As a recruiter, I couldn’t help but notice increased amount of job-hopping on IT resumes over the years. Tough economic times showed that job security which we used to associate with full-time employment at a Fortune 500 company, may be just an illusion nowadays. When I am talking to candidates about job opportunities, stability is one of the first topics they bring up. It is perfectly reasonable for people with financial obligations to seek a job they can count on, but how realistic is this goal?
As much as I would like to pacify my candidates with promises of “stability” and “security” with any particular employers, I can’t. The truth is, an IT professional today can only secure their income by being marketable and maintaining continuous visibility in the marketplace.
Sounds silly, but picturing what your role might be like in another organization is very important. It will give you a good idea on how to grow your skill set for better versatility. To get an idea, connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn, read their profiles. Another good approach is to research some articles on Google with your job title as key words, and explore your profession beyond your own experience.
Learning about new technology releases in your field aids in making you a true subject matter expert. Your current employer might be open to new tools or solutions, and you might even have the opportunity to implement your ideas. Doing so will not only position you better at work, but would set you up well for your next move.
REASSESS YOUR CURRENT ROLE
You may be happily employed today or between jobs, however the way you look at your role today will make or break your position tomorrow. As a technical professional you should make every effort to work in the up-to-date (cutting edge preferred) technical environment. If you are comparing roles as a candidate, always put technology and responsibilities before dollars and cents.
If you have a job but your employer is seriously behind on technology, suggest improvements or consider moving on, while the market is hot. Keep in mind: when the market place slows down and layoffs begin, your outdated technical skill set will become the biggest obstacle in getting a good job.
Treat each employer as a stepping stone to bigger and better roles and jump on every opportunity for self-improvement. Volunteer to lead new projects, attend all conferences and embrace all available training. Don’t wait for these venues to be offered, research appropriate classes yourself, build your case and ask your boss for approval.
If you are a true IT leader or a technical subject matter expert then it is only natural that you would use technology to establish yourself as such in the market place. Your detailed LinkedIn profile, online portfolio or impressive GitHub account (if you are a developer) will let employers and influential colleagues know what you can bring to the table. Post links to related articles, participate in forums and attend meet-ups! Maximize your online visibility and become a part of your technical community. These new contacts may lead you to a great new job, without searching through garbage on job boards.
Another big one is to find the time to assist others in your field. Professional world has become an intense and competitive place where favors are especially rare and therefore very memorable. Your genuine advice, recommendation or a business referral will be greatly appreciated and you might be able to call in a favor or two in the moment of need.
As usual, please reach out to me directly, if job security is one of your challenges, I will be happy to assist you @ firstname.lastname@example.org