Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will you work to find the right career move?

There numerous life coaches out there in today’s economy who are building their own vernacular around the phrase: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It is true that when the economy is suffering most of us have to work harder to make anywhere near the compensation we were making in better times.

But this is pretty intuitive to all of us, especially those of that are used to working hard to begin with. What is not as intuitive is how to bring that same attitude of mental toughness to career advancement and finding work.

As a headhunter for fifteen years the best candidates were always being sought after. The best candidates never needed to look for work, in fact many of them had not written a resume in years. My job was to try to convince them to leave their current employer and take the position I was retained to fill. I would have candidates call me that were looking, and some were the best in the field, but more often they were not.
Things have changed.

In today’s economy, even top performers are finding that they might have to look for work. They can no longer rely on the headhunters to call.

While it might be come naturally to roll up your sleeves and work harder while you are employed, rolling up your sleeves and taking control of your career when you are looking for work is not natural for most of us.

Welcome to the future of career advancement. It is not moving up within one organization. It is not through the openings that a headhunter calls you on. It is through your own efforts, period. It is taking the same creative, thoughtful, and hardworking approach to your career that you have been using doing your job. And furthermore, the momentum created by this tough economy for people to market themselves will most likely carry over into a better economy. Net Net- everyone that is serious about their career will be building their own marketing department from now on.

Whew!!!!!!!!! This is a new frontier that most of us have never had to encounter UNLESS we have started our own company. How in the world do we do this? Well, fortunately a couple of very smart entrepreneurs in silicon valley started two companies a few years ago that have provided networking tools that can get us started; Spoke, and LinkedIn. These tools have been responsible for many more that are out there now and new ones that are coming down the pike.
Online networks like LinkedIn, Spoke, and Facebook, have given us the template on how to build our own little marketing department. The right creative and active participation in these networks combined with blogging, can help an individual get connected to people and companies that they would not have been able to before.

It is important however that we understand a few things now that we might not have needed to worry about a few years ago. First off, there are a LOT of people participating in these networks and more and more people creating blogs. So while you might be able to get connected to more people, it is not enough to just mindlessly update information on our Facebook and Linked in Pages. We are going to need to be more creative now with content on these sites and in our blogging. Also, connecting the dots between work, recreation, and philanthropy will be even more important than before. What were once disconnected networks will now be important to connect. And finally how we contact and what we communicate to people directly that we want to work with or for, will have a bigger influence in how we stay upwardly mobile.

This whole idea makes sense to most marketing and sales people. It does not make as much sense; sound believable, or even necessary to some that are in more technical fields, especially those that fortunately have not seen their career affected by this recent downturn. The problem with this perspective is that it assumes the future can be gauged on what has happened in the past. It ignores what Nassim Taleb refers to as the Impact of the highly improbable, in his bestseller, “The Black Swan.”

Marketing yourself is hard enough to figure out how to do when you are out of work and almost impossible if you are working a full time job, knowing that you need to find something else. But it can be done and there are new tools available that can help with this process, some of which I will speak about in my next piece entitled, “Forget the resume, build a video pitch.”