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Editor’s Note: Develop Yourself

Sure, it’s often a bit less hectic in the summer—but you’re still in the office. This is a good time to focus on advancing your career.

Lafe Low

With the feverish pace of IT—working with your business users to resolve technical issues, examining new technologies and simply keeping the lights on—there’s precious little time left for career development. Now let’s have a show of hands: Who doesn’t want to advance their career? That’s what I thought. Well, during the sultry days of summer, when things slow down a little bit as people cycle through their vacations, it’s the perfect time to reflect, plan and move ahead with your career development.

Where to start? You’ll have to come to grips with the fact that you’re ultimately going to have to do something that IT guys typically don’t like to do: blow your own horn. You’ll have to be your own advocate. You’ll have to ensure that your superiors—whether they’re above you on the IT food chain or business unit leaders—know what you have done and what you continue to do for the company.

In his career development piece, “Bulletproof Your IT Career,” our IT business writer Romi Mahajan recommends two simultaneous courses of action: invest in constant growth and development, and make yourself indispensable to an organization in any of a variety of positions. It’s sound advice: invest your time, energy and passion in your career and yourself. It may take time, but it’s bound to pay off. And making yourself indispensable to your organization is always a good tack to take, for IT or any job function.

You’ll have to assess where you are and where you want to be, devise and execute on a plan to get there, and, along the way—every step of the way—you’re going to have to be your own best PR guy. You’ll have to bang the drum and blow your own horn. No one else is going to tell your superiors how indispensable you are. That’s entirely up to you.

For a pep talk on being your own best advocate, check out “Develop Your Brand,” by Jay and Maggie Jessup. This is extracted from their recent book “Fame 101” (Sutton Hart Press, 2010). They’ll give you all the steps you need—and a healthy dose of encouragement and inspiration—for making sure the right people know the right things about you. Then you’re truly on your way.

Up, Up and Away

While you’re focusing on improving and accelerating your career (and hopefully TechNet Magazine can help) take a moment and help us do the same. TechNet Magazine aims to be a staunch ally of IT:  We support everything you do and want to help you do it better. If there’s something else you need from us, please give us your feedback. Sign up for our LinkedIn group, send us an e-mail at tnmag@microsoft.com or e-mail me directly at the address below.

Lafe Low
Lafe Low is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s Redmond magazine.