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Career 2.0: Upgrading your career

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Career 2.0 is a series that will share success tips, tricks and strategies to help you upgrade your career.
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Introduction

As a CodeProject reader you are continually on the forefront of the latest technology and software development information.  Are your long-term career goals on the technology forefront, too? Are you prepared for all the twists and turns your employers and co-workers will put you through? 

Career 2.0 is a series that will share success tips, tricks and strategies to help you upgrade your career. Catherine Burk and Andi Levin are experienced career guides and senior technical recruiters who will offer in-depth concrete steps and proven career strategies to help you reach your career milestones:

  • There are job opportunities today, but employers draw candidates from a larger and stronger pool than in recent years.  How can you prevent losing out on your dream job, and not think "I e-mailed company X my resume for a job I’m 100% qualified for, but it went into a black hole?
  • What strategies and skills do you need to receive a job offer that you want today? 
  • Which skills must you add to, or improve, in order to ensure long-term career growth and future job opportunities?
  • Are you currently able to identify and resolve workplace conflicts from company financial and organizational health issues; office politics; individual personalities, and with management?

You solve technical challenges through a series of logical steps or other contacts here on the boards.  You define the problem, analyze business needs, then consider and test multiple possibilities to create the best solution.  And, no matter how successful the first release is, you always evaluate that solution to develop improvements for V.2

Conducting a successful career search and utilizing on-the-job strategies for career advancement follows this same framework.  We will cover each of these sections in depth in future articles.

Step One:  Lay the foundation.

Program in terms of the problem - what problem do you want to solve? What is your goal? Where does your job search process fall in the black hole?  Do you ever hear back from a live person once you’ve emailed your resume?  If so, what are the results of your interview(s)?  Do you receive a job offer from the company? If you received a job offer that you did not accept, how should you fine tune your search model to better target your efforts to receive offers that you will accept?

Step Two:  Requirements Gathering

What job responsibilities are you looking for?  Do your experiences and existing skills match the requirements for this type of job?  If not, what will it take for you to meet those requirements?  What best describes your “employer of choice?”  

Who is the best person at the company to approach?  What is the best way to approach that person?  Do your interview skills reflect your professional experience and abilities?   What is the company’s hiring bar?  How can you improve your skills to exceed that bar? 

Step Three: Construct a Successful Routine.

Knowing what solution you seek; now you determine which job search skills to obtain or to polish:

  • Do you have strong professional networking skills in order to hear about potential or currently open jobs? 
  • Are hiring managers actually seeing your resume?
  • Does your current resume generate interviews? 
  • Do your interview strategies result in offers? 

Step Four:  Test and Fine-tune Routine.

Debug as appropriate. Repeat as necessary through offer receipt and acceptance. 

Step Five:  Evaluate Solution for Future Improvements.

There will always be ongoing skill and performance improvements as you grow in your new job; when you seek new job opportunities within your company; or when you begin a job search with another company. 

Now – how do you get there from here (wherever here is)?

Job opportunities are out there, even in today’s market.  Where are the bugs in your job search process? 

Problem:

Resume and application go into a black hole; you are not contacted to interview for the job. 

Routines to check

Optimization or Workaround:

  • Do you meet all of the required skills and experience for the jobs you applied for? 

To succeed in today’s job market; target your efforts to companies with open jobs that match exactly your skills and experience.  With a lot of good people in the job market, companies are holding out for exact candidate matches. Apply for your dream job if you find it posted, even if you do not meet all the requirements, but focus your efforts on obtainable goals.

  • Are you applying to local companies, or would the company need to relocate you to the job?
  • Would you require international relocation for this employer and job? 
  • Will you need visa sponsorship if hired for this job?

In today’s market, many companies only consider relocating candidates for very senior jobs, or jobs with complex or unique skill sets. Companies are very selective when international relocation is involved – it is expensive and visa requirements can be tough to meet.  Be sure you can qualify for a work visa for the location and job you apply. 

  • Do you list your experience and skills on your resume in a clear and easy to understand way?

