How to Take the Career Leap in 2016

It’s a month into the new year, but it’s not too late to start something new, keep moving towards your dream or shift your focus to a new opportunity. You’ve got ideas, dreams, passions and experiences you want to share, now is the time.

Here are some tips to help you prepare your mind and get your ducks in a row to make that next big move:

1. Start With Your Career Branding

Personal branding is how you connect the dots between who you are and what you do.  What messages are you sending? Are you saying you want to work in tech without technical skills? Are you wishing for a company culture that doesn’t exist in your industry? Are you eliminating potential opportunities because you are tailoring your search to meet popular buzzwords?

Double-check your LinkedIn and other social media accounts and make sure you’re not sending mixed messages. Don’t forget to share what you’re looking for, the network you’re trying to cultivate and the opportunities you would like to get involved in.

2. Touch Up Your Professional Documentation

Your professional portfolio communicates what your skills are, what valuable experience you have and what diversity you bring to the table. It definitely can’t help you if it’s outdated or missing information. It’s time to touch-up your resume and other documents.

You need to make sure to keep a short bio, long bio, headshot, resume or CV, cover letter, business cards or contact cards in your back pocket. If you’re looking for a new job, invest in some contact cards that describe what you’re looking for instead of the job or career you’re in now. If you’re looking to start a new business or start consulting, start with a business canvas to build a foundation.



3. Join some motivating and compelling groups

Preparation and materials without action will get you nowhere. Now that you have the materials it’s time to build the network and potential team for your new journey. Your network and personal board of advisors (mentors, sponsors & champions) will help motivate you when you can’t do it yourself.

Like-minded people may give you the feedback you need to validate those ideas, applications and projects that you’ve been sitting on. Join some meetups, attend some free or low-cost events at organizations you like and have some meals with new people that inspire you. DC Tech Meetup, DC Careerists and Women Who Code are some great ones in DC.

4. Invest in Professional/Personal Development

You are key to every idea, plan and project you’re thinking about. If you’re looking to change industries or careers, focus on an immersive experience. Don’t be afraid to dive in. You’re not the first person and won’t be the last to learn a new skill. 

Take a free class, attend a workshop at your local university, join a study group or book club exploring the content around your new industry or career. You’re likely to realize you love it or hate it, without wasting time in a “dead-end” job. Classes at General Assembly and The Iron Yard are always a wealth of information. Hackathons and hack nights are great places to learn and test new technical skills. 



5. Be Ready and Open to Leap

Chances are if you’ve told yourself it’s time and you done the prep work, the time is now. Whether it’s an idea you want to pitch, a solution to a common problem, a skill you’ve always had but never used or a compelling passion. If you don’t jump, you’ll never know where you’ll land.

If you see a job you feel matches your qualifications, apply. If you hear about a project you can volunteer for, do it. When you hear about a hackathon or opportunity to pitch your idea, do it. Leap and don’t look back.

It can be intimidating, but remember you are your own worst critic. Start moving beyond the limits you put on yourself and if you get stuck, Generation-Next is always here to help.

In-Demand Skills for Getting Hired in 2016

It’s a new year and new skills are top of mind. If you’re looking to brush up your knowledge or dive into something new this year, a career in tech is the journey most traveled.

Some of highest demanded skills in 2015 that are carrying-over into 2016 are in the tech sector.

According to LinkedIn’s Hottest Skills of 2015 on LinkedIn United States, 22 of the top 25 skills are tech. Cloud and distributed computing took the number one spot while mobile development and user interface design came in the number 3 and 7 spots respectively.

If tech has always meant development, this list will surprise you with mobile development coming in third and language specific development making the list beyond the top ten.


Some of these skills have been “hot” for the last few years and show no signs of cooling down because of the qualified tech professional supply “shortage.”

Robert Half Technology predicts the demand and supply imbalance in IT hiring is likely to continue in 2016.

That should be motivation to know the jobs are out there. With demand being so high, there is opportunities for junior, mid-level and senior level technology professionals.

According to Robert Half Technology’s 2016 Salary Guide, ASP, C#, Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby on Rails, virtualization skills and Windows 7 skills are top technical skills in demand from employers.

Beyond the skill baseline, employers are looking for well-rounded qualified candidates with a diverse mix of soft and technical skills.

Communication, problem-solving, collaboration, team-oriented and creative tops Robert Half Technology’s list of soft-skill attributes.

With skyrocketing demand and opportunities galore, if you’re looking to work in tech, now is a great time to explore your options.

If you know someone who is diverse, skilled and is looking to make a move into tech or to a great new company, don’t hesitate to refer them to us.