Get certified, get F.A.T
Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010
I have over a decade of freelance experience, worked also as a network admin’s assistant while taking my theology degree (yes, theology), and am now a IT production team leader. Yet I have no BS, no certs. HOWEVER I value both the university degree and the cert on anyone’s CV… but I nevertheless fired two electrical engineers who were tech writers for certification training materials because they behaved unprofessionally and had poor work ethics. The CompTIA A+ cert in this manner at least gives the ABCs of professional ethics. The bottom line (in my experience): you may be certified, and have your PhD in IT, HOWEVER… employers want to see that you’re not all certs and degrees, but you have some substance to your character.
All this to say that today, even if you do have all the credentials for a job, you may still not get it if you haven’t acquired the ABCs of team work and ethical behavior. Campus Crusade has a good acronym that describes good people: FAT (Faithful, available, teachable). With slight modifications of terms, and turning its focus from personal growth to a more tech oriented mindset, here’s what the acronym stands for:
– Make sure you come across as Faithful to the company (know the business benefits you bring to the company, think in ROI terms and competitive advantage),
– Convey a clear message that you’re Available for hire or trial period (if looking for a job). Be ready to throw in a challenge at the interview, something like “I am confident your company will greatly benefit from hiring me. You can have me work here for a few weeks at no charge, and see my qualities. I am sure you will want to keep me.” If you’re already employed, be the first to volunteer for a new project even if that may mean overtime and some studying. Companies hire by promoting from within. So when that job post you desire becomes vacant, make yourself the obvious choice.
– And lastly, be Teachable. Show a mindset of a lifetime learner. Show a clear understanding of teamwork and of corporate culture. And stress that you have your qualities, but you are there to strengthen the team, and learn to play according to their rules. Nobody wants a loose cannon, but everybody wants to work with people ready to step up, take a challenge, get the latest cert, or simply be an apprentice to your supervisor.
The guys I fired loved technology, but they werent FAT. They thought that as long as they get the job done they’ll be fine… well, today it’s all about teamwork, and if you’re not a team player somebody out there who is will get your spot.
Definitely get a degree, and get certified. But make sure you’re FAT: know the business benefits you bring, offer to work extra hours if need be for the new project, show a team spirit.
Being only tech savvy won’t cut it any more. We all need to be people savvy also. Get certified, get FAT.