Congratulations! You’ve passed your certification exams with flying colors — now what? The post-certification exam phase of your career journey can be a tough one. Many are left with more questions about their career path than when they began their certification course. Rest assured that this is not a time to panic. The uncertainty is normal, and one of the best ways to find clarity is by building your personal network.
The Information Technology (IT) field is large and growing, but still produces a tight knit community of professionals to network with. What you know is important to employers and will ultimately get you a job, but it is who you know that will get you in front of the employers — already looking like a good candidate.
Building a personal professional network takes work, but here are a few tips to get you started:
- Use Online IT-Specific Resources — Great examples of online IT organizations are the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Society for Technical Communication (STC). These organizations provide great connections and forums to communicate with the connections. Here are some additional suggestions from TechRepublic.
- Be Active on LinkedIn — This networking site is not flashy, but it is effective. Send messages to your connections in the industry and follow-up with them. Update your profile, and do all you can to make it more appealing.
- Work on an IT Project — Volunteer at local startup companies or tech Meetups. Use every opportunity to make meaningful connections with those you are working with. Another plus to volunteering is the added experience, and experience leads to employment
- Exhaust Your Current Personal Network — The majority of companies and organizations have an IT department. Ask your family and friends about their place of work, and learn about their IT department. They may have someone within their company that would be good to contact.
- Be Kind to Everyone — You never know who could be an asset to you in the future. Try not to burn any bridges.
These are some great suggestions to get your IT network started, now it is up to you to put in the work. Passing your certification exam was just the entrance to the path leading to your dream job.
About the Author — Jake Slater is the social media manager for GoCertify and a graduate of Brigham Young University. Jake has 2.5 million connections on LinkedIn. As far as you know.
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