So you've just started out on your long and winding (and exciting) career path as an IT Professional.
Congratulations, we're here to help!
Everyone knows the job landscape has changed radically over the last 30 years or more, with technology infiltrating every profession, and in many case replacing tasks once performed by workers.
Combine this with an expectation that someone now starting the job hunt may have 6 or more careers in their working life, and we find mapping a career path more challenging than ever.
But the best place to start is always at the beginning, and so that shall be the focus of our blog today. People with many years of relevant experience usually find it easier to locate new work, but for those starting out or re-entering the workforce it can be much harder.
You won't necessarily have an extensive work history to display – but there are many other aspects of your life and person which when effectively presented can demonstrate what a great employee you will be!
The famous phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan in the 60's tells us that you can't separate the message from the medium in which it is delivered – will you present the same information the same way in your CV as LinkedIn? Or Facebook – or even Twitter? The medium influences how your message is received, so tailor it for each medium.
Despite increased use of social media as career tools, the humble CV remains the most important instrument in determining if you will get that all important interview.
So you don't have much work history, but what will attract potential employers? Descriptions of study and life experiences that can be easily translated to work skills are important. A non-exhaustive list:
Here we begin to think more about the medium. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so it is appropriate to replicate much of your CV in your LI profile. In particular, make sure that the Summary at the top is not just a recitation of your skills and what you've done – make it a story about you, portraying to readers the passions and goals you have for your career.
The main area that your LinkedIn profile may differ from your CV is in its specificity, or otherwise – what do you put there if you have multiple CVs, targeting different roles? It depends on your target audience, but when starting out its best to align it with your main career goals.
Be active in groups and discussion related to your industry – as with your CV, this will help communicate your passion and interests to prospective employers.
It's beyond the scope of this blog and probably unnecessary to treat every form of other social media separately, but there are certain points worth making.
For all social media, you must consider your interaction with each medium as intrinsic to your profile – everything you post, like, share or reply to is on display, so ensure that it is appropriate and consistent with your persona.
And don't forget to proofread before posting!! Correct grammar (not grandma) and spelling are not always highly valued in the online world, but will be noted by employers.
In conclusion, your first job will usually be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome and the most important step in your career. Give yourself the best chance of getting that "dream" first role by telling the world about your passions, ambitions and values, and how you will help bring success to your new employer.
Feedback welcome! For those starting out or re-entering the workforce, please share your experiences...
We started this series discussing a couple of topics related to enhancing your work satisfaction and career prospects. Now we turn to an oft-neglected aspect of work-life balance – time out!
The list can go on of course – many people have carer and other responsibilities to pile on top of the other tasks. The question posed today is, where do you find time for yourself in all of this? And what is the cost, personal and professional, for failing to find this time?
The debilitating effects of stress on mind and body have been well studied and the outcomes widely publicized, so won't be discussed in detail here. However we'll use one surprising study to highlight the point.
So, we know for our own well being that we must seek ways to reduce the stress levels caused by work and life, and/or reduce their impact. Part of this naturally involves strategies to reduce the effects of potentially stressful events and situations, for example:
The scope of stress mitigation is way beyond this article (but may be fodder for a future one?). However researchers tell us that one of the greatest stress factors in our lives is not feeling in control, so use of these and other techniques can help to restore that sense of control to our lives. (but see Steve Maraboli's quote below!)
But as well as you may manage stress, the best option sometimes is to get away from it for a while!
It's natural to think about your time outside work as the main avenue for doing things you love (remember all that 4x4 off-roading and karate we mentioned?!), but don't ignore opportunities during the day to release the pressure valve. It can be as simple as getting up from your desk periodically (good for general health as well), or doing something that detaches you from work during your lunch break.
If this isn't for you, then find a quiet spot and read a book, meditate, go to the gym or listen to heavy metal music! Do whatever zones you out for a while, and re-charges the batteries.
In closing, the message is simple but clear – take time out each day to reduce the stress in your life, and your health and happiness will improve. To finish, a comforting thought from Steve Maraboli - “You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”
Feedback welcome and encouraged! We'd like to hear what you do to de-stress – or strategies for reducing stress in your lives...
The questions posed by today's discussion are, do we prepare ourselves as well as possible to take advantage of opportunities, and are we always as receptive as we should be when opportunities are presented?
