In January 2024, the TechFace community embarked on a transformative journey with the launch of the 21-Day Career Advancement Program. Over the course of three weeks, participants were immersed in daily doses of expert advice and actionable tasks, designed to propel their careers to new heights. Today, we’re excited to recap the highlights of this program for those who may have missed out or wish to revisit its valuable insights.
The program covers a spectrum of themes aimed at fostering professional growth.
- Week 1, focuses on self-discovery and laying the groundwork for a fulfilling career. Participants get to establish career goals that resonate with their strengths and values, explore diverse roles within the tech industry and develop a strong personal brand, which serves as a guiding beacon throughout their career journey.
- Week 2 targets practical strategies to optimize job search and networking efforts. Participants learn how to tailor resumes, prepare for technical interviews, and leverage online communities to expand their professional network effectively.
- Finally, Week 3 provides an overview of more advanced strategies for job search enhancement. By seeking mentorship, refining their online presence, and negotiating with confidence, participants equip themselves with the tools necessary to advance their career trajectory.
The program is structured to deliver daily guidance. Each day’s advice is divided into three sections:
- Attention, focusing on defining career priorities,
- Intention, providing strategies to achieve those goals.
- Task, encouraging participants to dedicate up to 30 minutes daily to apply the program’s principles.
Whether you’re looking to kickstart your career journey, refresh your professional mindset, or delve into specific topics, this article serves as a comprehensive resource. Join us as we revisit the program, complete with useful links and insights, to empower you on your career advancement path.
Week 1 - Groundwork for a fulfilling career
Day 1: Define Your Purpose
Attention: This is about directing your focus inward to understand your motivations. Reflect on what truly drives you, both personally and professionally. Ask yourself why you’re in your current role, what aspects you find most fulfilling, and where your passions lie. Think about your career journey, consider moments that sparked genuine excitement or instances where you felt most fulfilled. This could be a specific project, a successful team collaboration, or even overcoming a challenge. Understanding these moments will provide insights into your core motivations.
Intention: Once you have clarity on your motivations, it’s time to actively articulate your career goals. This involves aligning these goals with your values and creating a roadmap that guides your professional path. Be clear about what you want to achieve and how it resonates with your personal values.
Task: Now, it’s time to put your reflections and intentions into action. Take a focused 15 minutes to write down your career goals and values. Craft a concise statement that includes your professional purpose. This becomes a powerful tool guiding your decisions and actions in your career journey.
Research shows that the act of documenting your goals, actions, and progress increases your likelihood of achieving your objectives by 33%.
Be specific about where you see yourself, what impact you want to make, and why. Integrate your values into this statement, making it a compass for your professional choices.
Remember, this process is dynamic, and it’s okay to revisit and refine your goals as you grow personally and professionally. Keep this statement in a visible place to stay connected to your purpose.
Day 2: Recognise Tech’s Diversity
Attention: Immerse yourself in the dynamic world of the tech industry, where innovation knows no bounds. Take a moment to think about the vast array of opportunities waiting to be discovered, each representing a unique facet of this ever-evolving field. Which area could you think of that would interest you, no matter if you have any experience or not?
Intention: Set your sights on a broader horizon as you intentionally seek to expand your perspective. Move beyond the conventional tech landscape and open your mind to diverse roles that resonate with your skills and passions. For example, consider roles like IT project management, where your leadership skills can shine, or explore the realm of tech journalism, leveraging your communication prowess to bridge the gap between tech and the wider audience.
Task: Let’s turn intention into action! Allocate 15 minutes to delve into the expansive realm of non-coding tech roles. You can use this list to get you started. Whether it’s exploring cybersecurity, data analysis, or user experience design, cast a wide net. Create a list of three roles that captivate your interest and hold the potential to redefine your tech journey. For instance, you might find excitement in roles like AI ethics consultant, blending your passion for technology with a commitment to ethical considerations. Your path to a more diversified and fulfilling career starts now!
