7 tips for successfully moving onwards and upwards in your tech career

Woman climbing the ladder. Сareer growth, achievement of success in business or study.For many, the pandemic allowed people to assess what the really wanted from their career – whether it’s switching roles, launching your own business, moving into a new industry entirely, or making the move to a more senior position.

In this piece, Jessica Brewer, HR Strategist and Leadership Development Coach, gives us her tips on how to successfully move onwards and upwards in your tech career.

Get clear on the why

Lots of people feel frustrated with their careers post-pandemic.  There is a sense of restlessness and an added pressure in the media with ‘the great resignation’ but before you start running towards something shiny and new, get clear on the why.

Ask yourself what is important to you in your next role?  What do you want to learn?  What is important to you in the company culture?  What is missing in your current role, that you want to find elsewhere?

Research the company and roles

Do your research.  Identify the roles and the companies that you want to work for.  Some of the companies in the tech sector offer programmes to support people transitioning from other sectors, for example Oracle’s GenO programme, where you’ll get the benefit of being paid for those that want to retrain and start a fresh in tech.

Use tools such as Glassdoor and Linked In to get a feel for the values and company culture and be clear about why you want to work for that company.  You can use that in your cover letter when applying to show that you’ve considered which role and company that you want and is an opportunity for you to show you have a considered approach to job hunting.

Identify your strengths

Be clear about what strengths you have.  Ask for feedback from your current manager, peers, clients.  Review your appraisals and see what comes up consistently.  You can use free online tools such as high5test.com’s StrengthsFinder to help you.

Once you have a clear idea of what your strengths are, identify clear examples that exemplify these strengths.  Think about how you can really bring your strengths to life in your CV and cover letter, build the story.

CARL

CARL stands for Context, Action, Result and Learning.  It is a great habit to start to create a database of examples that you can use build and tailor your CV and it will also help you at interview phase.

Context – What was going on? What were you asked to do? Why did it come about?

Action – What did you do?  How did you do it?

Result – What was the impact of what you did?

Learning – How did this compare to what was expected to happen?  What would you do differently?

Use the action and result to form the bullet points of your Employment Experience in your CV.  Recruiters are looking to see the impact that you have had, what you have done – not your current job description.   Then at interview stage be sure to offer the context and the results, making sure to highlight those identified strengths.

Make a plan

Searching for the perfect new role can be a full-time job in itself and can so be overwhelming, you don’t really start actively looking beyond scrolling the job boards.  Break it down.  Think about what tasks you need to do, and how much time you are going to allocate to it.  Go back to your why, as this is your goal and will help keep you motivated.  Realise that to do it well, it may take some time, but it’s effort that will pay you back in the long run.  Find someone to keep you accountable, if you need that but make sure you take action.

Personal branding

Personal branding is not just for your LinkedIn profile, but your cover letter and your CV.  Spend some time interacting on LinkedIn, posting relevant content, and building your network as well as searching for job’s.  Using your network is a great way to tap into jobs that never get advertised.

Take time to personalise CV’s and cover letters.  Have a base template but use the job description and your CARL database to make sure that you show the recruiter that you are the right candidate for the job.  You don’t need to cover everything on the list, there should always be room to grow into your new role but make it easy for the recruiter to connect the dots.  You can use CV templates on free programmes like Canva to give standout, and contrary to the rumours all text is read by the ATS systems (images are not).

The cover letter is often a missed opportunity to add some personality and share some relevant examples in more detail than in the CV.  Use it to articulate why this role and this company.  And, make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct.

Leave gracefully

You’ve got the new job; you are delighted but how you leave your current role is important.  It is easy to switch off in your notice period, but it an opportunity to create a lasting impression and potentially build foundations for your future career.  Make sure to tie up any loose ends, do a good handover, give constructive feedback in an exit interview and leave well.  The people you have worked with are part of your network and you never know how they may be able to help you and your career in the future.

About the author

Jessica Brewer is an HR strategist and leadership development coach with over a decade of experience helping entrepreneurs to build engaged and high performing teams. Using her expertise, she has enabled her clients to scale, in some cases to multiple eight figure businesses, whilst retaining their unique values and cultures. She has helped numerous founders, across a broad range of service-based industries, transition into becoming the authentic leader they wanted to be.

As a Chartered Master of the CIPD, an ICF accredited coach, and a qualified Mental Health First Aider, Jessica draws on her skills to help business owners create workplaces for people to thrive, having a tangible impact on their bottom line.  Building a trusted and valued team creates freedom and clarity within a business, which allows leaders to work on their business rather than in their business and know that the work is getting done to the highest standard.

She is passionate about creating a better, more inclusive world of work for future generations, inspired by her two young daughters. In her spare time, she is also an active volunteer with the Young Women’s Trust, supporting young women with career coaching.