough. And by being thorough now, you lay a solid foundation for a successful career map and a unique professional brand. /24 EVERYBODY WHO’S INTERESTED IN YOU AS A PROFESSIONAL, FROM YOUR NETWORK TO POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS, NEEDS TO SEE CONSISTENCY IN ALL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU. PART 3: THE WELL-MAPPED IT CAREER Perform a self-assessment and create a career map. Evaluate your personal brand and further develop it. Enhance your IT portfolio and revise your résumé. Align all your channels for consistency.
  25. 25. CONCLUSION /25 With the information and examples presented here, your wait to get out of Happenstanceville and into Purposetown is over. You can even follow the developments of career mapping, pose questions, and join in the conversation at #purposetown. That way, you won’t get lost before, during, or after the move! Just remember: along with investing time in self-assessment, discovering your personal brand, and aligning your channels, you’ll also want to put your career map into action. So, why wait another day? Your IT career map can start opening doors for you today!
  26. 26. /26 Kelly® has the connections to develop your IT career. Our customers include 90% of Fortune 500® and 99% of Fortune 100™ companies. We put a new employee to work every 33 seconds, and every four minutes one gets hired full-time by a Kelly customer. Search for jobs on our Kelly Career Network®, join our Talent Network, or visit www.kellyservices.us/ITcareers for career insights. #purposetown
  27. 27. EXIT ABOUT THE AUTHOR DOUGLAS PAULO is director for the Americas Information Technology (IT) product group, an IT staffing solutions business unit of Kelly Services, Inc. He is responsible for solution development, product strategy, pricing, brand messaging and positioning, as well as service development for the IT product services portfolio. Prior to joining Kelly Services in April 2012, Mr. Paulo spent 18 years with HP Enterprise Services (formerly EDS) progressively advancing his management and leadership skills through experience in ITO & BPO operations, business development, project and client management both domestically as well as internationally. In his previous role, Mr. Paulo developed an offering that enabled clients to maximize return on customer value as well as the management of the overall end-to-end customer experience. Mr. Paulo received the Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP), Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundations and the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture (ZIFA) certificates along with completing the Cornell University—S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management Executive Education for Product Management. He is multilingual in English, Spanish and Portuguese. ABOUT KELLY SERVICES® Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions. Kelly® offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe, Kelly provided employment to approximately 540,000 employees in 2013. Revenue in 2013 was $5.4 billion. Visit kellyservices.com and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Download WorkWire™, a free iPad® app by Kelly Services. This information may not be published, broadcast, sold, or otherwise distributed without prior written permission from the authorized party. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. An Equal Opportunity Employer. © 2014 Kelly Services, Inc.

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