The Importance of IT Preparedness For Your Business


The recent American Airlines’ network outage serves as an example of how many businesses have come to rely on complex systems and interconnected networks.  The ability for IT professionals to establish a continuity plan that includes considerations for planning, resource allocation, implementation, and monitoring becomes critical.   In order to keep the business operating at maximum efficiency, be sure your organization is focused on:

Risk Assessment: The first step is to assess the risks before a problem occurs.  Understand how IT integrates with cross-functional departments as it relates to data, storage, security, etc.

Identify Dependencies: To be effective with the continuity plan, it’s essential to not only understand internal assets and business functions but also the dependencies affected.  The strategies should address what technology channels are essential, which ones the business can do with, and for what duration of time.

Exposure: A solid continuity plan also accounts for critical areas such as employees, IT partners, process, systems, and data networks.  With a comprehensive view of these areas, a business is able to identify possible weaknesses in the process or infrastructure.

Recovery: A continuity plan is only as effective as the IT professionals who execute against it.  Proper preparation can reduce negative impact to the business.  The network and IT procedures must be prepared in advance in order to effectively manage recovery times.

As more companies move to the cloud and systems become increasingly more complex, IT SMEs become a necessary role.  Just remember, without a proper plan in place, the result can be devastating to the bottom line now and in the future.   In the case of American Airlines, even the best continuity plans aren’t fail-safe but recovery was possible.

Preparing to Make an Exit

Making the Exit

The most recent data on the amount of time an individual has been with his or her current employer indicate that career jobs may never have existed for most workers, and still do not. The median tenure of workers, the midpoint of wage and salary workers’ length of employment in their current job, was virtually unchanged over the past 25 years. On average today’s employees are on the same job for 5.1 years, making it likely that private sector workers will be changing jobs several times over their working lifetime.

Regardless of the reason for making a voluntary change of employment, you should be sensitive to the fact that your current employer has made an investment in you, and your role within the organization.  You never want to intentionally burn bridges, and though you may be excited about your new endeavor, your current employer deserves certain considerations with regard to your departure.

Contract employees should be careful to complete the current contract requirements or length of tenure before exiting their current employment.  Breaching the terms of a contract is unprofessional and will damage your reputation and may disqualify you for future career opportunities.  Whether you’re a contract or permanent employee, leaving a current job to accept a new position can be a stressful experience for you and your current employer, so how you communicate leaving can make a difference.  Both the written resignation letter and the verbal notification should be delivered in a professional tone and posture. It is important to step up and away from any emotional issues that may be related to your decision to making a change.

Always provide a two week notice, simply walking away or giving a shorter notice will most certainly do more damage to you than to your employer.  Offer to help train a replacement and make yourself available after the transition to answer questions by phone or email to show your interest in their continued success. If asked, participate in an exit interview and be prepared to give thoughtful, courteous responses to inquiries to the reasons for your departure.  And do not miss the opportunity to express genuine appreciation for the employment experience.

Your current employment will be referenced for future job opportunities over your entire career, handling yourself in a professional, determined, but considerate manner is very important.

Preparing for the Interview

Preparing for the Interview

“Prepare your silken coat before it rains, and don’t wait until you are thirsty to dig a well.”  The quote is from an unknown source but is very good advice in all things that matter.  Having the foresight to anticipate those things that are more certain than not to come before us, will most likely have a positive impact on the outcome of the experience.  Actors do it, speakers obsess over it and emergency responders make it their most important life’s rule.

For job seekers, preparation for a potential interview is critical.  With the intense competition in the job market at an all-time high level, making a credible first impression is essential to improving your chances of getting that perfect career opportunity.  Be aware, the need to be prepared begins before the in-person interview.  It begins with the phone screen, the call from the recruiter or hiring company.  Here are a few tips on how to answer that all important phone call:

  • Be sure everyone in your household is aware you may be receiving calls from recruiters and companies.   Always answer the phone in a polite, professional manner, and ask family members to do the same.
  • Do not interrupt an existing conversation to take another incoming call.  Putting a call from a prospective employer on “Hold” may permanently put your potential next job on hold.
  • Treat every phone screen as if it could be your next opportunity.  The goal of the conversation is to win over advocates to your job search efforts, keep the conversation light, straight forward and professional.
  • Construct a professional and positive voice-mail message for when you are unable to answer the call personally.  Be sure not to make it cute, funny or entertaining.

Once an appointment has been secured for a personal interview, begin the process of preparation by investigating the company, the particular job being interviewed and the interviewer.  Seek all available information on personalities, corporate culture, and what is most important for the employer when identifying the appropriate candidate.  During the interview, expect to be asked open-ended questions. Questions that require you to give real life examples of how you handled prior job related challenges.  Anticipate, in advance, topics that may be open to discussion during the interview and script a few potential responses.  It may not come up, but being prepared will avoid being caught off guard.

Have questions you want to ask the interviewer prepared in advance.  Knowing what is appropriate to ask, and what questions should never be asked, can be a bit intimidating but a few “must ask” questions like: Is the position being back-filled or is it a new position due to growth?  Why did you choose to work for the organization?  What do you like best, and what has been a challenge?  What can you tell me about the individual to whom I would report?  The answers will provide useful insights into management’s expectations, the potential for growth within the organization and the management styles and personality traits of prospective supervisors and associates.  Career experts agree that asking questions during a job interview is the best way to determine whether the organization is the right fit for you. It is also a great way to show the employer that you’ve done your homework and that you’re enthusiastic about the job opportunity.