Day 3: Stay Ahead of Trends
Attention: Paying attention to emerging technologies and industry trends is crucial. This involves actively monitoring developments, innovations, and changes within the tech landscape. Stay informed about new tools, methodologies, and breakthroughs that could impact your role in the tech industry.
Intention: Your intention should be geared towards continuous learning and skill adaptation to keep up with the latest trends and developments. It means proactively dedicating time and effort to understand how the evolving tech demands intersect with your career goals. Set clear goals to stay ahead for personal and professional development.
Task: Create specific tasks that are manageable and aligned with your goals. For example, subscribing to a tech news source or newsletter and spending 10 minutes daily skimming through the latest industry trends is a concrete and achievable task.
Day 4: Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Attention: Cultivating a mindset of continuous learning involves actively seeking knowledge and staying open to new ideas. It’s about maintaining curiosity and a hunger for growth, acknowledging that the learning journey is ongoing and ever evolving.
In a recent study on Chilean 10th-grade students, researchers looked at how their attitudes affected their performance in the national test. They discovered that students with a growth mindset were three times more likely to score in the top 20%.
This effectively highlights the importance of mindset in determining success.
Intention: Demonstrate adaptability and a steadfast commitment to personal and professional growth. This means making a conscious decision to proactively engage in skill development, signalling to yourself and others that you are dedicated to staying relevant in the dynamic landscape of your field.
Task: Think about a skill that you would like to learn but never found the time to get started. Spend 20 minutes researching online courses, tutorials, or resources that cater to your current skill level and learning style. Set aside time on a regular basis (e.g. weekly 30 minutes) and block the time in your agenda for the next 3 months. This not only kickstarts your learning journey but also showcases your proactive approach to acquiring the skills necessary for your desired role. Remember, small, consistent steps lead to significant progress over time.
Day 5. Highlight Transferable Skills
Attention: In this step, your focus is on recognizing and highlighting skills from your past experiences that can seamlessly transfer to the tech industry or other roles. Think broadly and identify those versatile skills that can make you stand out.
Intention: Intend to showcase how your skills from previous experiences are applicable to the tech industry, even if you’re transitioning from a different field. It is important to communicate how these transferable skills are not just relevant but essential to a role or industry.
A study in the UK found that on average 74% of the of employers prioritised transferable skills equal to or above technical skills when recruiting new employees.
Craft a narrative that bridges the gap between your previous experiences and the new role, emphasizing the value you bring.
Task: List three skills from your previous experiences that you believe are transferable to a tech role. Incorporate these into your resume.
Day 6: Develop a Skills Portfolio
Attention: In the context of creating a portfolio, you are focusing on showcasing your projects and achievements. It involves selecting and highlighting the most impactful aspects of your work that you want to draw attention to.
Intention: The purpose behind creating the portfolio is a clear goal you have in mind – in this case, to provide tangible evidence of your skills. Your intention is to present a compelling case for your capabilities and to demonstrate the real-world impact of your contributions.
Task: Allocate 30 minutes to kickstart the process of creating a digital portfolio. This involves getting started on the layout, choosing the projects to feature, and beginning to craft concise and impactful descriptions for each project. Remember to include outcomes to showcase the results of your efforts.
Throughout the year, you can keep on working on your portfolio and start creating a website or update your LinkedIn profile with your skill portfolio.
Day 7: Craft Your Personal Brand
Attention: To develop a strong online presence, focus on creating content and engaging with your audience and focus on one main platform you want to use. Share insights, articles, and updates related to topics you are knowledgeable or interested in. Leverage other social media channels to amplify your message and connect with like-minded individuals and organizations.
Intention: When intending to reflect your passion and commitment to a topic in your personal brand, ensure that your online presence is consistent and authentic. Craft your messages in a way that resonates with your audience and showcases your dedication to driving change in the tech industry. Share personal stories, achievements, and experiences that highlight your journey and values.
