I’m a sports nut and a business nut. Both involve playbooks to improve and get better, to level up. I like Tom Brady for his strategy and execution. (NFL teams literally have a playbook with hundreds of plays the team has to memorise.)
I follow an entrepreneur called Jon Davids (jondavids.com) who regularly posts ‘playbooks’ for businesses he finds out about where he unpacks how the business works and how it makes its money. The step by step of how the business started, grew and works today or was sold.
So here’s my broad playbook for taking the next step in your IT career towards your dream job. Most of this came out of a career chat I had with an IT Manager yesterday looking to move into senior management or a C level position, but it’ll work with any position.
Here’s the basic playbook we ran through..
1. Know what the CV’s look like
Know what the CV’s look like for the people currently occupying the kind of role that you want. (The beauty of linkedin, is you can do this research yourself). Look at their work history, skills, education and particularly the language used. See what you’re lacking and what skills you could develop.
2. Scour Linkedin and job boards
You can scour LinkedIn and job boards to find appropriate postings and you can start with our IT job board here. Bear in mind though, not all IT jobs are publicly advertised. If you see your dream job, take a deep breath before just hitting apply. Look closely at the ad. Try and work out exactly what they need.
Go back to step 1 above and look at the language used on the CVs of others already in that kind of a role. Edit your CV to mirror what they want with the right language. Obviously don’t lie on your CV but make sure you showcase your best and most relevant side, using the language they expect to read on a CV. Ask other employers in the industry how they filter CV’s for these kinds of roles. Leave off details that are likely to put them off.
3. Use your own contacts
Use your own contacts and take the opportunities as they arise. For one candidate their big break for moving from a technical role to IT Management came when the IT company they were working with folded and the client reached out to them directly to come and take over their IT himself. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and became the IT Manager for the firm and built a team underneath him instead of outsourcing to an MSP. That is a golden opportunity right there and it wouldn’t have come about if he hadn’t fostered a good relationship with the client for 12 months beforehand.
4. Network, network, network
They say it’s not what you know but who you know. This is partly true. And the positive side to this statement is that you can increase the circle of who you know. Go to industry events. Mix in the same circles as the employers for the role that you’re interested in. People know people and recommend people for roles, before the role is even advertised. You want to be ahead of the game, particularly when you’re trying to break into an area that you’ve not had experience in before. Meet the people already in that area. Get to know them and their language. Volunteer to help at the industry functions that they put on. You’ll soon get known when your face keeps popping up.
5. Start your own meetup group in this area
Ask someone in the field to do an opening talk and get them to invite their own contacts along. It doesn’t matter if the group starts small, you can grow it over time. And given you started it, you’ll always be very visible. You don’t have to have the knowledge, you just have to be the facilitator that brings the right people together with that knowledge. And you’ll learn a hell of a lot along the way. Be careful though, don’t start something without a plan that you can’t commit to over the medium term.
I hope that helps in energising your career. Reach out if I can ever be of assistance.
PS – Tom Brady is my age… technically I can still dream of being a professional sportsman.. right?