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Managing Your Career in 2015

With the start of a new year, it is a great time to take stock of where you are in life and in your career.  Think about your current role- did you plan to be where you are at right now? If not, do you have a plan for the next step in your career?  In fact, are you clear about the purpose of your career?  

Career management is simply that: taking ownership and actively managing what happens with your career.  I have the opinion that career management shouldn’t be theoretical or abstract.  It should be clear, simple and tactical, based on a series of personal and professional goals.  It’s not a concept or a series of buzzwords. It’s a formulated plan that should be monitored and refined regularly.I think most people already know this but “life” can distract us from actually doing what we know we should do.

Think about this:

Your career is never in neutral.  You are either moving in reverse, moving forward “accidentally”, or moving forward purposefully.

Here’s the good news: It’s not too late.  Get started on it now.

What’s your plan?  A plan doesn’t need to be overly complicated.  It also doesn’t translate to you needing to leave your current employer.  It does, however, require you to start answering a few tough questions about you and your current situation.

I recommend starting simple:

  1. What is your next, next role? (What lack of skills and experiences are holding you back?)
  2. Are your talents and contributions being appreciated? (Outside of just compensation, what’s missing?)
  3. Do you have the opportunity to advance? (Does your current employer have the ability to support your growth?  Are you building the appropriate relationships?)
  4. Ultimately, what role are you working towards and what is the purpose that drives your career? (What is the realistic timeline?)

Place a checkpoint on your calendar every 3 to 6 months to consistently force yourself to answer these basic questions.  If you are unsure whether or not your current situation will move you to where you want to be, consider finding a Mentor or becoming one.  In addition to expanding your knowledge or sharing your talents, it will demonstrate to future employers maturity and involvement.  If you make the decision to move on from your current position:

Know which types of positions are experiencing growth – and where there is the gap for talent
CareerBuilder partnered with Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. in order to compile a list of the hottest jobs, based on supply and demand:

  • Software Developers (applications) grew over 15% from 2010 – 2014.  There is expected to be a gap of over 20K candidates for posted positions.
  • Network and Computer System Admins grew over 7% from 2010 – 2014.  There is expected to be a gap of over 17K candidates for posted positions.
  • Web Developers grew over 17% from 2010 – 2014.  There is expected to be a gap of over 15K candidates for posted positions.

Update your resume and online presence

This should be done throughout your career- not just when you are looking for a new position.  Make a list of all of your notable accomplishments- not just from 2014.  Point out the outstanding scores you received from your performance reviews.  Show the connection of those accomplishments to a direct, positive impact on your company’s business (financial, client relationships, etc.).  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and your other social media accounts should reflect the presence and personal image you want.  Ensure your GitHub, Bitbucket, Kiln, etc. are current (be careful not to include confidential, proprietary samples).

Review opportunities
The national IT unemployment rate continues to fall below 2%.  Solid IT professionals have multiple opportunities to consider.  Have a plan- don’t get distracted.  Ensure the positions you target will support your endgame.  Network (outside of your current company) with trusted colleagues.  You should interview on your own time and not let your search distract you from keeping your commitments to your current employer- they aren’t paying you to find a new job.

Elevate your network

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
– John Rohn

Surround yourself with people who are career minded, who can motivate you and who can hold you accountable to your career goals.  Share your plans with others to make it harder on yourself to back out.  It is easy to just let life happen to you and not take charge when you see others doing the same.Do your research 
Don’t underestimate your value- know the market value for your skillsets and experience.  Evaluate the profiles of current employees on LinkedIn to review technologies, leadership, tenure, etc.

Career management is not an event- it’s a process.  Evaluate your interests and career progression often and ensure you are taking the reins to drive positive change- not just hoping for it to happen to you.

This is not an exhaustive list – what else have you done to manage your career?  Let us know at


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