Task: Spend 30 minutes updating your LinkedIn profile by adding a concise yet impactful headline. For example, you could use a headline like “Tech Enthusiast | Ethic Advocate | Use AI for good”. This not only communicates your commitment but also makes your profile stand out. Additionally, update your summary to briefly highlight key accomplishments, projects, and goals related to your career goals. If writing isn’t your forte, you can leverage AI tools to help you – check these Chat GPT prompts to help you update your Linkedin profile. Regularly revisit and refresh your profile to keep it relevant and engaging.
Week 2 - Job Search and Networking Efforts
Day 8: Network Strategically
Attention: Building meaningful connections within the tech industry, it’s crucial to focus on establishing genuine relationships with individuals who share your passion for the tech topics and areas you are interested in. This involves actively seeking out opportunities to engage with like-minded professionals, thought leaders, and influencers who have a wealth of experience and expertise.
Intention: With the clear intention of gaining valuable insights, advice, and potential job opportunities, immerse yourself in various networking events. Actively participate in both in-person and online gatherings to broaden your network. By doing so, you’ll not only stay informed about the latest industry trends but also position yourself for growth and collaboration.
Task: Take a proactive approach by identifying a specific upcoming tech networking event or online forum. Register for the event and create a plan to attend with a focused mindset. Your task is to connect with at least two professionals who align with your vision to expand your opportunities in this area. This could involve researching speakers, reaching out to attendees in advance, and maximizing your presence during the event to foster meaningful connections. Remember, quality connections often lead to new opportunities and perspectives within the tech landscape, in fact,
a study revealed that in 2022, 54% of surveyed individuals were hired via a referral.
So, increase your chances, show up and stay connected.
Day 9: Utilize Job Search Platforms
Attention: When searching for jobs, make sure to focus your attention on specific resources that meet your needs. In this case, leveraging specialized job boards ensures you are targeting platforms that are likely to have opportunities aligned with your goals, such as specific tech topics, industries or work forms (e.g. remote, part-time, etc.).
Intention: In the context of a job search, your intention is to align your efforts with companies that share your purpose as you have defined in day one. By tailoring your searches to include organizations known for their dedication to your values, you increase the likelihood of finding a workplace where your goals align with the company’s mission.
Task: In this scenario, your task is to spend 15 minutes exploring job listings on a specialized tech job board. During this time, focus on identifying two companies that resonate with your values and demonstrate a commitment to employees. Note down relevant information about these companies to use it for your application and future interactions with potential employers.
Did you know, that TechFace has a Job Board where we post jobs of companies committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in their tech teams? Check out the latest job posts here.
Day 10: Assess Company Culture
Attention: Company culture plays a pivotal role in shaping your work experience. A positive culture fosters collaboration, innovation, and personal growth. It’s not just about the job; it’s about feeling supported, motivated, and valued.
A recent study found that 73% of professionals survey have left an otherwise satisfactory job, because of a poor cultural fit.
So, paying attention to company culture aligns with your goal of transforming your career advancements.
Intention: Craft your job search with a focus on aligning your personal values with a company’s stated principles. Look for clues about how they prioritize their employees, their growth and involvement in their work environment. This will help you understand the potential for a fulfilling and enduring professional relationship.
Task: Identify a company that interests you or choose your current employer. Set aside 15 minutes to explore Kununu, LinkedIn, any other Social Media Channel and the company’s official website. Read employee reviews for insights into their experiences. Look for articles or blog posts related to their company culture. Take note of recurring themes or patterns that provide a glimpse into the company’s culture and think about, if they align with your value and purpose (check back to day one of the program).
Did you know, that TechFace helps companies to understand their culture better and expose their mission, vision and values to our members? Check out some of our company profiles here.
Day 11: Tailor Your Resume
Attention: Customizing your resume for each application is crucial because it captures the employer’s attention by demonstrating your sincere interest in the specific role. Tailoring your resume shows that you’ve invested time and effort to align your skills and experiences with the company’s needs, making you a more appealing candidate.
