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Does Technology Play a Significant Role in Your Career? - The 11th Characteristic of a Sustainable Career
by Caela Farren, Ph.D., MasteryWorks, Inc.

“To me, this is not the information age. It’s an age of vast promise ...”
— Don Tapscott

Smart and successful careerists leverage their success and well-being through their knowledge of technology.Introduction
Smart organizations have been increasingly using technology to improve employee retention, enhance talent management and raise levels of engagement. For example, self-assessment tools are the cornerstone of career development programs, which allow employees to gauge their interests, personalities, values, skills in order to help them reach their goals and dreams. Online tools measure gaps, track progress, increase self-awareness, develop career goals and help to plan a strategy, while carefully aligning personal goals with institutional culture. See:

Technology also offers careerists a far more expansive landscape of possibilities. Global competition demands individual contributors have broad access to what’s going on in their profession, trade and industry – to see trends and issues that shape their future work and to visit new thinking and new possibilities. Smart and successful careerists leverage their success and well-being through their knowledge of technology. Are you ready to add some simple, but very effective tools, to boost your career skills?

We live in an age where there’s a tool, website, program, course or application for almost anything you’d like to know. You can find the latest thinking in nearly every field through videos, courses, blogs and e-zines. Research has become a dream using multiple search engines to access information on the Internet. The flow of information online is sometimes so overwhelming, Mitchell Kapor described it as, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”

The Value of Technology to Career

We all need to get wired to learning what’s going on in our industry and profession – trends and issues that shape our futures and enrich our skills. Of course, the first step may be to sit down with a good technology consultant and trudge through the mass of apps to put in your toolkit. The tools of technology you carry will separate the successful from the unsuccessful. Technology adds immeasurable possibilities to developing your career. For example, technology provides you with the tools to get your projects and ideas up and running, to improve your communication skills, and increase your visibility and credibility. What questions do you need answered? What problems do you need solved? What challenges are you facing? What do you need to learn to be successful?

You can use technology tools for these six career activities: 1) enriching your skills in your profession; 2) enhancing your learning; 3) fostering efficient work practices; 4) managing and/or participating in projects; 5) improving your communication skills, and 6) augmenting your networking. Examine your own career activities and re-evaluate your most effective technical tools.

Enrich Skills in Your Profession

There are few jobs today that don’t use technology tools in some ways to support work. Salespeople make presentations electronically, using a variety or templates, pricing models, success stories and value proposition models. Customer Service professionals have access to customer profiles, buying practices, up-selling possibilities, scripts for handling conflicts, and other technical job aids. If you find Excel is just not cutting it, try Batchbook to organize your contacts. If you have great customer stories, start video recording them on Youtube. If you want a more robust video hosting tool, go to a bolder platform – Brightcove. Check out the top ten tech tools for your trade or profession.

Enhance Your Learning
Just about anything you want to learn can be found on the web. And, you can usually find learning aids that fit your learning style, whether it’s by videos, lectures, Power Point Presentations, articles, blogs, etc. Today you have access to the best minds in your field, 24/7 that fit your learning style. Examples include TED videos, YouTube, or more exotic tools like, StumbleUpon and Infusionsoft to stay connected to others with the same interests through a variety of campaigns.

If you’re scouring for sites to enhance your learning, there are thousands of search engines on the Internet. Most everyone is acquainted with Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask, but have you used the next five most popular, Teoma, Duck Duck Go, Entire Web, Blekko, Scrub the Web, and Gigablast for those who prefer to go green. Which tools are you using?

Manage or Participate in Projects
In an organization or a team, work is a collaborative effort. Most of us are working with others on one or more projects as part of our jobs. Assuming that everyone has access to a project plan, then your activity updates, timelines, etc. are all critical to effective project management. More and more tools are available for reviews, coordination and deadlines.