Many company recruiters are not that technical, and search for key words which match their open jobs. 

You may need to customize your resume for a particular job and company. 

To do this, use the job requirements as your résumé’s framework.  Today many companies hire candidates they perceive as making a lateral job move or even a step back – your next job may be a promotion, but are you prepared to bet your house you will land a job that is a step up?

  • Are hiring managers seeing your resume?

If you apply through the company website, you usually are one of many people.  There is a very good chance the hiring manager did not see your resume. 

To solve, CC: the middleman (i.e., corporate human resources), but submit your resume, either directly or indirectly, to the hiring manager.

  • What format is your resume in?

 For now, a good general rule is do not submit your resume in .pdf format – not all resume tracking apps read .pdf files – so this could limit the number of recruiters and hiring managers who will retrieve your resume using a SQL query.  Not good! 

Next...

Our next column focuses on tips to help ensure your resume is read by the hiring manager.

Now, it’s your turn.  This is your column; please e-mail us with career and job-search questions or post your comments or discussion ideas here. We can help.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

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About the Authors

CBjörk

United States United States
Catherine Björk is a eight year veteran of Microsoft’s recruiting organization. Currently she is a Lead Senior Account Manager Recruiter for Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing and Services Groups. Her first recruiting job at Microsoft was identifying and recruiting software engineers and program managers for Microsoft’s Games Group. In her limited free time, Catherine enjoys gourmet cooking,playing a competitive game of golf, skiing and cycling the Burke Gilman Trail which rings Lake Washington and parts of Seattle.And when time permits...traveling.

Andi Levin
Instructor/Trainer
United States United States
Andi Levin heads Western Technology Group. Since 1996 she successfully recruited technical employees for Compaq, EMC, Expedia.com, Fidelity Investments, IBM, Microsoft, Real Networks, TKS Industrial, and several dot coms. Most recently she worked with several of Microsoft’s .Net Server marketing teams to staff technical marketing and technical evangelist positions. Her passion is teaching job seekers methods and tools to use in their job search to create their competitive edge.

Julie King

United States United States
Julie King is the Editor for Career 2.0 and started in tech with an Oregon bank when the first ATM’s were being planned and installed (really!!!), has written since she was old enough to hold a crayon, edits paperback novels on the fly, and after a dot come-dot gone experience last year, uses Levin and Burk’s advice regularly.

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy 2 cents PinmemberColin^Davies16-Sep-02 21:07 
GeneralRe: My 2 cents PinmemberAlberto Gattegno14-Oct-02 23:14 
GeneralRe: My 2 cents PinprofessionalPeggyJH7-Apr-14 23:25 
GeneralRecruiting agencies - blech PinmemberChristian Graus16-Sep-02 14:14 
GeneralI interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberMarc Clifton2-Sep-02 15:43 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberMichael P Butler3-Sep-02 0:09 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberStephaneRodriguez3-Sep-02 0:22 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberJiminy6-Sep-02 17:53 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberStephaneRodriguez6-Sep-02 22:35 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberSimonS3-Sep-02 1:09 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberMarc Clifton3-Sep-02 3:22 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberGeorge3-Sep-02 23:11 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberMarc Clifton4-Sep-02 2:30 
GeneralRe: I interview the company, they do NOT interview ME! PinmemberColin^Davies16-Sep-02 20:47 
Questionright in 2002 ? PinmemberStephaneRodriguez2-Sep-02 10:50 
AnswerRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberMichael P Butler3-Sep-02 0:15 
GeneralRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberStephaneRodriguez3-Sep-02 0:41 
GeneralRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberKevin McFarlane3-Sep-02 8:38 
GeneralRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberStephaneRodriguez3-Sep-02 9:11 
GeneralRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberVivek Rajan4-Sep-02 13:33 
GeneralRe: right in 2002 ? PinmemberKevin McFarlane3-Sep-02 9:55 
GeneralThanks PinmemberPaul Ingles2-Sep-02 10:22 

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