Technology workers are making their own rules in the workplace. They involve much more flexibility, mobility and autonomy than ever before.
If you work in the technology industry, chances are that you are either looking for work or soon will be. Whether you’ve just landed a new job or been with your company for ten years, a move to another position is undoubtedly in your future. According to PayScale’s 2015 employee turnover report, the employee turnover rate among Fortune 500 companies in the tech industry is the highest among all industries surveyed with the average employee tenure being estimated at less than three years. In addition, more than 60 percent of high tech workers plan to look for another job within the next 12 months.
The “always on” job search
Traditionally, recruiters viewed candidates as either active or passive job seekers. Active job seekers are currently unemployed and looking while passive job seekers are employed but open to hearing about new opportunities. Not any more. Technology workers are making their own rules in the workplace. They involve much more flexibility, mobility and autonomy than ever before. There are far more freelancers than ever before. As it has done with consumer buying behavior, technology has enabled all job seekers to be “always on.” As a group, they blur the lines between passive and active candidates. Everybody is looking all the time, or at least they should be.
Career management is not just what you do when the pink slip rolls in, it’s a lifelong process.
Getting ahead of the curve
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to “manage” something means “to handle or direct something with a degree of skill, to treat something with care, or to work upon or try to alter something for a purpose”. Therefore, to effectively manage your career, you must skillfully direct your career with a purpose and with care. You not only need to know where you want to go, but you need the most competitive set of marketing, job search and tech skills to get there.
At BAVC Media, we have been helping technology and media professionals stay ahead of the career transition curve, manage their career trajectory and enhance their marketability to employers since before Al Gore invented the Internet. We know that career management is not just what you do when the pink slip rolls in, it’s a lifelong process. We have a unique gumbo of career guidance expertise mixed with hands-on knowledge and training in the most in demand sectors of tech. Our staff consists of tech employment experts with backgrounds in Human Resources, Recruiting, Training and Career Coaching who know job search from the employer perspective. Their experience spans everything from feisty start-ups to Fortune 500 mega companies.
Five tips from the pros
So whether you’re moving up, moving out, moving on, or simply staying put, preparedness is the key. How can you be best prepared for this new normal? Here are some tips from our pros:
- Assess: Take periodic inventory of your growing skills, your changing values and your interests. How is your current role aligned with these? What would you change if you could? Do you need technical training to remain competitive?
- Explore: Do research into other companies and other roles. Get a better understanding of different company cultures. Learn about what your next role might be like and the skills required to succeed in that role. Make it a habit to do informational interviews on a regular basis, as they not only inform your career choices, they also build relationships that strengthen your network.
- Plan: Manage your career growth like a project manager. Make a timeline for your next career transition and plan out all the steps you might need to take to get there. If you are currently working, your timeline will be longer and that’s OK. It’s more important to meet your milestones than to feel like you are under the gun.
- Skill Up: Pursue the training you need to stay at the top of your game. If your job doesn’t require you to know the most cutting edge skills, you won’t be competitive for your next job. Learn to code, learn UX, learn project management, whatever it takes to keep you competitive. While you are at it make sure your skills at getting a job are as good as your skills at doing the job. Get help with your assets, your resume, LinkedIn and portfolio as well as with your branding, networking and interviewing skills so you are prepared when the time comes.
- Connect: Once your assets are up to snuff, make a plan. Map out the hours a week you will spend in pursuit of your next job and stick to the plan. Ramp up of your campaign of connecting with folks in companies that hire in your field. More than an just an informational interview, leverage those meeting into more introductions that work your way up the food chain to hiring managers in the companies you favor. You are in the job market now so get some brand recognition. Be visible via meet-ups, blog posts, LinkedIn status updates – whatever it takes to stay on the market radar
Back in 2008, I like many, had the experience of being called into an office and hearing “Vince, we have some bad news for you”. Not that I didn’t see it coming, which made it even worse. I’d seen the writing on the wall and had done nothing to prepare for my next move. Follow our steps above and put yourself in the far more enviable position of being the one who walks into the office to say, “Folks, I have some news.”