Intention: Your intention should be to not only stand out in the competitive tech landscape but also to convey a genuine commitment to the specific area you have expertise in or want to pursue. By highlighting experiences that reflect these values, you signal to employers that you are not just a candidate; you are an advocate for these skills and expertise in the tech industry.
Task: To practice tailoring your resume for your next application, go back to the task of Day 2 where you had to list three roles that captivated your interest. Search for one open position on the job board you explored in Day 9 for this or similar roles. Spend 20min to tailor your resume to this role, no matter if you have all the relevant experience you need or not. Think about, how would you apply and how could you stand out.
*Bonus task: Go back to your Day 4 task: which skill have you elected to acquire in the coming months? By crafting your resume for roles that captivate you and align with your values and purpose, you will discover the skills and expertise essential for securing your desired position. Modify your learning objectives if you identify additional skills more related to your dream job!
Day 12: Craft Targeted Cover Letters
Attention: Capturing the companies attention could help to pass the first step in the process when applying to jobs. Writing personalized cover letters that speak directly to the core of the company’s needs and culture are essential. By tailoring your application, you show not only that you’ve done your homework but also that you’re genuinely invested in the opportunity. A cover letter can be the deciding factor in securing an interview or being passed over.
Nearly half of hiring managers acknowledge that a compelling cover letter has persuaded them to consider candidates with less impressive resumes. Conversely, 18% of hiring managers admit to dismissing applicants solely based on the weakness of their cover letters.
Intention: Expressing genuine interest through your cover letter turns on a spotlight, illuminating your passion for the role and the company. This isn’t just about ticking off requirements; it’s about aligning your skills and values with the organization’s mission. Your intention should resonate in every sentence, creating a narrative that goes beyond qualifications to showcase your commitment to making a meaningful impact.
Task: Dedicate a focused 20 minutes to draft a cover letter for the job you have tailored your resume for in the task of Day 11. Dive into the company’s mission, understand their values, and let that knowledge shape your words. Highlight not just what you bring to the table, but how your unique skills and expertise align seamlessly with what the organization stands for. Make sure you don’t repeat what is written in your resume, go behind and talk about your values and purpose aligning with the companies goals.
Day 13: Master the Art of Storytelling
Attention: Your professional journey is the cornerstone of your personal brand. Narrating it not only captivates your audience but also establishes a connection. By telling a compelling story that draws attention to your skills and experiences, you set the stage for your contributions to tech, the career you would like to pursue and the company you are applying.
Intention: Crafting compelling stories is not just about recounting events; it’s about showcasing your achievements, resilience in overcoming challenges, and unwavering passion for fostering knowledge, skills and experience in the specific area you are or want to become an expert. The intention is to weave these elements seamlessly, leaving a lasting impression on your audience.
Task: Imagine a challenging project where your skills and expertise played a pivotal role. Detail the hurdles faced, strategies applied, and the ultimate success achieved. Craft a brief, engaging story that encapsulates the essence of your journey in promoting diversity in tech. Find a friend or family member you can practice sharing it in under two minutes. Ask for feedback, did the story resonates effectively and leaves a lasting impact on the person?
Day 14: Prepare for Technical Interviews
Attention: In technical but other also other interviews, the hiring managers goal is not to get the correct result from you, but understand how you think and work. Coding challenges and technical interview questions sharpens your mind and enhances your problem-solving abilities. It’s about channeling your cognitive resources towards refining the skills crucial for success in the tech domain.
Intention: By intending to sharpen your problem-solving skills, you set a clear purpose. It’s not just about going through the motions but about cultivating a mindset of continuous improvement. This mindset acts as your compass, guiding you towards confidence and competence in the dynamic landscape of tech and any other interviews.
Task: Dedicate a focused 30 minutes to solving a coding challenge specific to your target role (if you are not looking for a tech job, select a question your interviewer might ask). This task isn’t just a checkbox; it’s a deliberate effort to bridge the gap between where you are and where you aim to be. Practice explaining your thought process, honing not just technical skills but also communication – a vital aspect often overlooked in the tech world.
