Career Management Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Posted on March 6, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Consulting/Contracting, Job Market Trends, Job Promotion, Job Search Tips, Personal Branding, Resumes |

Career AdvancementIn the world of work, there may be nothing more complicated and potentially as painful as career management today.

Things used to be more simple. Either you put your nose to the grind and worked your way up the corporate ladder with one employer (or certainly no more than a few) or you tossed your basic resume out into the warm waters of the job search world that picked candidates from a more local, less global, pool. And generally, it was more of a “when” and “which” opportunity panned out for you than an “if” situation. If you didn’t burn too many bridges, built the right credentials, and earned a strong reputation, your career kind of managed itself.

You didn’t have to keep up with hiring trends or compete with candidates halfway around the world. And you most certainly didn’t  have to “always be prepared” for a job search that was around, statistically speaking, every 3-4-year corner.

Today, that is the market many professionals are facing…whether they know it or not…and the idea of constantly being in “job search mode” is, well, tiring, if not down right painful.

But it doesn’t have to hurt!

When people ask me what’s good about the job market today, I tell them that the market is ripe with opportunity for those who are prepared…all the time. These are people who understand that the market is not waiting for them or that the next job they land is going to be their last. They don’t necessarily always want to be looking, but they do want to be ready.

My tech clients who are doing this are without a doubt having the most success. In fact, the market is welcoming them with open arms.

So, does this make them more ambitious than everyone else? No.

Are they more job market savvy? No.

Are they younger? No!

They are just willing to accept the market for the way that it is.

The other piece these types of clients have is an understanding that career management is really a team effort in today’s market. They look at their careers in much the same way an entrepreneur looks at his or her company. They recognize that they need to decide where their strengths are and then outsource the rest.

They understand that they need to focus on becoming better at their fields of industry and can’t keep up with the latest in resumes, social media, personal branding, hiring practices, social recruiting, mobile recruiting, etc. So they build a team to help them do that, much in the same way you would look to retirement, accounting, or insurance advice.

Once they have this team in place, then it only requires basic maintenance throughout the year while their team members do the rest. Annual resume and regular LinkedIn profile updates, social media support, and personal branding assessments along with career coaching and basic trends summaries keep them at the ready without requiring major overhauls and painful realizations that they aren’t ready to go for that promotion or walk away from that current engagement.

Sadly, though, too many professionals are stuck in the old market mindset…good things will just come their way if they work hard and think positively and career management is a solo effort largely guided by chance. They want to toss out all thoughts of the unpleasant job searches they’ve been through in the past, and they don’t want to even think about the fact that they might have to go through it again.

Listen. All of these feelings are understandable, but unfortunately, they aren’t wise in today’s world of work.

It’s becoming more and more expensive to conduct a search, and all signs indicate that the cost will only continue to rise, particularly for the unprepared, which will be a painful pill to swallow when the time comes.

And pretty soon there will be an even larger gap between those who have kept themselves prepared and those who have tried to look the other way.

It won’t be enough to have the right credentials anymore. Now you will need to present the right package as well.

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