This is the first post in a series of monthly advice in association with the Career Collective, a group of professionals who collaborate to provide guidance for job seekers and careerists. This month we advise job seekers on how to make the most of the new year.
A New Year brings new resolutions, and experts in a wide variety of areas offer up their advice for how to have a better life starting this year. My expertise centers on career development, which, in many people’s minds suggests I’d be offering advice on how to land that dream job...or, in this economy, a job! But that’s not what I want to do. Instead, I want to get you thinking about and taking steps to truly manage your career – for the long run.
From what I’ve seen, too many people approach career management and transition from a purely job search perspective. This means they tend to focus on short-term tactics: pull together a resume and cover letter, get business cards, surf the job boards, “apply” for jobs, and attend career fairs and networking events. Goals in this process can often be very limited, and often revolve around getting a position similar to a recent one, but maybe with more responsibility and better pay and working conditions. Well, or so it seems. In fact, without managing your career, you can really get stuck in “same old, same old,” and be looking again.
Of course, adding to the challenge is the fact that the world has changed – and stubbornly continues to do so. For starters, technology has brought big disruptive changes to the way companies get work done – and to the way they source talent. Add to that the competition brought on a deep recession and “jobless” recovery, and you begin to see why using a job search model of change just won’t do.
To succeed in this new environment, you need to have great personal clarity about what you want, what you offer, and who needs to know about it. Said another way, it’s all about cultivating a personal brand and gaining visibility as well as credibility. It also means having the ability to build trust, in communities of shared interest with people who matter to you and for whom you’re relevant!
So, if you want to start this New Year right, start by approaching your career transition as long-term career management. By all means, put together a great resume, and other career communication strategies. Bo only after you invest some effort in taking steps to build a strong foundation for your career; namely:
Consider your longer-term vision. Think big! If you could make a difference for the whole wide world, what would you do? How does that translate to your every–day actions in all parts of your life, generally, and to your career in particular?
Determine what you most love to do. Research the sorts of career opportunities that would emphasize your motivated skills. Also figure out what it is that sets you apart from all the people who seemingly do what you do.
Identify the people you’re most want to work with. Seek out your ideal colleagues and customers, and begin to build relationships with these folks. They are “your people” – members of a community of shared interest who will want to spread he word about what you do – as long as they consider you “one of us.” Find them both locally and in online communities. And be aware that this could mean venturing outside of LinkedIn and into Twitterville!
Be interesting. Read and stay current on ideas that matter to your people, and share freely what you learn and how it applies. As well, read books that help you do a better job of managing your career. (There are lots of great books; however, I recommend starting the year with Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust.)
Be interested. As you connect with others in your field of interest, take an interest in what they have to say, and learn about the problems or challenges they face. Generously provide your perspective and support. This allows you to demonstrate your expertise while building relationships.
Play big but remember the little things. Yes, go out and accomplish great things for the world. But remember, as far as relationships are concerned, it’s the little things. Taking a moment to recognize someone else’s accomplishments, or making sure to introduce people who need to know each other is a great way to build community.
Think about your career transition as job search, and you’ll very likely find yourself going down this path again. So, change the game. Play for long-term career management inside a community of shared interest.
More great advice on this Career Collective January 2010 Topic: Specific tips to help job seekers really ramp up their efforts for the holiday season and the new year. What should they do with their resumes? To improve their networking? Etc. … What ideas do we have to help our readers make the most of what some think is a “slow” season for hiring?
How did members of the Career Collective respond? Follow us on Twitter with our hashtag #careercollective and read these posts:
@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search,
@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Career Trends and Transition 2010
@heathermundell, life@work, Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search
@barbarasafani, Career Solvers, Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball
@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog, The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign
@kat_hansen, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career
@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Help for job seekers in a rut
@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 2010
@DawnBugni, The Write Solution, Ya, but
@ErinKennedyCPRW, Professional Resume Services, Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?
@Chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference
@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?
@debrawheatman, Resumes Done Write, Making the most of a new year
@walterakana, Threshold Consulting, Starting anew – tips for truly managing your career
@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, The Year of the Tiger
@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithIllness.com, Dogs Can Do It, Can You?
@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, Lifelong Learning for Career Security
@AndyInNaples, Career Success, What Are You Getting Better At? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be!
@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, A Flash of the Blindly Obvious