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9 IT Career Resolutions for 2013

As 2012 comes to a close, IT job seekers should already be formulating a plan for career growth and professional development in 2013

By Rich Hein, CIO
December 26, 2012 11:50 AM ET

CIO - Even if you are happy with your current IT job or role, there is a chance you might find yourself looking for a new position this year due to downsizing, outsourcing or reorganization.

According to recent statistics, the average worker has been in their current position for no longer than 4.4 years, a number that has been on the decline for decades. The days of working for one employer for your entire career, it seems, are over. So what can you do to shield yourself from the turmoil and layoffs that swirl through IT? Be ready for anything. You can't stop progress; the only choice is to evolve with the technology or get left behind.

With that in mind, here's our list of nine career-related resolutions to make for 2013.

1. Work Better to Understand My Industry

"Know specifically how and where you fit in it, where and how you can help. Then you'll be considered invaluable," says Ross MacPherson, president of Career Quest and a specialist in advanced career strategies.

You may be the best programmer in the world, but what companies really want are people who understand the business side of things as well. So attend an event, set up Google News Alerts for industry keywords or join LinkedIn, Yahoo groups and get involved. Knowing what's going on in your industry will give you a leg up over your competition.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave "up. -Thomas Edison

2. Build a Career Map

Many companies today, both big and small, don't have well-defined career paths for their IT workforces. That's why creating your own can be helpful in determining your strengths and weaknesses as well as in identifying clear career objectives.

"No one is responsible for your career but you--not your company, not your boss-- just YOU. Design a great career and make it happen," says Macpherson.

Your personal career map should include the following:

  • An employee profile that list jobs and roles you have held (be specific).
  • An idea or goal position that includes positions within and outside of your company.
  • An analysis of your skills and a plan to bridge any skills gaps.
  • A network of professionals who you can work with and use for advice when necessary.

Building a career map of your own will help you do a better job focusing your job search. So get it done. To find out more about career mapping, here is a recent article covering the basics.

"Control your own destiny or someone else will." - Steve Jobs

3. Update Your Resume

Having your resume up-to-date and ready to go can do wonders when it comes to setting your mind at ease. You can be sure that occasionally checking in to update your resume is a lot easier than having to do an overhaul of your resume in crisis mode.

"Your resume is a marketing document. You need to sell your expertise and stand out among your peers who may be just as qualified as you," says Macpherson.

Build your resume with the position you want in mind. Highlight your skills that are relevant to that position. Look around on job boards and see what keywords recruiters are using and add them where they fit into your resume. Include honors, awards and any charity you actively participate in. Seminars or course are often over-looked here as well.

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