Is there still room for growth after 24 years in the tech industry? Kevin Lawver, CTO of Planted and co-founder of techSAV, shares his insights on how to become your own best advocate and how goal setting ensures you keep progressing in your career.
If your career is just getting started, Lawver suggests finding a mentor in the tech community and work on building your network. 60% of jobs come from relationships. Look for volunteer opportunities so that potential employers get a sense of your work ethic and how you communicate. Ask questions. Seek advice. Invite contacts to coffee or lunch to inquire about future or current job openings. Consider each connection an opening towards getting your resume past the online robots.
Once you enter the workforce, set career goals with intrinsic value. Lawver notes,
“Compete only with past you or else you’ll run out of motivation competing with everyone else. However, don’t be afraid to point out your contributions. The people you work for might not remember your progress so you have to advocate for yourself.”
Lawver also recommends to always be on the lookout and open to opportunities. Stay current with what is in demand and keep your resume up to date. It’s okay to move on when you realize you are no longer progressing. Just remember not to burn bridges. You may need references down the road or want to work with them again.
On burnout, Lawver says you have 3 options: change it, accept it, or eject. “Once you realize your own power to change the situation, it will get better.” He states, “Quitting is always an option, but knowing when and how to do it is an art.”
REMEMBER burnout + exhaustion = bad decisions
What’s next in Lawver’s career? Now that he has twice reached CTO status of a startup, he is working on keeping a beginner’s mind. He says, “Embrace not knowing while sharing everything you know.”
Kevin Lawver is CTO @ Planted, Aspiring Social Capitalist & half of the Human API for Savannah’s Startups and Tech Community.