For coding challenges and interview questions, check out these blog posts: fullstack.cafe, freecode.camp, hackerrank.com, themuse, hbr.org.
Week 3 - Advanced strategies for job search
Day 15: Follow Up Effectively
Attention: To boost your professional presence successfully, the key lies in capturing attention through personalized follow-up emails. This practice ensures you stay on the radar and leave a lasting impression.
According to a survey by TopResume, 68% of hiring managers and recruiters said that not receiving a thank you email from a candidate after the interview impacted their decision making process.
Intention: In your replies, radiate gratitude and genuine enthusiasm. Make it crystal clear that you appreciate the opportunity, emphasizing your eagerness to contribute positively. Reinforce your commitment to the cause, be it a job opportunity or a networking event, and convey your professionalism throughout.
Task: Imagine you successfully completed the interview on day 14. Invest a focused 15 minutes in crafting a follow-up email that strikes the perfect balance of appreciation and enthusiasm. Tailor it to the specifics of the interaction, expressing sincere thanks and reiterating your keen interest in the opportunity. You can make up the content based on previous experiences.
Bonus task: Personalize your thank-you email by mentioning a topic or shared interest that you and your interviewer connected on during your discussion.
Day 16: Participate in Tech Communities
Attention: Boost career opportunities, learn from others and find out who is hiring by expanding your professional network beyond your usual reach. By doing so, you’ll immerse yourself in the latest industry trends and build connections with like-minded professionals.
Intention: Make a conscious effort to contribute meaningfully to discussions, showcasing your expertise and perspectives. Intentions should include gaining valuable insights, sharing your knowledge, and enhancing your visibility within the tech community.
Task: Take immediate action by joining an online tech forum or one of the many tech communities. Introduce yourself, highlighting your interest and expertise focused on the topic of the community. Engage in a relevant discussion for at least 20 minutes, demonstrating your commitment to learning more about the tech industry. This proactive approach will solidify your presence and impact within the community.
Did you know, that you can find all the female tech communities and their upcoming events on our website? Visit the TechFace events website or sign up for the #wetechtogether newsletter for regular updates.
Day 17: Seek Mentorship
Attention: Establishing connections with seasoned professionals who’ve walked the path you aspire to tread is a great way to step up in your career. It’s about forming meaningful relationships within the tech community but also grow your horizon. And it is not only about you learning from your mentor, this is an opportunity for a mentor to get another perspective.
It is no wonder that 100% of U.S. Fortune 50 companies have mentoring programs.
Intention: Your intention revolves around more than just networking; it’s about seeking mentorship to gain valuable insights and guidance. You aim to tap into their wealth of experience, using it as a compass to navigate challenges and propel your career forward in the tech industry.
Task: Take a targeted approach to identify one experienced professional in the tech sector whose journey aligns with your aspirations. Craft a concise yet thoughtful message expressing genuine interest in their knowledge and experience. If you don’t want to ask if they want to be their mentor, you can simply follow them on LinkedIn or ask to meet for a coffee. Be open in showcasing how their advice and guidance is empowering you and can contribute to your mission of driving your career progress.
Did you know, that TechFace has a Mentor Matching? Find out more and sign up to find a mentor here.
Day 18: Attend Career Fairs
Attention: Boost your visibility in the tech industry by actively participating in specialized career fairs dedicated to tech. These events draw the attention of key players and offer an excellent platform to showcase your expertise.
Intention: When engaging with recruiters at these fairs, make it your intention to stand out. Directly interact with them, emphasizing your genuine passion for pursuing a career in the tech sector. Craft a compelling narrative that leaves a lasting impression, showcasing your commitment to driving positive change.
Task: Kickstart the process by researching and identifying an upcoming tech career fair. Take the proactive step of registering for the event. As part of your preparation, create a concise yet impactful introduction that highlights your dedication to tech or the industry you are looking for. This approach will not only capture attention but also align with your overarching values and purpose you defined on day 1. Check out the Women’s Contact-Day Romandie, organised by Talendo, and stay tuned for their Zurich edition.
