October 08, 2013

Finding the right job is tricky business. IT is no exception—you’ve built up a skill set, but how do you know where to take those skills? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the opportunities ahead of you, or to feel like you have no idea what’s out there. Here’s how to use your existing skill set to figure out the right job to go after: 

  1. Know your skills. You need to establish a baseline to know what it is you can do and are proud of. It’s hard to self-promote. Most of us are programmed to silence the part of your brain that self-congratulates for a job well done. It’s critical that you take some time, reflect on your resume and your work history, and highlight the skills and accomplishments that mean the most to you. This will give you your starting place for your search.
  2. Know your goals. Once you’ve figured out what you’re best at and enjoy the most, think about where you’d like to be.  Are you interested in a management track? Is staying technical more appealing? Do you want to get into an organization and stay there, or do you prefer a new challenge at a new company on a regular basis? Thinking about your goals and your skills will help you zero in on the kind of opportunity that would fit you best.
  3. Know your people. Reach out to mentors, professional contacts, friends—any folks who might be able to tell you what’s out there and/or what the options you’re considering are like. If you’ve determined that you’re especially proud of how you lead projects and you’d like to keep doing that, see if you can’t reach out to a project-manager friend and get her two cents on how to get there. See if the skills she highlights match up with yours—if they do, you’re on the right track.
  4. Know your options. So you’ve figured out who you are, what you want, and if you’re a good fit for it. The next step is to get out there and look for it! Start reading through position descriptions to confirm if you match up. When you feel confident that you’d be a good fit, you can start applying and working your network for contacts who might be able to help you out. An added bonus:  now that you’ve reviewed your skills and accomplishments, you’ll be able to explain to folks why you’re a great fit for the job!

There are lots of great ways to navigate the job search—this is a good place to start, but it’s not the only one. Anything you’d add? Give us a shout in the comments! We’d love to hear from you. 

Posted By: Madeline Stone

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