Reading TechRepublic helps you learn more about current technologies. But did you know that becoming an active TechRepublic member might help you land your next job? It worked for John Sitek. In this article, we’ll tell you how Sitek combined his military background with his experience as a TechRepublic member to land his dream job with a major defense contractor.

Retired Master Sergeant Sitek began his involvement with TechRepublic as a frequent visitor, often posting comments to a variety of articles. He was inspired to join conversations among IT pros at TechRepublic because, after visiting other IT sites, he was frustrated with the level of experience and education some people thought was adequate for IT project managers.

“I found that TechRepublic spoke to IT [project] managers in another light, one that recognized that not everyone off the street was cut out to be in charge of an IT endeavor—software or hardware,” Sitek said. “This realization also seems to be hitting corporate America a bit just about now.”

Customers just want the job done, and they don’t care who does it or how it’s done, he said, chiding those who put project management form over function.

“After browsing TechRepublic, I saw that it presented a reasonable forum to contribute my own philosophies and style of management, and a means of illustrating the human aspect of dealing with projects,” Sitek said.

A TechRepublic editor noticed the insightful comments Sitek had posted and invited him to write an article for TechRepublic. During the last six months, Sitek has written several articles about projects he managed while in the U.S. Air Force.

Turning experience into a new career
Sitek brings 25 years of technology skills to his writing for TechRepublic. When he retired from the military and decided to pursue a civilian career, he showed his resume and his TechRepublic articles to potential employers. He included his articles to illustrate his IT knowledge.

“I know quite a few IT managers and project managers, and I don’t know many below the CIO level that are published in their field,” Sitek said, adding that this distinction alone caught the attention of many HR recruiters. “Bells go off and the resume gets pushed upstairs,” he said.

And that’s what happened after Sitek applied for a job with a major defense contractor.

Sitek completed a technical interview and then met his future boss, who was so impressed with Sitek’s credentials that he wanted to put him on the payroll right away, even before the contract’s start date. Sitek’s status as a published author, his military experience, and his master’s degree helped his new boss achieve that goal.

“He began to form his plan. He was able to tick off the justifications without pause—that authorship in my field of expertise meant that I was an expert,” Sitek said. “Prospective employers looked at it this way: I was a published expert who could easily work as a consultant. They wanted to hire me before I got away.”

In addition, Sitek said that his writing samples also helped him increase his salary during negotiations with his new employer.

Being published seemed to have the same effect everywhere he applied, he said. He stood out in the crowd because of this one accomplishment.

“I postured myself well beyond any entry-level project management position. I wanted my own program to run in an operational environment,” Sitek said. “Without exception, each person who interviewed me was astounded that they were talking to a published writer. One person actually had read one of my articles and remembered it. He pushed me on up to the next higher echelon and said he looked forward to having me on the team.”
Do you have something special or different in your professional past that seems to stand out when you go for an interview? Do you have a way of distinguishing your resume from the others in the pile? Start a discussion below or send us a note.