It’s a really tremendous time to be in tech right now. Incredible IT jobs with both established and startup companies offer incredible opportunities to advance your career. But when it comes to taking the right approach to your career — and to IT job opportunities — flexibility is key.
A personal perspective.
I can really understand the mindset of consultants today. Of course, I’ve worked in IT staffing and recruiting for 25 years so I’ve helped a countless number of professionals like you find great IT jobs. But I also recently embarked on a job search of my own. Taking the mindset of a job seeker was an interesting twist for this recruiter, but offered me some really valuable perspective. I truly understood the importance of flexibility when it comes to IT career success and even more importantly, satisfaction. In some recent conversations with consultants here at PSCI, this has become even more apparent.
Align your goals with the reality of your current situation.
One of the most common scenarios to arise where flexibility could really make an impact is when it comes to IT career goals. Maybe you’ve put a few years into your current employer, but you realize that there isn’t any room for upward mobility and management opportunities figure into your long-term plan. This is a great time to explore new opportunities (and I can absolutely help you!), but it’s critical to be flexible when thinking about your ideal situation. It can be tempting, when considering the current demand for experienced tech professionals, to want an instant upgrade into the role you desire. But not all employers are willing to take a leap of faith on someone without prior management experience.
Some flexibility and openness to a lateral move can make a major impact on your long-term IT career satisfaction. A lateral move into a company that is actively expanding and has clear management tracks can provide you with precisely the opportunity you desire — you’ll just have to earn it a bit. And in these instances, your approach to the lateral move and the opportunity itself is paramount to gaining the attention of an employer and making the right impression. An eagerness to contribute to the team with an understanding about growth opportunities will absolutely get you noticed.
Trust your IT career partner (in other words, your recruiter).
Often times, I meet with consultants who have a very specific notion of the type of job or opportunity they desire. I completely understand having a specific focus — and depending on the role, many employers appreciate that as well. But knowing when that focus is warranted or appreciated, versus when it may hurt your chances of landing a new opportunity, is essential. That’s where a trusted IT career advisor (a recruiter you have built significant trust with over the years) can be a tremendous asset. When you’re so focused on something specific, it can be difficult to take a fresh set of eyes to opportunities and determine whether they’re truly aligned with your goals.
I have the unique position of understanding the market, specific client needs and consultant goals and skill sets to offer advice and suggestions that I’m confident will lead to better results. Lean on me to help you make critical decisions, or at least provide an unbiased take on your circumstances and how certain opportunities can help you reach your goals. I actually just spoke with a consultant today who was in a very relevant situation for this topic. Over the past few years he was focused on gaining skills and experience in the latest tech trends. He was so focused on gaining and advancing those skills — it drove all his career decisions. In my experience, this can be very exhilarating depending on your situation…but also very exhausting. It’s almost like you meant to run a marathon, starting in one place and ending in another, but instead you’re on a treadmill doing a lot of running but ending up in the same place.
I found an incredible opportunity that used his skills and experience in a new way, but offered the stability of a successful, family-owned business outside of a downtown city environment. Based on his career trajectory and where he was headed at his current pace, I suggested it might be time to settle into a great company for the long haul while continuing to advance his skills, but without the hectic demands of constantly “keeping up.” He had been on this path for quite some time, so he took time to think it over and discuss it with his family. Ultimately, he agreed that this was the best decision for him at this stage of his career. He got off the treadmill. He trusted his IT career advisor and found an opportunity that will likely fuel career satisfaction and success for many years to come.
The point here isn’t that this situation or decision is right for everyone — every IT professional is different. All IT jobs are different. But when it comes to flexibility, it’s important to remember that old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Be willing to move out of your comfort zone, trust your career advisor, and at the very least, take the opportunity to explore IT jobs that you may not have considered before. You might be surprised at the results.