Day 19: Optimize Your Online Presence
Attention: In the dynamic environment of tech, grabbing attention at first sight is key. Cultivate a compelling online presence across platforms, with a consistent and engaging profile. Leverage LinkedIn to forge connections, ensuring your digital footprint reflects your commitment to a successful career in tech.
Intention: Move beyond passive consumption. Intentionally engage with the tech community by commenting thoughtfully on relevant content and sharing valuable insights. This not only underscores your dedication to what you would like to achieve in your career but also positions you as an active participant in the ongoing dialogue.
Task: Allocate 20 minutes to proactively build your network. Identify five compelling LinkedIn profiles aligning with your mission. Follow them, and take the extra step to reach out to at least one individual. This personal touch fosters connections, amplifying your influence in the pursuit of finding your place in the tech industry.
Take a look at these 10 women in tech to follow in Switzerland, to spark some inspiration.
Day 20: Negotiate with Confidence
Attention: When entering a negotiation, focus on capturing the other party’s attention by highlighting your skills, achievements, and unique qualities that make you stand out in the tech industry. Use compelling anecdotes or statistics to reinforce your impact and grab their interest. Ensure you provide a basis and be clear about how you can fulfill the tasks of the role beyond their expectations.
Intention: Approach the negotiation with the clear intention of confidently articulating your value. Emphasize the diverse perspectives and contributions you bring to the table, highlighting how these aspects enrich the role you are applying for. Make it known that your goal is not just personal gain but also to contribute to the team and the company to reach the company’s goals.
Task: Research the average salaries for your desired role in your specific location. Identify key negotiation points, such as your unique skill set, relevant experiences, and any additional value you can bring to the company. Spend at least 15 minutes organizing this information into a structured list to guide your negotiation strategy. This preparation will empower you to assertively communicate and advocate for fair compensation.
*Bonust task: Did you know that top-ranked universities offer free courses for individuals like yourself? Take a look at this Introduction to Negotiation course from Yale University to kickstart your learning journey!
Day 21: Build your support network
Congratulations – you completed the program successfully! And with this last day, I want to share my very personal advice with you.
Attention: In the fast-paced world of tech, capturing attention is crucial. For me, it means laser-focusing on building a robust support network within the industry. I aim to connect with individuals who are equally passionate about diversity and inclusion in tech, creating a community that fosters growth and mutual support.
Intention: I seek to read up valuable insights and guidance from like-minded professionals. By sharing our passion for tech and our commitment to diversity, the intention is to form strong connections that go beyond the surface. Emotionally supportive relationships can provide the fuel needed to navigate the challenges and triumphs in the dynamic tech landscape.
Task: So this is what I recommend you to do to start building your own support network. Commit to identifying and reaching out to two individuals within your professional network on a at least weekly basis. These individuals should either have experience in the role you are interested in or share a genuine interest in the topic. The goal is to express your eagerness to build a supportive professional relationship, leveraging collective wisdom and camaraderie to support each other along the way. Be sure you make it clear that this brings mutual benefit.
Don’t forget to join our Slack channel, a place where you can find a community to share your success, ask questions and support.
As of today, you have built a strong framework that will help you advance in your career in 2024 and beyond. You can always come back to specific tasks if you are stuck or need support. Make sure you revisit what you have written down on a regular basis to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish and that you already have all the knowledge, expertise and tools to do so.
As you move forward, remember that your journey doesn’t end here. The skills, insights, and connections you’ve gained during this program will continue to serve you well in 2024 and beyond. Stay committed to your goals, remain open to learning and growth, and never hesitate to reach out for support when needed.
On behalf of the TechFace community, I encourage you to embrace the opportunities that await and continue striving for excellence in your career. Together, we can shape a future where diversity thrives, innovation flourishes, and success knows no bounds.
Thank you for being part of this incredible journey. Here’s to your continued success and fulfilment in the dynamic world of tech!