by Sean Millichamp, 2012 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year
Greetings fellow Red Hat Certified Professionals! Red Hat is once again taking your submissions for selection of the Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year for 2014. It was nearly two years ago that I began working on my submission for RHCP of the Year for 2012. If you are thinking about submitting here are some tips to keep in mind while writing your submission:
1) Stay on topic. You only have 500 words to sell yourself to the panel making the selection at Red Hat. Focus on how you have used Red Hat technologies and, in particular, your Red Hat Certifications. Keep it concise. Be sure to double check the word count before submitting. The original draft of my submission was nearly 1,000 words – getting it whittled down to 500 was the hardest part.
2) Make it interesting. Tell a story, make it a great one. This can be hard to do in 500 words, but if you remember to stay on topic and do some careful editing you can succeed in both. Write it like you are applying for a highly sought after job and you need to stand out from the competition.
3) Don’t sell yourself short. Unless you have been in IT only a short while there is likely something cool/fun/awesome that you have done at work. If those things intersect with your use of Red Hat technologies and products (and hopefully they do!), tell about it! Also, remember to highlight anything you’ve done with the open source community (e.g. patches, documentation, bug triage, advocacy, LUG presentations), even if it seems minor.
4) Write it as if you expect to win. I didn’t think I had a real chance of winning but I still was careful not to write anything which would have been inappropriate or unwise to publish to the world. Red Hat will publish your submission if they pick it. Some companies are sensitive to certain types of information being published (e.g. server count, number and/or location of datacenters, etc.) – keep in mind your industry and company’s policies and make sure you don’t include anything which might cause you trouble.
5) Remember the purpose. Never forget this for what it is: a marketing opportunity – for you, for Red Hat (and, in particular, their Certification program), and quite possibly for your current employer. Focus on the successes, not the failures. No one at Red Hat is going to want to select something for publishing/marketing that puts you, or them, or their customers (such as your employer) in a bad light.
6) Read the prior winning submissions. Red Hat saw something they liked in each of those submissions that had it stand out from the rest that year. Read them to find out what worked in prior years, use that for ideas on where you can look in your career for inspiration.
7) Get it reviewed. Have someone else review your submission for grammar, flow, and content. You may want to get a couple of people to review it – I would recommend having at least one person in IT and one person not in IT review it. Depending on if/how you mention your current employer, you might even want to have someone from your marketing department give it a quick review to make sure they don’t object to anything you’ve said ending up published.
8) Keep trying. Don’t get discouraged if you write a great submission and it isn’t picked. They can only pick one. You can always tweak it and resubmit it next year.
I can’t encourage you enough to write a submission and take a chance at winning. The whole experience is fantastic, both personally and professionally. If you’ve never been to the Red Hat Summit, getting the opportunity to go for free is worth it – it’s a great conference. Being RHCP of the Year might help you convince your boss you really are deserving of that next promotion, or help your resume stand out next time you are in the job market. Best of all, it’s a great way to meet some amazing folks in Red Hat’s Training and Certification program and others throughout Red Hat. The visibility I got within Red Hat as RHCP of the Year is the reason I was recently invited to participate in the planning of the first Michigan Red Hat Enterprise User Group.
Good luck to everyone. I intend to be in San Francisco for the Red Hat Summit this April and I look forward to meeting the 2014 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year then – maybe it’ll be you!
SUBMIT YOUR STORY: Ready to tell us why you should be an RHCP of the Year?
Red Hat is now accepting submissions for the 2014 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year. The award recognizes a current Red Hat Certified Professionals who demonstrates ingenuity, hard work, and expertise.
All submissions require a brief summary (500 words or less) of how you have used your Red Hat Certified skills to enhance your IT environment, increase system performance, tighten system security, and deliver results for your organization. Extra points for creativity and innovation!
The winner will receive a free trip to the 2014 Red Hat Summit conference, including flight, conference pass, and hotel accommodation. The winner will also be recognized during the Innovation Hour at Summit.
Submissions are open through February 28, 2014.
Submit your entry today. redhat.com/summit/awards/rhcp
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