Finally, remember to ask the most important question of all. What are the next steps?

It is vital to know what happens after the interview and to establish an expectation for follow-up. This will also help gauge the company’s level of interest in you. Secure the interviewer’s contact information and be certain to immediately follow-up the interview with a thank you note.

Refine Your Job Seeking Efforts, Customize and Target Your Resume

Target Your Resume

Unless your talents are extremely rare, potential employers won’t be impressed with a cookie-cutter, generic version of your credentials. While a generic resume may be sufficient to post online for general distribution, applying for a specific position requires customizing your resume to target a specific position that reflects your particular talents and experiences.  A well-targeted application is worth more than several blind, random submittals. In today’s market, it is imperative candidates invest the time and effort to carefully assess their career objectives and refine their resume to match the specific job being sought.

Attracting good offers and getting a job in today’s competitive and shrinking employment climate is a full time endeavor, requiring dedication and substantial effort to get noticed by those entities looking to hire candidates with specific, relevant skills and experience.

Before starting, investigate each job opportunity thoroughly to learn as many specifics about the job, its educational and experience requirements as well as what is most important to the employer, than use this information to point your customization effort in the right direction.

Begin by stating the exact job title you are applying for on the “Objective” line of your resume. This is vital if you are applying at a company that is looking to fill several positions.  Prospects should be able to identify the job opening being applied for at a glance.  Focus on broad, general skill sets as well as skills that are specific to the job and emphasize multi-tasking skills, high energy level, and other personal attributes that may set you apart from other candidates.  Link words from the ad description of the “ideal candidate” to your resume and associate your particular strengths to the position.  Highlight the positives but don’t over-embellish and always be truthful and accurate.

Recruiters usually focus most of their attention and time on the following areas of a resume:

  • An applicant’s contact information
  • The most recent job position and title
  • Dates of employment
  • Previous job accomplishments and responsibilities
  • Core strengths
  • Education

Craft your résumé for a quick read.  In today’s competitive employment market, hiring managers and their staff will be receiving hundreds of resumes for each open job they have, your resume should be crafted to stand out from the crowd and dive the reader to look for additional information with a short simple read of 10 seconds or less.

To be more successful in finding that perfect job opportunity you must step-up the pace and energy to expend the extra effort that the unsuccessful candidate, your competition, is not willing to do.

Leveraging Social Media for Career Success

Social Media Icons

Finding a new job or advancing a career today in light of the high unemployment and diminished availability of career advancement opportunities is making the process of finding new or improved opportunities extremely important.  Simply applying for jobs through job boards or submitting resumes to online job postings will no longer generate success for job seekers.  Companies today are investing heavily in social media, making social media skills and tools mandatory for career success.   Landing that great job has always been about “who-you-know” and social networks have made it easy to expand your connections.

The recent Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey is offering new insights into how employers use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social channels for recruiting.

The survey of more than 1,000 recruiters, executives and hiring managers reveals that 92 percent use social media sites to research, evaluate, and recruit new hires.  The challenge lies in understanding how to effectively use social media to establish meaningful relationships and then turn them into opportunities.

According to Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, “people become so transfixed by technology they forget social media is not a solution in-and-of-itself, rather it’s a tool.”  Social media is a crucial component of the modern job search. You can improve your chances with a potential employer by creating an attention-grabbing LinkedIn profile, effectively creating personal information on Facebook, and taking advantage of the real-time nature of Twitter.

Here are a few tips to finding a job using social networking sites from Brad Schepp, co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+:

Create Relevant Profiles

Build compelling, professional profiles for yourself that include your job history, going back no more than 15 to 20 years. LinkedIn is an obvious place for such a profile, but Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, among others, are also sites where you can include this kind of information.


Connect with others in your industry.  Search the directories to find Groups in your industry, join those that appear especially active and vibrant, and then introduce yourself to the other members. Build your social capital by becoming known as a source for provocative content.

Be Engaged

Follow companies in your field on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’re automatically notified about new hires, product developments, and other news. “Like” companies you’re interested in and join the conversation about industry trends on Facebook.

Be Known As A Resource

Help out others by answering questions, making introductions, and linking to content.  Regularly answer questions on LinkedIn and provide links to great content on Facebook and Twitter

Don’t Ask For A Job

Keep your name in front of people in a position to help your career, but even though you’re hidden behind a screen, don’t ask people outright for a job.  Focus instead on making connections with the right people and promoting your qualities and experiences.

Search For Jobs

Turn over those virtual rocks to find job postings on sites like Simply Hired, CareerBuilder, Monster or Indeed and improve the odds in your favor by looking for jobs on company Twitter feeds, on their Facebook pages, and in LinkedIn Groups.

Make A Plan

It’s important to have a game plan in mind when you set out to use these sites as part of a job search.  Make a plan to work on your profile, join groups and follow companies in an organized and disciplined manor.

A successful strategy is to use social media sites as an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers and showcase your value to their organizations. It is one more way to increase your chances of finding a job.

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