The above quote attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca (or maybe Oprah?!) implies a couple of things – first, luck (good or bad) is not always happenstance, but often results from our thoughts and actions. It also tells us that to maximize our ability to take advantage of opportunities, we must take positive actions to prepare!
The message from wise old Confucius is pretty plain (it could be abbreviated to the 6 Ps but we won't expand on that here!) – but what would this preparation entail? Obviously it depends on your objectives and circumstances:
In your career, the combination of your studies and experience are the bedrock preparation to allow you to consider opportunities – but is that enough? NO!
So, you're trained, experienced, and your personal brand is out there for all to see. Companies and recruiters will beat a path to your door – it's a competitive market. You're ready to swallow those great opportunities sure to come your way! Or are you?
In conclusion, we are not advocating jumping between jobs all the time – this can be counterproductive to a career; however at the same time a successful career and life are built on careful planning and taking advantage of opportunities that further your goals, so don't be deaf when opportunity comes a knockin'!
What are your ideas on this? We love to hear contrary opinions...
The point being though, in most cases the tone of our voice is actually the real answer. People around you will be able to determine if you are in a state of happiness or not. Focusing more on the workplace moving forward, your co-workers will be able to determine if you really want to be at work or not. Even if you tried to hide the “real answer”, the reality is it won’t be hidden from your colleagues.
So why are we talking about this today. What is the purpose of this post?
From a recruitment point of view, it’s an important topic: Self awareness and being positive!
Negativity brings you down in all sorts of ways. In fact the nature of negativity is it actually gets worse and makes you feel more affected by it, breaking your self-esteem, trust and confidence. Issues seem more escalated than they really are, and unfortunately, if another opportunity or “door opens” for you, the likelihood is you won’t recognise it.
Being positive as we all know it, has the opposite effect. Our health is better, we cope better with stress, our days at work generally go quicker, our day to day language becomes more positive, we create relationships and existing relationships improve (both at work and in personal life).
Being positive means we see success in everything, we recognise other opportunities and we believe that “when one door closes another opens”.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.” -Willie Nelson
In most cases our first point of contact with people looking for work is usually through a telephone conversation. Reasonably quickly we are able to determine if the candidate is of a positive or a negative nature at that point of time based on the tone of their voice, not necessarily by their answers provided.
This then leads to us thinking if the candidate is actually suitable for the role, is she/he a “right fit” for the role. If the positiveness is not showing, the drive and enthusiasm is not there, then how will they present during a client interview? Do clients want staff to be positive or negative? The answer of course is positive! The tone of your voice will actually tell us your attitude towards work and life!
There are a few points you may argue about here, but one in particular may be around working in a negative environment.
In this scenario, few questions come up, and these are similar to what we (as in our internal consultants within Recruit & Deliver) ask our candidates:
However, the answers to these questions could be biased as usually if a person is in a negative mindset to begin with, the answers will generally be of a negative nature and to them, others within the company are also feeling the same way!
So then we start asking questions along the lines off:
Usually though by this time, most candidates (not all) who haven’t made too much attempt to work within themselves and therefore their own state of mine and emotional drives have a “light bulb” moment. We usually finish the conversation and encourage them to reflect on our discussions and to get in contact with us again the next day.
Are we potentially letting go of a good candidate?
The other side of this is after the candidate has undergone the process of “self check”, if the candidate is sure about their profession and are happy with the work that they do, when the candidate goes back to their current role and genuinely tries to improve themselves from within and/or attempts to take actions to rectify the situation, things normally change for them for the better.
1. Either they realise that it’s actually not as bad as it seems or;
2. Now that they have tried, their mindset is probably at a better state. So even if it is the environment that’s causing the negativity, internally the candidate will know she/he has done everything to improve the situation...no regrets, just time to move on!
So, before you arrive at work, or take a phone call from a recruitment agent/prospective employer, perform a “self check”. If you’re feeling down, negative, it’s important to bounce back up real quick. There are plenty of articles and posts around about how to be positive and happy (just generally and even at work!) hence we will not go into it in this post.
The journey of “life” as we all know it will have us in different emotional stages and mindsets. We all want to be happy! The purpose of this post was to remind job seekers to always be positive, and therefore always do a “self check” on yourself.
A quote to finish off from Dalai Lama - “Happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your actions.”
What are your thoughts on this? We would love to know...
We are a Brisbane based search and recruitment company specialising in IT (Information Technology) technical, management, digital and sales roles, focusing on both contract and permanent recruitment solutions.