Online Ambition

Online AmbitionOnline Ambition is a great project run by Edinburgh Napier University, brought to my attention by the comment that Ella Taylor-Smith left on another post.

The aim of the project is to bring together young people, their parents and advisors to discuss using the web to enhance careers, rather than hinder them!

This will involve a range of different issues, such as digital CVs, using social media for profile and reputation building, and managing online profiles to ensure potential employers don’t get the wrong idea about you.

I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of using online networks to develop a career. If it weren’t for this blog, I’d still be stuck doing an administrative job in a council somewhere.

The first event is on April 11th in Edinburgh, with Ella and her colleagues, as well as Tim Davies. Here’s the flyer (PDF warning).

It will be great to see how the event goes, and this is something I can see being very successful across the UK.

Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants

I love stuff like this.

Nick CNick Charney works in government in Canada, and is also a prolific and excellent blogger. He’s also pretty active on GovLoop, which is where I first came across him I think. Anyway, follow his stuff.

Nick has just published an ebook called Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants which is great reading.

It’s “a tactical guide for any public servant looking to make an impact. It offers practical advice on how to be innovative in the public service while managing your relationships and reputation.” Awesome!

I have embedded the document below, or for those whose employers don’t trust them, here’s the direct PDF download.

I mentioned to Nick that the style reminded me a little of Colin McKay’s wonderful (even after 3 years!) Secret Guide to Social Media in Large Organizations – and it turns out that document helped inspire Nick to write his guide. Good stuff.

Careers 2.0

Two strangely related things happened last week. The second one was Dominic Campbell‘s post, “Exciting times” in which he describes the progress he has made over the last few years, and how odd – and amazing – the whole thing is.

Suddenly I am attending Chief Executive only gigs to talk about how technology and the web can help local government both understand and deliver on the needs of the people it is there to support. Suddently I am invited to sit on the Practitioners Advisory Board of INLOGOV to help support their research and thinking around the future shape of local government (in the building next door to my old school in a weird twist of fate!). Suddenly we have the opportunity to put on CityCamp London (thanks to our amazing supporters) to bring together some amazing brains to consider the future of London and what role technology can play in reshaping both society and state in making it an ever better world class city to live and work in.

Dominic has done – and is doing – some amazing things. He’s built himself a huge reputation, not just here in the UK but also in the States, for innovative thinking about public services and where technology fits in.

I could never claim to have the same influence or impact that Dom has. But our careers over the last few years have some parallels – we both built reputations using online tools and by being committed to sharing what we know, as both a means to help practitioners get things done, and as a means of building business relationships.

This leads in nicely to the first thing I wanted to mention, which was at the beginning of last week, when Luke Harvey at the DWP invited me to talk to a bunch of technology in business fast streamers about my career, and some of my views on technology in government.

It must have been a weird careers talk. The profound oddness, just as Dominic describes in his post, of being pretty much nobody, but by writing a blog and slavishly updating Twitter, building a reputation and a career where people respect and act upon what you say. Sometimes they even give you money!

Here’s the slides from my talk. They are the usual mixture of well-worn jokes and ephemera. My honest advice for anyone working in and around government who wants to give their career a kick start would be to start blogging and to get networking on Twitter. Be helpful. Give stuff away. Always be positive. Make things happen. You never know where you’ll end up.

Come work at Learning Pool!

I’ve had a great time since joining the team at Learning Pool. It’s a forward thinking company with lots of ideas, jokes and abuse bouncing around the whole time.

If you’re looking for a new job, why not consider taking a look at some of our current vacancies? They are all based in Derry, in Northern Ireland – the UK’s capital of culture in 2013!

All the links above are to PDFs with the details. If you fancy applying, bear in mind Mary’s helpful hints for people going for jobs at LP.

My main one piece of advice: it helps to love what you do when you work here.