Has it been 6 months, a year, or more since you worked in IT? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Statistically speaking, the odds are that you or a friend is unemployed, underemployed, or working outside of IT. Further still, according to Foote Partners, an independent IT research and advisory firm, the IT employment outlook in 2010 is expected to be marginal at best and real changes won’t occur until 2011. There is no time to wait. Now is the time to reposition yourself for the future.
Keeping active during your job search is more complex and challenging, but infinitely more important than in years past. In the pre-recession years, IT professionals were accustomed to a job-seekers market where jobs were plentiful, employment gaps were short, and networking actually produced rapid results. Now, as employment gaps can stretch to a breaking point, enthusiasm suffers and motivation fades. But lost enthusiasm leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of diminishing opportunity. You have to stop the spiral downward by looking up. Think about all the things you’ve done to get updated, expand skills and knowledge, and stay current in the ever-changing roles and responsibilities of Information Technology. If you’ve done a lot, remember it, show it in your resume, and show it in your attitude. If you’ve not done a lot, it is time to get started. Activity leads to enthusiasm, and enthusiasm leads to opportunity.
In this article, I’ll provide practical tips to showcase your career development accomplishments. This is more than just changing your resume; it is at the core of how you see yourself. When your job search has singularly focused on your last work assignment, it puts you at a disadvantage, particularly as the days stretch into months and that last work assignment becomes a historical artifact. Documenting and highlighting your recent activities shows planning, execution, and achievement of professional goals. It makes a clear statement that you’re still in the game.
Career Development Accomplishments
Your career development section should be placed right under your experience as your most recent accomplishment. Using a format as shown in Figure 1 is appropriate and integrates well into both functional and chronological resume styles.
Figure 1: Career Development Activity on Your Resume
Now you need to think about everything you’ve done. Make a list without regard to significance, language, or relevance. It’s important to get it all down. Once complete, the extent of what you’ve done will likely surprise you.
Accomplishment ExamplesI’ve listed the most common career development activities and how to represent them to your best advantage.
- Certified Information Management Professional (CIMP), completed 3 courses out of 5 required through eLearningCurve
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, MCTS (completed training, certification in progress)MCSE training, Strategy Computers, completed 6-month program (expected certification 6/2010)
- Regional Leadership Forum, Society for Information Management (SIM), 9-month program, 2009:
Participated in real-world case studies, discussing challenges faced by multiple levels of management.
- The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) conference, February 2010,
Hands-on Analytics and Hands-on Data Mining:
Learned the features and functionality of emerging technologies using advanced analytical tools.
- Member, Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), 2008–Present
- Board Member, Los Angeles Chapter, The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI):
Recruited well-known industry experts to speak at chapter meetings on subjects such as Agile Analytics in the Cloud, Emerging Spatial Data Technologies, and Operational BI.
- Member, The Data Management Association (DAMA), Los Angeles Chapter:
Attended regular meetings on subjects including Integrating Disparate Data, Dimensional Modeling, and Data Visualization.
- Speaker, Enterprise Data World 2009 Conference:
Presented best practice session on Successfully Implementing an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Program to a large audience of industry practitioners.
- Extensive continuing education through SANS Institute, including Advanced Security Essentials, Critical Security Controls, Forensics, Systems Administration, and Intrusion Analysis.
- Extensive technical training: Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), business intelligence and data warehousing, and dimensional database development, etc.
- SAP Course CD251: Update your ABAP Development Skills to NetWeaver 7.0
- SAP Webinar – Service Registry in SOA Middleware
- Designed and built custom reports using MicroStrategy 9 Reporting Suite.
- Experienced at Data Integration practices using open source technology.
Figure 2: Freelance Activity on Your Resume
NetworkingSome statistics suggest that up to 80% of jobs are found through networking. This means being well-positioned with an excellent resume, attitude, and presentation skills. Although typically not a comfortable task for IT professionals, networking is a necessity. I’ve compiled a list of industry resources where you can meet like-minded individuals. You will find a good match within this diverse list.
Project Management Institute (PMI)
Association for Information Systems (AIS)
Association for Women in Computing (AWC)
American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Canada Information Processing Society (CIPS)
International Association of Software Architects (IASA)
The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI)
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
Quality Assurance Institute (QAI)
Women in Technology International (WITI)
SummaryMy goal in writing this article was to help you feel positive about what you’ve done. Looking for a job is rarely fun, and it can be especially demoralizing in the current economy. Don’t allow the job-seeking experience to degrade your self-perception or your personal and professional relationships. Time spent appreciating yourself is time well-spent. My best wishes for a successful job search.