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How to Avoid 5 IT Career Missteps

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 22, 2014
Even if you aren't currently looking for a job, both errors of omission and errors of commission can come back to haunt when you are looking for a new position or gunning for that promotion. Here are five common career-limiting mistakes IT pros make.

1. Don't Stop Networking
Networking can be a crucial part of any job search, but don't quit once you're hired, Duchesne says. Continuing to build strong business connections, and taking care of the relationships you already have, is critical for future success, he says. And don't neglect networking and relationship-building within your own organization, he adds.

"Most people think of networking as something you do to build connections outside their workplace," Duchesne says. "But networking within your own company with other departments, other business units, and the like is just as important," he says. Networking within your organization can help you gain visibility and contribute to your reputation as a team player who wants to make an impact across the whole business, not just in their position, he says.

2. Drive Your Own Destiny
Duchesne says it's important to take control of your own career path and avoid getting complacent. Too many people depend on their manager or boss to set the tone and the direction for their career path. He advises being proactive when asking for assignments and responsibilities, and make sure you and your manager are on the same page as far as your career goals and direction.

3. Create a Five-Year Plan
To that end, Duchesne says, create and maintain a five-year plan. When you started out in your career, it's likely you had a five-year plan, he says. You should make sure to keep that plan fresh; constantly updating and refreshing that plan and reviewing goals and achievements can help make sure you're on track. It's much easier to make career decisions, Duchesne says, when you have a solid plan laid out.

"For myself, personally, I'm focused on new business development, but that hasn't always been the case. At a previous position, he says, he was in a position with responsibility for existing client service delivery, but made sure to explicitly ask for responsibility for new business development roles.

"I told my managers I wanted to drive and generate new revenue, even though I was focused on existing client service delivery. So I found every opportunity to talk to sales mangers, executives, and eventually began to transition to roles within sales and then parlayed that into a sales management opportunity," he says.

4. Keep Social Media Profiles Professional
"People do extensive research on these sites before they hire you," Duchesne says. "Because of the technology, the personal and professional spheres are more integrated than ever, and it's safest to assume that your social media persona is not separate from your professional persona," he says.

To avoid potentially career-ending mistakes, he says, you should know what your organization's social media policies are and follow those to the letter. In addition, you can take cues from senior leadership as far as what's appropriate to post and to which platforms, he says.


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