Road Map Your Resume
By Leah O’Flynn, Sales & Marketing Recruiter High Tech
Strategic thinking is key in plotting the course for a great career. In order to build a fantastic resume, thought needs to be put into creating the experience and accomplishments that great companies want. Here are some things to think about:
Play the field but do so with some strategy when you are young and starting out. Avoid more than three jobs within your first five years out of college. By year five, you should have a much clearer expectation of what you want from your job, what you have to offer, and what sectors are a good fit.
Startup experience makes you more marketable for many reasons. The primary reason is that working at a startup demonstrates the ability to be agile and wear a lot of hats. It shows that you are hands-on and roll up your sleeves. The higher visibility and greater expansion of your skill set provides opportunities to accumulate accomplishments more quickly than in a big department of a big company, where roles are often highly focused on more defined tasks and responsibilities.
Startups do represent higher risk. Typically professionals should take risks earlier in his or her careers rather than later. It is easier to work long hours for less upfront and bigger backend stakes before people have taken on the priorities of an expanding family.
Diversification is key but tenure is also important.
As you progress in your career, say five years out, it is time to take positions where you intend to stay at least three years. The diversification that you can build in the early years as you try your hand at various roles and sectors is very attractive. In the next phase of your career, you need to more fully develop your strengths and further build your accomplishments.
At this next stage, you should have a good idea of where you want to be. While it’s easy to stick with what you know, be careful not to pigeon hole yourself in one space. Know that what you do for the next five years of your career will set the course for the next fifteen in all likelihood.
If you have been in security for five years and you don’t love it, make the change now. If you have been in mobile for five years and you love it, mix it up and try different aspects or types of mobile technologies to strengthen and reinforce your growing skill sets. For example, you can start with a mobile company and be consumer focused. Maybe your next move is working for an enterprise mobile company. Now, you have a lot of mobile but you experience has grown to cover both B2B and B2C.
Skills and Accomplishments to Build Along the Way
As you develop your skills, think about the big picture. Engage in the serious conversations about strategy and tactics with your colleagues and management. Delve into the organization’s vision and mission and imagine how your role can help the company achieve the company’s ambitions.
The skill of team building is huge. Your individual contributions will always be important, but the people who can bring others together to successfully deliver are even more valuable. Learning to provide inspirational leadership and build teams with superior performance results will differentiate you.
Scout for talent.
Spotting and nurturing talent is another differentiator. It takes a village, and if that village is made up of the best and brightest, it will have more wins. Take an interest in finding the talent around you, and in helping to support and mentor it.
Look for opportunities to take on responsibility and develop a wide range of skills. Plotting a career path means showing real accomplishments and milestones. If those opportunities aren’t presenting themselves at your current role, seek them out elsewhere.
Learn to interview.
Whether you are seeking opportunities internally or externally, or informally or formally, interviewing is an art that requires practice. Always be honest about your strengths and weaknesses; and take proactive steps to address your weaknesses whether via taking on new challenges, enrolling in a course, finding a mentor, or whatever it takes.
Ask Yourself What You Want from Your Career. Is what you are doing now building the track record to get you where you want to go? Re-assess annually along the way, and make any changes necessary to correct your course.
About the author:
Leah O’Flynn, Sales & Marketing Recruiter High Tech
Born in Dublin, raised in New Jersey, Leah’s gypsy ways have taken her on many a random journey. Leah has two degrees; one in Journalism and Media Studies, the other in History. She is a natural recruiter who listens and is able to prioritize the needs and desires of both candidates and hiring managers.
Connect with Leah on LinkedIn: