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  • IT professionals, we want to share some important information with you. Remember how hard you worked to get into a good college and earn your degree? Well, guess what? It may not help you land that perfect tech job. At least, that's the impression given by a recent survey from Robert Half Technology. The findings reveal that the vast majority of CIOs value skills and experience more than the college degree earned, and a notable share say they care very little about the name recognition of the university an applicant attended. "A quality education provides the foundation, but IT employers want to see evidence of practical application of that knowledge," says John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Job candidates with real-world IT experience can jump in and start contributing without a long ramp-up period, making them appealing to employers." To shed more insight on the topic, we're also including a list of best practices (also from Robert Half) for impressing a CIO during the recruitment process. More than 2,400 U.S. CIOs took part in the research.

  • Significant numbers of IT workers are continuing to see a surge in demand for their skills, according to a recent survey from TEKsystems. In fact, the average tech professional is receiving dozens of job queries a week. This doesn't mean, however, that these employees are charting an easy path to a perfect position. In fact, most IT leaders feel that the majority of résumés received come from unqualified applicants, so there's clearly a skills gap. In addition, even promising candidates with the right skills may be hurting themselves by limiting their search efforts to job boards. "The ways in which IT professionals seek and are evaluated for job openings continue to evolve," says Jason Hayman, market research manager for TEKsystems. "Job seekers who do not adapt and adopt emerging tools like social media to identify appropriate opportunities will find it much more difficult to stay competitive with their peers. While job boards are still an important part of any job search, an over-reliance on them not only limits the pool of positions that candidates can apply for, but also decreases the likelihood of finding opportunities that are truly a good fit for an applicant's skills, experience and personality." More than 400 North American IT leaders and 900 tech professionals took part in the research.

  • There's a lot more to football than simply tossing the pigskin and dealing with countless on-field collisions. Though the sport does demand a high degree of athletic skill and a knack for "getting physical" with opponents, there are many intriguing dynamics that keep us fascinated with the game. They include the way organizational practices translate into success on the gridiron. It's not a coincidence that standout players and coaches are highly sought as motivational speakers for business audiences. After all, their experiences and insights are readily applicable to the modern workplace. For example, they can discuss in-depth the value of relentless focus, preparation, resiliency, emotional "fire" and in-game analysis, among other transferable qualities. Keep in mind that football players benefit as much from marathon planning and film sessions as they do from gym workouts and team scrimmages. And they remain devoted to professional self-improvement in order to be at their best when it matters most: game time. So, with a new football season upon us, we're presenting these seven lessons that you can apply to yourself and your team at the office.

  • While the need for cyber-security professionals may outweigh supply, it's important to remember that several IT skills and personality traits are transferable.

  • A majority of hiring managers and HR professionals say they have caught applicants in a lie on their résumé, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. And many of these employers say the incidents are increasing. Unfortunately, IT ranks third in the list of industries in which such deception is frequent, beat out only by financial services and leisure/hospitality in the first and second spots, respectively. There's a lot at stake when a professional lies on a résumé. Most hirers say that a résumé lie will automatically eliminate an applicant from consideration. "Trust is very important in professional relationships," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "By lying on your résumé, you breach that trust from the very outset. If you want to enhance your résumé, it's better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your résumé doesn't necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate." To offer a lighter side to this topic, we're also including some outrageous résumé lies that CareerBuilder compiled. Nearly 2,190 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research.

  • Toxic co-workers arrive in all shapes and forms. There are the passive-aggressive types, the pathological liars and, of course, the bullies. If you think bullies can be found only in schoolyards, think again: As many as one-third of professionals are victims of workplace bullying, and 20 percent of these incidents cross the line into harassment, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Managers and team leaders must take control of these situations because bullying and other harmful office behaviors can lead to employee stress, absenteeism, low productivity and high turnover—not to mention the failure of key projects. Some incidents might even lead to lawsuits. To provide some guidance about how to handle difficult employees, we present the following nine best practices. They are adapted from a range of online resources, including the "Leadership Freak" blog and AllBusiness.com. Combined, they underscore the importance of approaching potentially destructive workers with the same kind of strategic planning that you put into a major business undertaking. The goal is to ensure that these employees have minimal negative impact on other staff, as well as business outcomes.

  • In today's topsy-turvy digital world, no concept goes unexplored. One of the more interesting wrinkles on the innovation front? Enterprises turning to citizen developers to spur innovation and fill key skill gaps. According to Gartner, employees outside the IT department now write 25 percent of new business apps. This community is increasingly in demand and is of growing value to enterprises as they attempt to stay ahead of competitors and the marketplace. Recognizing this trend, IBM has conducted a global study titled: "Raising the Game: The IBM Business Tech Trends Report." Among other things, it found that 80 percent of leading enterprises are forming new partnerships with citizen developers to close the skills gap for application development. This approach drives greater collaboration and innovation across key cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies, the study reports. Interestingly, these initiatives take many forms, including hackathons, application challenges, contests, crowdsourcing projects, cooperating with academia and open-source Websites that serve as repositories for code. Here's a look at what some organizations are doing.

  • There's no script for employees to follow that will guarantee career success, but there are certain rules of thumb that bode well for a rewarding, long-term career. For example, it's essential to exercise sound, business-focused judgment and earn a reputation as someone who can be trusted to deliver as promised. It's also important to convey a sense of professionalism and to treat people with respect. Unfortunately, too many employees lack a key quality or two, and they sometimes pay a steep price, as thousands of people are fired every day. In many cases, there are obvious reasons for these terminations, such as ineptitude or dishonesty, but other career-killers are more subtle. With this in mind, we offer the following 11 traits and actions that can sink your career. Not all will result in a pink slip, but each could stall or derail upward mobility. These missteps were adapted from a number of online resources, including those compiled by MakeItHappenNow.org, a site that offers career-advancement advice to professionals, and Monster.com, an online job search and career advice site.

