Tuesday, March 4, 2008

During an Interview

I had a friend of mine ask if she could interview me for a class project she was working on. They needed to assess a small business that uses 3 computers or less and they would come back with some recommendations for software that may be helpful to the business. She thought that On The Edge, a newsletter I publish, would be a good fit.

The interview went well. She and a young man from her class sat and talked with me for about an hour. It was helpful and I think once they go back to their class and make their report, they'll come back with some good suggestions that may save me some time and money.

What I found interesting though, was the young man she brought along. My friend is retired and is going back to school just for the fun of learning. She's not sure where it will lead, but she enjoys the challenge and her classes. But this young man is 26 years old and wanted to get into Computer Networking and IT. So I started quizzing him on what he is doing now that will help him get a job in the future. I kept getting blank stares. Here are some of the things I was asking him:

1. What organizations have you joined that are helping you get in front of potential employers?
2. Do you have a LinkedIn profile?
3. What books are you reading, apart from your class text book, that will help you excel in your chosen field?
4. Do you understand where I'm going with this?

Unfortunately he didn't. So I told him about GSATC and about their Tech after 5 networking meetings. I explained LinkedIn to him and suggested he sign up and build a profile. Since I don't know much about Computer Networking and IT, I couldn't suggest a good book on that subject. But I do know a good bit about Career Networking and I suggested he read Monsters Career - Networking. It is one of the best Career Networking books I've ever seen and every college student should read it. I also gave him the name of an IT Recruiter I know through some of the Tech after5 meeting I've been to.

It seems to me that our colleges need to do a better job of preparing their students for the future. While they're doing a fine job on the technical side of education, they should also be teaching the personal side of building relationships in your chosen field. Maybe this fellow will listen, maybe he won't. I have a feeling that the latter will prove true. In this new economy, we need to be interwoven into a community that can help propel us in our careers. Especially in a career like IT, it can change on a dime and you never know when you'll be hunting that next job.

So my big question of the day is, what are you doing to propel your career?

Image: pmi.org

If you liked this post, be sure to visit my other blog: Jim Sharp

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