This is another post in a series of monthly advice posts made in association with the Career Collective, a group of professionals who collaborate to provide guidance for job seekers and careerists. The topic for September is “Favorite Resources for Job Seekers.”
Normally, when people ask about resources for job seekers, they mean something that will be useful in helping the job seeker successfully secure new employment. It could be a book, a website, an article, an assessment, a contact management tool, or a networking or professional organization. There are lots of possibilities. And all you need to do is launch your web browser to find them. So, this post isn’t about any of those.
When all is said and done, success in a job search is meeting a short-term objective on a longer journey of career success. So, as I see it, the best resource for a job seeker is his or her own good judgment in making choices that lead to successful career management. Individual choices will be different for everyone. However, there is one common theme: developing the self-knowledge to be able to recognize the right kinds of opportunities, and then exercising the discipline to get out there to meet the people who can help connect you to them.
Frankly, the world of work has undergone epic change. Part of the reason more than fifteen million Americans are out of work is not simply due to economic melt down. No, loss of jobs started well before, when companies realized they should focus on core competencies and outsource everything else. This, of course, was aided and abetted by a global leveling of the playing field, so that work could be shipped anywhere on the planet.
So, the game has changed. Dramatically.
On a fundamental level, your ability to find work is all about making your career your business. This doesn’t necessarily mean starting your own company. But it does involve your readiness to stand up and make dramatically new choices that allow you to make a difference.
One day, Binny Thomas stood up.
She stood up, spoke up, and started doing a new job. She didn’t leave her organization, didn’t even get a new title or new responsibilities. Instead, she started doing her old job in a new way. Binny stopped going to meetings with the goal of finding deniability or problems to avoid. Instead, she started leaning in and seeking out projects where she could make a difference.
Suddenly, Binny was inspired. She was looking for opportunities instead of hiding from blame.
According to Godin, one of the most fundamental shifts in our new economy is the role of self-determination. Conformity is not the path to success; rather, how “… we respond to the opportunities and challenges of the outside world now determines how much the outside world values us.” And this affects both job search and long-term career management.
Aside from reading Godin’s wonderful book as just one step, I can’t think of a single resource that will help you decide when and how to stand up. Yet, if you are looking to find a new job and to run a successful career thereafter, you need to turn to yourself and figure out when and how you can best take charge of your career, and what resources you’re going to need to make that happen.
Cross-posted at William Arruda's Personal Branding Blog