  • In a recent feature, we presented 10 IT certifications that result in top-paying technology jobs. Earning one of these certifications, however, doesn't necessarily guarantee a lucrative, long-term career. To build on success over decades, tech employees must also develop soft skills—interpersonal qualities such as leadership and the ability to work well with others. Clearly, they're not to be taken lightly: Ninety-three percent of employers consider a job candidate's demonstrated soft skills as being more important than their undergraduate major, according to research. Your personality and people skills—along with your ability to communicate, negotiate and lead—will dictate 85 percent of your financial success. In addition, one in five employers cite soft skills as a top reason for not hiring someone, and two-thirds of HR managers indicate they'd hire applicants with strong soft skills even if their technology skills were lacking. Have we convinced you? If so, then you'll want to take a look at the following list of 11 crucial soft skills for tech professionals. They demonstrate that soft skills are a direct reflection of your ability to shine as a team member and leader. Our list was adapted from a number of online resources, including BeMyCareerCoach.com and LiveCareer.com.

  • It wasn't that long ago that the CIO's place in the C-suite was questioned, and the role was marginalized by other executives who felt CIOs should just focus on software and hardware. Well, that attitude is nothing compared to the beating chief information security officers (CISOs) take in a recent survey conducted by ThreatTrack Security. The security vendor surveyed more than 200 C-level executives this summer, and the findings indicate that information security leaders have some work to do if they want to earn the respect of their C-level peers. Responding executives made it clear that they do not view CISOs as equals, and they sometimes even blame CISOs for undermining the bottom line. "CISOs are often viewed simply as convenient scapegoats in the event of a headline-grabbing data breach, and they are significantly undervalued for the work they do every day to keep corporate data secure," says Julian Waits, Sr., CEO of ThreatTrack. "This perception needs to change, as CISOs—and the teams that work with them—should be viewed as drivers for business protection and growth." ThreatTrack offers some suggestions for CISOs who want to enhance their image in their company. Among these: Formalize your role; develop and communicate a strong security strategy; forge strong relationships with other C-level execs; and focus on the economic impact of risk and develop metrics that illustrate the financial impact of security efforts.

  • A new report shows that job cuts in technology in the first six months of 2014 are close to the total reached for all of 2013—and could surpass it by year's end.

  • By virtually any standard, Pope Francis has become a beloved and effective world leader. He lives in a modest guesthouse instead of the Apostolic Palace. He wears the same cross he wore when he was a cardinal. And he gave up the famed Mercedes-Benz Popemobile in favor of a 30-year-old Renault. More important, his words and actions have gained favor with a broad range of global citizens, regardless of their faith. The book Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis (Amacom/available in September) frames the life and accomplishments of the pope in the context of today's business environment. Author Jeffrey Krames explains how the pope's humble yet candid approach can be easily adopted by business leaders who need to engage their staff in order to effectively accomplish organizational goals. While Pope Francis is a very likeable figure, history will ultimately evaluate him based on what he accomplishes. The following nine takeaways for IT team leaders are adapted from the lessons highlighted in the book. Krames is CEO and president of JK Literary Services, a publishing and literary agency specializing in leadership, management and business books.

  • The vast majority of U.S. employees queried in a recent survey from CareerBuilder said they aren't earning what they deserve. Most of us, of course, would prefer to make more money. However, these findings demonstrate that professionals' resentment toward their employer could escalate if they conclude that they're constantly being asked to produce more with less, while making less than they should be making. Interestingly, there's apparently a difference between earning what you'd like to make and how much you need to feel successful. This reflects prior survey results Baseline presented that indicate that today's employees are considering alternatives to compensation—such as compelling assignments, flexible schedules and telecommuting options—as job rewards. "Success is relative to the type of work individuals do or their current career stage," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "This is healthy because it shows workers can derive meaning from their work at any level, while still striving for that next promotion or raise." The survey also sheds light on the percent of companies that openly disclose staff salaries and how this practice is perceived. More than 3,370 full-time workers and nearly 2,190 hiring managers and HR professionals took part in the research.

  • Have you always considered yourself management material, but are still waiting for that elusive promotion? It's a universal challenge for employees: Many professionals want to move into management, but there are obviously only so many of those positions available. And organizations need to be circumspect when it comes to making such promotions, especially when you consider the fact that four out of five people who become managers turn out to be wrong for the position, according to industry research. Clearly, if you do get that promotion, you want to be ready for the job. So you may want to read Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders (HarperCollins/available in September). This book provides concrete, actionable guidelines to help you attain a management position—and excel at it. Author Lindsey Pollak positions the book for Gen Y readers, but her advice on presentations, social media, project leadership and professional presence applies to a broad range of demographics. What's key is to understand that to be considered for career advancement, you have to go beyond simply doing your job well. You also have to inspire others to perform better at their jobs. The following nine takeaways were adapted from Pollak's book. She is a speaker and consultant who specializes in career topics for Millennials.

  • If you want to go to a U.S. region where IT career opportunities are on the fast track, head south. The top three states for technology job growth and newly created IT positions are all from that region, rather than from traditional tech meccas such as California, according to recently released research from Dice.com. Surprisingly, the Golden State doesn't even make the following top 10 list of states with growth in IT jobs. And the No. 1 overall state names here also ranks as having the second-largest total workforce of technology professionals (behind California), thanks to a surge of economic development in niches such as mobile, big data and software development, according to the Dice.com findings. But if the South's relatively low cost of living and perpetually warm climate doesn't interest you, don't worry: We've also included high-growth states in the West, North and Midwest. Dice.com is an online jobs and career community for tech professionals. The research was compiled primarily through data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.