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IT Career Builder's Toolkit, The

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IT Career Builder's Toolkit, The

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  • Copyright 2005
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 1-58705-449-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-58705-449-5

Your complete guide to building your information technology career in any economy

The IT Career Builder’s Toolkit  features market-focused skills and proven methods you can use to jump-start and advance your career. While other books cover just the mechanics of preparing your résumé, writing a cover letter, and interviewing, this book provides all that plus additional insight from IT career development expert, Matt Moran, to help you plan and create a rewarding IT career over the long term.

The toolkit approach allows you to use this book to suit your unique needs:

  • Are you new to the IT field? Benefit by reading the book cover to cover.
  • Just need to fine-tune your IT career? Choose a topic and dive in.

Understand and prepare for the various and changing factors that affect your career in both positive and negative ways. Learn how to

  • Present the value of your technical skills in the job market
  • Position yourself as the primary commodity of your career
  • Remove the guesswork out of job searches
  • Highlight on-the-job skills and gain meaningful professional exposure 

The companion CD-ROM includes career management tools such as résumé and cover letter templates, forms to track important contacts, and self-assessment tools. Start or further your consulting career with sample proposals, opportunity tracking forms, and a time-tracking and billing database. Financial tools, including budget and cash-flow summary worksheets, help you gain financial well-being. Use the Value-Added Technologist presentation to gain a clear understanding of the career-building process and how to use the toolkit to build a dynamic career.

Most of all, have fun! Every year, people advance along the path to career stardom. Let Matt help you to be one of them through his career philosophy “Do not accept mediocrity as a career objective–demand more of yourself.”

“I want you to see the [toolkit] techniques as one more set of skills to adopt in your overall career development program. They are skills, just like your technical skills, that you will use daily during your career. Just as you adopt new technical skills, use the toolkit to define those soft skills that you must learn and put to use. The result will be a more well-rounded and complete professional skill-set.”

~ Matthew Moran, from the Introduction

Companion CD-ROM

The CD-ROM contains valuable tools, forms, spreadsheets, and documents that work with the Toolkit to help you master key areas of your career development.

Sample Content

Table of Contents


Part I   An Introduction to Career Building

Chapter 1   The Toolkit Approach to Career Development

Justifying the Need for an IT Toolkit

Actions & Ideas

Chapter 2   Career Building Defined

The Danger of a Tool-Driven Mindset

A Job Is Not a Career

Perspectives on Career Development: Careers Are Nonlinear

Perspectives on Career Development: A Working Plan Makes Tedious or Unrewarding Jobs Bearable

Career Building Conclusion

Actions & Ideas

Chapter 3   Information Technology: A Great Career

Why IT Is a Great Career


Performance-Based Advancement

Opportunities for Continuous Learning

Pay and Perks

What About Outsourcing?

Outsourcing Is About Value, Not Costs

The Jobs That Won’t Be Outsourced


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 4   Defining Yourself: Aptitudes and Desires

Considerations in Your Career Choice

Factors to Help Decide Your Career Path: Needs




Commute and Travel Time

Working Conditions (People, Culture, Environment, Hours)

Future Growth Potential

Factors to Help Decide Your Career Path: Desires

Factors to Help Decide Your Career Path: Skills

Beware: Analysis Paralysis


Actions & Ideas

Part II   Filling Your Toolkit

Chapter 5   Self-Assessment

The Power of Self-Assessment

The Dangers of Self-Assessment

Four Questions of Self-Assessment

Where the Four Questions Came From

Question 1: Do I Make My Employer’s Job Much Easier or Much More Difficult?

Question 2: If I Gave Notice Today, Would My Employer Have an Instant Sense of Relief or Dread?

Question 3: Do I Perform My Job Better Than My Employer Could Perform My Job If He/She Needed To?

Question 4: If Asked How I Can Improve in My Job, Do I Cite External Factors—People and Resources—or Do I Take Responsibility?

Conclusion: Making It Personal

 Actions & Ideas

Chapter 6   Attitude

The Effect of Attitude on Your Career

Positive Mental Attitude

PMA Is Not a Panacea

PMA and a Plan

Beware: Two Pitfalls of Attitude

Unrealistic Expectations

Skill Deficits

The Role of Attitude

What You Think of Your Employer

The “Us Versus Them” Mentality

Management Got There by Luck or Schmoozing, Alone

Your Coworkers

Humble Arrogance: The Attitude of Personal Value


The Myth of the Self-Made Man

Attitude Checks


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 7   Communication Skills

Defining Communication Skills

The Benefit of Communication Skills: An Effective Communicator Is Viewed as More Intelligent

Written Communications

General Guidelines

The Letter


The Well-Crafted Paragraph

The Well-Crafted Page

Verbal Communication


Presentations and Training

Don’t Wait Until You Are Asked to Speak to Learn This Vital Skill

Cover No More Than Three to Five Main Points

Work from an Outline, Not a Script

Look at the Audience

A Brief Note on Listening


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 8   Technical Skills

Your Technology Skills

The Role of Learning

The Fear of Obsolescence

Another Perspective: Transcendent Skills

Reducing the Parts

Tips to Speed Up the Learning Process

Start with Concepts

Don't Study What You Know

Don't Worry About Catching the Latest Trend

Focus on Solutions, Not Technology


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 9   The Cover Letter

The Purpose of Your Cover Letter

Three Vital Ingredients in Your Cover Letter

Gratitude for the Opportunity

A Significant Accomplishment

Your Interest in Becoming a Producer


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 10   The Résumé

Your Ambassador to the Professional World

The Purpose of Your Résumé

Determining Who Is Looking at Your Résumé

Busy Employers

Disinterested Employers

Résumé Basics

Length: Brevity Is Key

No Paragraphs

Bulleted Lists

Documenting Your Professional Experience

A Note About Certifications/Degrees on Your Résumé

Guidelines for Writing Your Résumé


Actions & Ideas

Part III   Putting Your Toolkit to Use

Chapter 11   Breaking into IT

Correcting Perception

IT Happens Outside of IT

Other Avenues into IT

Ask for What You Want

Ask for Advice


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 12   Building an Active Contact List