Is your virtual team losing time and efficiency because they can’t communicate effectively? Check out Office 365 or Google Apps and start sharing like never before. You’ll find document sharing tools like, Zoho, Sharepoint, Basecamp, Reverb are helpful as well as Mindmeister for brainstorming, project mapping and sharing. Lastly, is another screen sharing service form that has been updated to include new collaborative features.

Improving Communication Skills
Start improving your communication skills with the most basic $30 a month wireless broadband gadget to provide WiFi everywhere you go. Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T providers sell these devices. Hook up with virtual meetings on popular applications such as, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Skype. For one on one conversations, GoogleTalk has voice and video capabilities in your Gmail, iGoogle and orkut chat. WhatsApp is a smartphone app to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Windows Live Messenger is faster than e-mail and more discreet than a phone call. Imo is a web-based service with video and voice chat which allows you to IM your friends with AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, Jabber, and ICQ. Lastly, Linphone and Viber are mobile applications that let you make free phone calls and send text messages to “hangouts” with a maximum of 6 and10 people respectively participating. Are you using any of these tools?

Augment Your Network and Reputation - Social Business Networking
Building strong and supportive business networks is mandatory for successful careers. Choosing the best networking tools is a personal decision. I like LinkedIn. It’s one of the fastest growing professional networking tools that span the six degrees of separation by providing you with contacts of your contacts in your profession and industry. For photo sharing, Instagram is an app for iPhones to quickly share photos with followers.

Among the many things on your busy agenda, you need to research relevant influencers in social and business media. From them, you can learn, connect, utilize their communities, and engage in conversations. You are also expected to advocate your brand, through storytelling and the publication of your professional/niche knowledge.

Unless you want to spend all day, every day consumed in social networks – here are some tools to help you efficiently engage in distributing your ideas and content. Topsy will help you locate important players in your industry and profession by keyword, company name, person or category; exploreB2B for articles within your field that reach a top tier of professionals to help brand your ability as an expert; ScoopIt , a resource for commenting on information of others giving your point of view;. TweetDeck allows you to respond, manage and monitor conversations on Twitter quickly; Tweepi is the Twitter tool that chooses and communicates with influencers that are important to your business goals; Buffer provides your links, quotes, pictures, comments to send Tweets or Facebook or both; and SocialOomph is an automated program to release comments, blogs and photos on social media sites. Social media and business media tools can be mindboggling. Choose them well, but nonetheless choose.

Technology adds immeasurable possibilities to developing your career. We all need to get wired to learning what’s going on in our industry and profession – trends and issues that shape our futures and enrich our skills. This article examines some popular tools to enrich your skills in your profession, to enhance your learning, to foster efficient work practices, to manage and/or participating in projects, to improve your communication skills, and to augment your networking and business media skills.

About the Author
Caela Farren, Ph. D.
, is Founder and President of MasteryWorks, Inc., - a leading Career Development consulting organization offering innovative solutions to large and mid-size companies, including Baylor Health Care, Brown Forman, Northrop Grumman, Reebok, Bayer, Sprint, Sodexo, Sandia National Labs, and CapitalOne. MasteryWorks, Inc., provides enterprise web portals, training, consulting, e-Learning, and an assessment framework for employees and managers. For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Farren has been a passionate leader around complex issues redefining the workplace. She envisioned the current workplace climate fifteen years ago, when she published a cornerstone compendium on career development, “Who’s Running Your Career: Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times” (Bard Press, 1997). Through MasteryWorks, Inc., she oversees solutions that create the foundation for impact-filled “career conversations” - centered on increased contribution, performance, and fit. She is the leading authority of strategic approaches which consistently deliver employee engagement and retention goals for her clients. In her current series, “Facing Changes of the Next Decade,” Dr. Farren describes the most important characteristics of Sustainable Careers.

For more information, contact Tom Karl, Vice President, or call us at (703) 256-5712.

MasteryWorks, Inc.
2230 George C Marshall Drive, Suite 122 Falls Church, Virginia 22043 USA 800-229-5712