Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 1 – Preparation

Welcome to episode 53 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss keeping prepared in anticipation of unanticipated career opportunities.

Adrian Cockcroft’s Reading List

Original Recording Date: 09-30-2019

Topics – Keeping Your Resume Updated, Update What You Want In A Work Environment, Keeping a Healthy Network, Handling Unsolicited Opportunities

03:46 Keeping Your Resume Updated

  • Get in the routine of keeping your resume current
    • Kitchen sink resume
      • Milestones and Awards
      • Do goal-setting exercises regularly and do updates based on those goals
        • Hold us accountable to do an episode about how to do professional goal-setting
        • Goals should be measurable
        • Impacts of progressing on your goals should be measurable
        • Checking-in with your manager on goals is also a great process
      • Frequency of updates
        • Check activities against goals
        • Add or remove goals?
        • You don’t need to edit to resume language more than monthly or quarterly
      • Translating to LinkedIn regularly
        • Private mode or not?
        • Routine updates vs major changes in jobs

13:28 Think about what you want in a work environment and company

  • John’s example
    • Smart people who think differently from me
    • A continuing focus on long-term best interests of the employee
      • A learning environment
      • Healthy career trajectory
    • Compelling solutions to business problems
  • So decide what you’re looking for
  • As a start, you can define your target environment in comparison and contrast with your current and past jobs
  • Then decide whether the new position meets those needs.
  • See Nerd Journey Episode 16 and Nerd Journey Episode 17 on when to walk away from an offer and Nerd Journey Episode 20 on Area of Destiny
  • This can help you evaluate opportunities

19:13 Keep your network healthy

  • These are the people who can help when you need help
  • Manager Tools has great ideas about this
    • Grow, grow, grow
    • Check in with LinkedIn contacts
    • Keep up to date with people you meet in person
    • What can you do to help them? ("Give to your network" – Manager Tools)
  • It can be difficult to keep in touch with everyone as your network grows
  • Look to grow beyond just people in your specific industry, your title, and your level

23:55 Types of unexpected "opportunities"

  • Involuntary Separation
    • Your preparation gives you a head start on getting your resume out there
    • Your prep helps reduce the stress of the situation
    • Your prep helps you to focus on the best opportunities for you
    • Listen to the John Hildebrand episodes on an unexpected layoff Nerd Journey Episode 37 and Nerd Journey Episode 38.
    • We should have mentioned financial preparation as well
      • 3-6 months of expenses as an emergency fund
      • Reduce high-interest debt as much as possible
  • Something pushes you to start looking
    • Looming threat of involuntary
    • Work environment changes for the worse
    • Again, the prep cuts down the work you need to do
  • Unsolicited contact
    • Recruiter contact
    • You already have a framework to evaluate this type of contact from your thoughts about what you want from an employer

32:44 Initial Handling of Unsolicited Job Opportunities

  • Should you respond to recruiters?
    • Evaluate it by the criteria you’ve already set up
    • Does it match your skill set?
    • Why are they asking you about this position?
    • You might choose to follow John’s lead and generally respond courteously, even if it’s just to say, "No thank you."
      • It might lead to a further discussion about what you’d actually consider, which they might know about
  • Introductions or opportunities via friends or colleagues
    • Why is this coming from the person you know or via this person?
    • How close is this associate
    • Nick’s anecdote
  • Beware of the "Give me your references before I’ll tell you about this job" scam.
  • In-person
    • Sometimes a conversation is a stealth job interview
    • A peer might have put in a word for you or referred you to an opportunity they heard about
    • Don’t forget John’s shameless LinkedIn connecting methodology

Contact us if you need help on the journey

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