This summer, I was informed that my position was eliminated. And, with that, six years at a Fortune 500 company ended in a matter of minutes. In an instant I was a statistic and a product of today’s economy. Though I have always considered myself to be in the AV industry, the realization of being the “AV guy” in a non AV company came crashing down on me harder than a stack of VHS tapes.
Prior to my six-year stay with my previous employer I moved around like many others in our industry. Every time I entered a new opportunity it was to take on a new or different role. At the core was my AV background, mixed with a splash telecom and a hint of IT. This mixed bag of tricks has helped me craft a resume that is diverse and unique. The skills I have picked up along the way have helped me craft a resume that is rooted in Education but spirals into all facets of the AV world. I have been an install tech, inside sales, major accounts manager, project manager, and inside tech for a large company. Each opportunity has provided me with a skill set and lessons learned to move to the next position.
My college degree is a communications major with a concentration in broadcast and radio from William Paterson University. My college coursework provided me with an opportunity to work hands-on in a studio setting on campus. During my junior year, I was fortunate to land a technology internship with the NY Giants football team. While most internship involved photocopies and coffee runs, I got a chance to work hands-on with the technology team. I learned very important skills that I could not learn in the classroom.
Fast-forward 12 years. As I review my resume I can now see that I am considered an experienced professional who has been building a resume from various roles and opportunities. I have added various certifications to my resume that includes InfoComm CTS certification. I also have a host of certifications from various manufactures Crestron, Extron, Clearone, Chief, Revolabs, and Tandberg. What may set me apart are the certifications I perused while working at a larger non AV company as an AV technology specialist. Those certifications include Six Sigma training (streamlining processes) and its associated Yellow Belt Dale Carnegie training (customer interaction), and formal classroom training in project management.
This past summer I was faced with a situation in which rumors of corporate restructuring were circulating. Unlike many people who buried their head in the sand I would like to think I was proactive. Approximately 10-12 months before the rumors even started I began to read up on social media. I made a decision to invest some time into social media as a way to begin reach out my small network of contacts. I decided to create a LinkedIn account was a good way to get my resume online. I created it with very little knowledge of the site and where I could take this. I worked on it daily, slowly at first, but I chipped away every day at. I made it a priority to spend some time and connect with former coworkers, friends and hopefully make new contacts along the way. I began tweeting to the #AVtweeps on Twitter daily. #AVtweeps is the hashtag used in twitter by audiovisual professionals. So what started as an online resume eventually developed into a social media plan that now included networking and micro-blogging.
Within a few months I connected with AV Helpdesk (AVH) via the InfoComm job site and Linkedin. I responded to an opportunity that lead to conversations about AV technology and the state of the industry. Social media came into the conversation when we discussed our common contacts on LinkedIn. Not only did we connect with common contacts we also had many of the same ideas of how to improve on existing services and technology. It was obvious to me that AVH was a good fit.
Here's my advice for folks reinventing themselves or just staying relevant: Create your online presence and work to develop a social media plan. Did it work for me? You can be the judge. In the meantime, I have interesting technology to design and customers who want it.
Christopher Neto, CTS, is a consultant with AV Helpdesk Inc., a firm specializing in all aspects of AV design, engineering, project management, and programming. He is also an active member of InfoComm, its membership committee, and various councils. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter at @Chris_neto.