Making a Name for Yourself

The key points of my talk “Making a Name for Yourself” at the Toronto College of Technology on March 14, 2009 were:

1. Build on your strengths. Identify your passions and skills inside and outside the classroom, and figure out how to get even better at them.
2. Be flexible and create options. Look outside large IT companies, and even outside the IT industry.
3. Change the game. Create new opportunities for yourself.

1. Focus on others. Look for opportunities to help other people.
2. Make it easy to help you. Have a strong introduction (best-test-focus: start with a brief description of what you’re good at, a concrete example of how that benefited someone else, and a question that puts the focus back on the other person and how you can help them). Bring business cards. Carry a notebook and pen, or a PDA, or some other way to take notes. Have a web presence on social networks, or your own professional website/blog.
3. Ask. Many people enjoy helping. Ask for help and reach out. Find mentors. Ask everyone.

Here are some of the resources I mentioned:

Toronto Geek Events calendar – for finding interesting tech-related events

Love is the Killer App
By Tim Sanders

What Color is Your Parachute?
By Richard Nelson Bolles
Published by Ten Speed Press

Make Your Contacts Count
By Anne Baber, Lynne Waymon
Published by AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2007

How to Talk to Anyone
By Leil Lowndes
Published by McGraw Hill Professional, 2003

One Pingback/Trackback

  • I just wanted to take a moment to express my sincerest appreciation for you coming to speak to our students at Toronto College of Technology. You are an incredibly unique and gifted individual and an excellent speaker. Your talk was extremely helpful to our students and all feedback from your session has been very positive. I was consider myself very fortunate that I, along with our students, had the privilege to hear you share your experiences, understanding and unique perspective on this subject matter; you have provoked a lot of thought and reflection on how we go about differentiating ourselves and “Making a name for ourselves” in this challenging job market. I have learned so much since I have had the pleasure to become acquainted with you–thank you! I know our students look forward to further interaction with you, as do I. Again thanks for giving of yourself to make a difference in a lot of people’s lives!

  • Thank you for the opportunity to think about these things and to share what I’ve been learning! Two of your students have already contacted me to ask for more specific advice, and I’ve introduced one of them to a project manager who answered his questions for the informational interview. I love helping people connect the dots, so keep them coming!

    If you could post this as a LinkedIn testimonial as well, that would be awesome. =D That way, you can help me show other people in my network and yours the kinds of things I can help them with, too!

    I’ll e-mail the people who gave me their evaluation forms today. They might be interested in my post about passive networking, which I initially started thinking about for an upcoming IBM networking event, but which turns out to be more broadly useful. =)

  • D. Chan

    Hello PMP classmates,

    Recently, I talked with three project managers on PMP course and the prospect of the Project Manager job market. The following is the summary of their feedbacks that I would like to share with you.

    1) Is PMP designation a must to land a Project Manager job?
    Answer: PMP is recommended but not needed for most job postings at the moment. However, more and more companies are requesting it.

    2) What kind of training is required for Project Managers?
    Answer: Industry related training, e.g. manufacturing, financial, etc. People skills trainings are nice.

    3) Which college provides the best PMP program?
    Answer: There is no preference.
    The 3 days program is for the PM with extensive project management experience.
    The 3 months program is for the ones who had some project management experience.
    The 2 years program is for ones without project management experience at all.

    4) What experience is required?
    Answer: 5 to 8 years progressive Project management experience. And the project management experience must be related. It does not help if it is not related to the industry that you are applying for.

    5) How is the project manager job market at the moment?
    Answer: IT project management is not good at the moment.
    However the prospects for the other industries are fair.

    Good luck with your course and job hunting.

    D. Chan.

  • Pingback: sacha chua :: enterprise 2.0 consultant, storyteller, geek » Advice to IT students: Learning to love what you might hate right now()

  • Rene Tse

    I want to tell u that your blog is so incredible, many of your blog post helps those in need reach a goal that might be out of their reach. Your writing style is not one where you come across judgemental either. You have a lot of compassion. Perhaps I need to follow you, you make a great model many who calls themselves geeks can not really connect with humans and you can for sure. I wanted to also share if I may this may not be for audience but for folks who don’t want to learn html, php or css but want to use drupal. Thanks for allowing me to comment on your website

    Rene Tse

    * Drupal Home Study – Drupal Smart Beginners

    * Drupal For Newbie Secrets – The Method

    (UPDATE: Sacha here. Next time you comment, please comment as a person, not your website. =) )