Thursday, September 13, 2007

Professionalism and your career

The truth is, I'm very successful in my life. I've managed to succeed with IT consulting, forming my own LLC and handling a few clients here and there. I also work full time as the Director of Information Technology for a Charleston, WV based company with a presence in WV, NC, SC and soon VA. The company is close to being a $1 billion company, which is good if we intend to sell the company and all retire. But what makes success? I guess it depends upon how you define success, but there are some obvious things we all do regardless of our definition.

First and foremost, when you apply for a position, you need to have your resume (or CV, which is what I have) in hand, ready to go. Your first impression to your potential employer is critical. If you're a difficult person, if you try to hide things, or if you just don't act professionally, you're not going to be considered for any position, let alone the one you want. You always address the hiring manager (or whomever you are speaking with) as Mr., Mrs., or Dr. (that's me). It's a common courtesy which will be extended to you.

You also need to be very aware of how you write; your language is a window to your intelligence. You won't be seeing any intelligent people writing poorly or unable to communicate properly (there is research into this field), unless of course you suffer from a condition such as Dr. Steven Hawking (MLS). If you cannot speak intelligently, such as using personal attacks, swearing, or other such mechanics, it simply shows your lack of education. You likely perceive yourself as very educated, but the truth is that you simply don't understand education, so your view is skewed and naturally biased. It's not your opinion of yourself which matters, it is the opinion (usually professional) of those interviewing you; you may want to google a "randomized trial" to see why we use outside observations.

It is important to research the company where you are attempting to seek employment, but you must make sure you do it properly. It is not uncommon for someone high within an organization to conduct business through other organizations. I am an independent IT consultant through my company, the Advanced Technology Group, and also serve as the full time IT Director for my current employer. This is quite common, as once you reach a level of education and experience, your services are requested quite often, as is my case. The formation of a company such as I have done is for liability, credit, and even tax reasons. I can leverage the power of a recognized entity as opposed to managing things from a personal perspective. So make sure that when you research your potential employer, you don't accidentally confuse unaffiliated organizations with the company who is doing the hiring. It can really make you look foolish, esp. if you can't even distinguish what the two different organizations do. My employer is in an unrelated field to IT consulting.

Googling individuals is a great way to make the previous mistake; for example, if you google my name, you'll see that my blog is the third result in the set. Pretty good isn't it? However, my blog is not related to either my IT consulting company or my full time employer, so it wouldn't be wise if I were hiring for a position through a company to make references to my blog. Very bad form, and it shows that your level of "research" was to google my name. Real research is a little more complicated than that.

Anyway, I hope this advice can help out any current job seekers.

Until next time,


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