Monday, December 30, 2013

Improving Yourself in 2014

What are you going to improve in your career in 2014? It’s the end of the year, and time for New Year’s Resolutions. The advice I’d give you for your career is the same as the rest of your life: make small, incremental changes that you can sustain.

I’ve embarked on the Powershell Challenge in my career, and while it’s moving slow with the holidays, I continue to move along. In other areas, I’m looking to do more development in 2014, and plan to get back to my Learning C# book again. I started it last fall, then misplaced it and got busy. I want to use those skills to build some software, updating my web site as well as building a mobile app.

You should pick something. As I’ve mentioned before, touch your resume every quarter, and think about what you can add. If you can’t add something, or haven’t added anything in the last quarter or two, think now about what you will add in 2014. It might be one thing a year, but make some improvement in your career.

This is a good time to set a goal and continue moving your career forward.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why You Don't Get Hired

There could be lots of reasons why you don't get hired (or get the promotion/raise), but I found a good list of items from Mike Walsh on his blog: 6 Reasons I Won't Hire You. I like the list, and for the most part I agree with what Mike has written.

The first few items are important. You should be able to tell people you don't know. I might suggest that you actually document some of these items in your blog or resume/profile and talk about them. Show people that you didn't know something, you could admit it, and you could find out or learn it yourself.

I'd also caution people to be aware that not all jobs are for you. It can be hard when you are desperate for a job to not fit the profile, or get an offer, or something else. If you ask for feedback and they say you weren't a good fit, that can be very depressing or disconcerting.

However it's okay. One of the things a job interview is supposed to do is determine if you're a good fit for this position. Not that you can do the job or have the skills, but do you fit in this environment, with this team of people, with these clients. Sometimes you just don't fit, and it might not be your skills. It might be your personality or approach doesn't fit the system.

These are a few reasons you might not get hired, some of which you can change and some you can't. Change what you can, accept what you cannot.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Touch Your Resume

It's getting close to the end of the year. While you haven't gotten busy with the holidays or lazy as work drags, take a moment today and open up your resume.

30 Seconds

Spend 30 seconds thinking about what you've done in the last year. Is there anything that you can change on your resume? New skills you've acquired? A project you completed? Something that would make you stand out from others that do your job?

If so, make the change right now, update your LinkedIn profile (or wherever you keep it) and go about your day.

If Not

If you don't have any changes to make, spend 30 seconds more thinking about why not. Have you been busy in life? Getting married, divorced, having a child, illness, or something else? There are certainly reasons why you might not have anything to change on your resume.

However,  think about whether you can do something in the next 90 days or so that might make a difference on your resume? Work on a skill? Complete some project that helps you or someone else at work? Chances are there is something you can do the next quarter.

Maybe next quarter isn't the time, but you shouldn't go more than 4 quarters without having something worthwhile to change on your resume.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Referrals matter, so network

I have a slide in my talk with this webpage capture:


The important bit is in the last paragraph, where Ernst and Young, a large accounting firm, is looking to hire more people from internal referrals. They now get 45% of non entry-level hires.

In case you’re wondering, internal referrals mean employees recommend people they know. Those people are their network. They might call them friends, or former co-workers, or even workers recommended by friends. All of those people are in their network.

Networking matters. I suspect this trend will continue in the future as more and more employers want to spend less and less time hiring and losing people.