Enjoy People

Develop a Personality

Have Other Areas of Interest

Engage in Conversation

Track and Remember Your Contacts

Share Opportunity


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 13   The Job Search

Getting What You Want Requires Wanting Something

Defining the Job Search

Remember: Looking for Work Is Work

The Toolkit Approach to Finding a Job

Job Search Outline

A Job Search Comparison

Method 1: The Standard “Passive” Job Search

Method 2: The Proactive Job Search

Method 1 Versus Method 2

A Word About the Out-of-Town Search


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 14   The Interview

Practice Your Interview Skills

Be Prepared to Answer Difficult Questions

What Professional Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?

What Do You Feel Is Your Greatest Strength? Greatest Weakness?

Why Are You Leaving Your Last Job?

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

After the Interview


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 15   Salary Negotiations and Employment Agreements

Start Early

Know What You Want

Understand the Employer’s Perspective

Be Creative

Be Firm

Your Worth to the Company

Negotiations Never Fail

Be Flexible

Employment Agreements

Seek Legal Counsel



Bonuses and Performance Perks


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 16   On-the-Job Promotion

On the Job

Maintaining and Building Your Network

Identifying Areas for Success


Working for a Tyrant and Other Joys

Determine Whether Your Boss’s Actions Are Personality or Personal

Understand That People Are “Where They Are”

Take an Objective Path to Evaluating What They Say

Handling Criticism

Determine Whether What Someone Is Saying Is True

Determine Whether It Is Something You Need to Change

Talk to Someone About a Behavior

Don’t Swallow Your Pride—Control It


Actions & Ideas

Part IV   More Options to Build Your Career

Chapter 17   The Boundaries and Benefits of Working at Home

Careers That Lend Themselves to Telecommuting

The Benefits for the Employee

The Benefits for the Employer

The Concerns for the Employee

The Concerns for the Employer

Conclusion: Next Steps

Keys to Successful Telecommuting

Project-Based/Free-Agent Mindset

Apply Discipline

Clear Expectations

Technologies for the Telecommuter


IM Services

Resources for the Home Worker


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 18   The Toolkit Approach to Consulting

The Consulting Life

The Benefits



Exciting Projects


The Pitfalls

Business Planning: Taxes, Legal


Current Workload

Inaccurate Records

Trading Time for Dollars


Ongoing Marketing

Ideas on Getting Published

The Process of Getting Published

Resources for the Consultant

CD-ROM Materials for the Consultant


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 19   The Move to Management


Process and Time Management

Critical Skills You Need Now

Presentation and Meeting Skills

Team-Building Skills

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Promote Your Team and Its Members

Foster an Environment That Allows for (Even Celebrates) Failure

Create a Project/Contract Mentality with Those You Report to and Those Who Report to You


Actions & Ideas

Part V   The Value-Added Technologist

Chapter 20   Make Yourself Indispensable

A Word About Value

Being Proactive

Understanding Technology’s Role in the Organization

Maintain a Business-First Mentality

Create Standards, Automation, or a Programmer’s Toolkit

Create a Peer Knowledge Network

Be Known As the Go-To Resource

Be Ready and Willing to Take on the Necessary Responsibility

Have Experts You Call On for Your Organization

Be Passionate About Something!

Never Blame, and Always Have a Corrective Plan

Adopt Concept Over Process


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 21   Concept Over Process

What to Expect

What Not to Expect

COP Objectives

COP Origins

What Is a Process-Driven Mindset?

The Role of Technology

Role 1: Storage and Retrieval of Information

Role 2: The Automation of Delivery of Product or Service

Moving from Process Driven to Concept Driven

A Concentric View

A Note About Time

Developing Proactive Solutions

A Warning/Suggestion

COP Is Not About Technology!

Start with the Goal of Business

Understand Your Objective as an Employee

What About Mission Statements?

From Goal to Analysis

Understand the Industry

Understand the Business: The Organization’s Role in Its Industry

Understand the Workflow

Understand the Relationships: Interactions/Dependencies

Workflow Analysis

Project Definition

Myth of Limitation

What If?

Congruencies, Incongruencies, and Omissions


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 22   The Role of Mentoring

Mentor Characteristics

Mentoring Others

What Qualifies Me as a Mentor?

The Role of Mentor Is Not a Power Position

Encourage and Stretch

Point to Other Mentors or Resources


Actions & Ideas

Chapter 23   Financial Control

The Impact of Finances on Career Building

Financial Control Creates Options

Financial Control Is Largely Mental

Money Is a Tool

Debt and Spending

Some Basics of Financial Planning and Stability

Defining a Basic Budget

Defining Your Core Needs

Establishing Your Spending History

Creating Your Budget

Cash Flow Summary: A Weekly Plan


Actions & Ideas



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