As I continue to work and travel throughout the Asia Pacific region I constantly gain incredible insight in the work culture and business practices.  Following-up with my last blog, I want to introduce David dela Cruz, a passionate and driven Cisco account manager based out of New Zealand, and share his story.

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Over the past five years, I've blogged about my experiences with Cisco from a US perspective and considering that many of my readers have come from the APAC region, I'm happy to be able to share dela Cruz's story.

David's circumstances are unique, but very relevant as career transitions go.  You see, prior to joining Cisco, he was working as a recruiter in APAC.  Working in this environment gave him incredible insight in the IT industry and after some time, he realized it was the direction he wanted to take his own career.

As many of you look to enter or grow in IT, you can learn a lot from David’s journey and observations.  Driven by his enthusiasm to be in IT, he landed a Cisco contract gig in Australia and 6 months later; he found himself in a permanent sales role in New Zealand.  This remarkable timeline shows how much can achieve if you put your heart soul and mind to it.

Given David’s background as a former recruiter, I asked him what challenges he’s observed in the industry.  With his former recruiter hat on, he mentioned that hiring managers don't often see skills as being "transferrable" and I would have to agree with that.  Especially in high-profile jobs, hiring managers often can't afford to take some risks even if there is some skill overlap.  Still, those that are given chances can see growth in the individual and opportunities for the company.  David mentions he finds IT as being circular and went from selling recruiting services to selling IT (Cisco) which leveraged many of these transferrable skills.  Such moves are quite common in project management roles, but I don't come across them much in other verticals.  Considering that many managers don't acknowledge transferrable skills – the greater need to pursue certification.

Another challenge that dela Cruz points out revolves around expectations.  From both a new hire's and employer's perspective the expectations of what a career is to look like differ greatly.  Joining a company, one might think they're going to take on the world and grow very fast – while the employer expects the new hire might take on admin work while learning the ropes.  These types of challenges can easily be overcome with clear communications and setting the right level of expectations.

Similarly to other countries, ANZ hiring managers often want people with experience and David recommends seeking internships and volunteer work for charities.  This is an area I truly believe in – not only for gaining experience, but also making a positive impact in society.

I want to thank David for his time, wish him the best as he continues growing in his career and highlight some of his points.

  1. Knowing that employers don't always value transferrable skills, focus on relevant certifications
  2. Focus on selling yourself and how your skills directly relate to opportunities you pursue
  3. Be clear on your expectations and ask questions regarding career growth
  4. Consider internships and volunteer opportunities that can give you experience

How does dela Cruz's experience match yours? What do you currently see as challenges? What challenges do you see in the market?  I look forward to hearing from you and if you have questions regarding a specific country, lemme know.