Mainly (but not only) for my students in the Edmonton area, attending the ITC program at MCG Career group. You are attending a course that will propel you into a new career, an IT career, and one that you should be excited to be part of. The following tips may help you move forward and enjoy the ride.
1. Don’t just step, but jump out of your comfort zone.
2. Don’t worry too much about the first test, “IT Fundamentals”. Just focus on the content being covered each day and keep moving forward.
3. You are in a class that has various levels of IT competence, but don’t compare yourself to these. The only person you have to compete with is yourself. Attend classes at all costs and concentrate on learning something new each day.
4. One thing, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your instructor / mentor or teammates. Peer learning is always an essential skill builder for today’s technology workforce.
5. Know your 30-second “About Me” by heart and be able to give it at a moment’s notice. This statement requires that you know exactly where you want to be and what it takes to get there. I will post more about this next week.
6. Have a short term career plan ready to discuss during interviews, and consider how potential managers and other company leaders might serve as mentors and role models to get to your goals.
7. Connect and build relationships with co-students from the current class and if possible past classes to. Building a professional network should begin on the first day of class or as soon as possible thereafter.
8. Technical skills are essential to a good IT career but mastery of soft skills like communication and active listening are just as important. The critical soft skills for any IT professional are communication, collaboration, critical observation, problem solving and leadership. Possessing any or all these will set you up ahead of the crowd.
9. Great interviews begin with research, so start with the companies website and document their strong points and vision statement and work around them. The interviewer wants to know that you will fit in with the current employees and not disrupt the status quo.
10. Professional organizations and networking events are a great way to network and meet potential employers. This informal environment will be less pressure to discuss potential opportunities than a formal interview.
11. Great interviews are a conversation that is the result of planning and questions prepared ahead of time.
12. You are in the ITC program for a reason, so as soon as possible set goals for yourself, both short and longer term. This will help give you direction, and help you ask the right questions ahead of time.
13. LinkedIn is a great career tool while climbing the IT ladder. Get a head start on establishing an online presence by setting up an account. Do remember that past achievement will be an asset no matter what industry it comes from. Recruiters are always scouring here to find new clients. Connect with others and professional groups. Be there when the recruiters or companies post or search for professionals in your area.
Reflecting on the above, you have to start somewhere, so keep calm set yourself a goal and a task list, work through it one step at a time and you will be amazed how soon your actions will get you to where you want to be. You have to remember the golden rule! you control your own destiny, if you wait on others for direction, you will never be able to really go out and have fun in your new career.