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January 12, 2015

Take Ownership of Your Career

Everyone’s career comes in different shapes and patters according to their own work life goals. Variables come in to play at different stages. How would you categorize your career today and as you look into the near future? Are you actively looking for a job without a current job? Are you keeping an eye open to new consulting opportunities? To power up your career in 2015 you must possess some kind of hunger for change, career improvement, and advancement within or outside of your company. I asked two nationally recognized career experts for insight here.

Take-Ownership-of-your-career

Change and adaption to change continues to be the order of the day in the career universe.

Do you feel you need to be looking hard for a new job because the current position you have is not ideal or that something has changed that’s now motivating you to look? Are you ready for a change? In 2015 you must adapt to move forward and it has more to do with proactive management of your career than ever before. Luck will help but don’t depend on luck or even your own company to help you manage your career. Luck should not drive an ambitious person’s career path. Focused planning, goal setting and a keen awareness of the challenges facing your career must come into play whether you are in search or just actively wanting to progress in your career. Whether you are an executive or just a very serious career focused person you need to keep in mind some of the new trends and ideas that will shape your career in 2015. I’ve asked two career experts, authors and fellow career coaches to supply five top strategies to consider as you look at progressing your career in 2015.

Vision the Future (of Your Targeted Area)

Most people in career transition or trying to advance in their career don’t think of themselves as influencers. That needs to change. If you have not you must listen to your career industries top influencers and think through the issues they raise regardless of the field. Get to know the people, organizations and thoughts that push through the conventional wisdom.

– In the macro picture of jobs and career here are some key influence areas:

– There will be increasing demand for people with knowledge of the cloud and big data analytics of social media.

– There will be growth in jobs supporting alternative education options such as online courseware and more customized education tools for        those who choose to homeschool or select an alternative to a traditional four-year college education.

– Growth in computer animation/simulation used in entertainment industry as well as companies looking for virtual simulations of their products/inventory like realtors will continue.

– Jobs focused on wallet-less solutions for the large sector of people who don’t use traditional banking will thrive. Jobs to support the aging population will grow. For example, home health care workers, nurses with specialty in geriatrics and more. But these are just a few macro trends.

Most importantly, what are the trends in your business, your field and your area of expertise? Start big and ask the tough questions. What are the trends in Accounting, Medical, Healthcare, Sales, or Marketing? Now drill down. What are the trends in your specific niche in these areas?

 

Ignore and Be Sloppy on Social Media (at your own peril)

Whether you’re actively looking for a new job and work social media will continue to be a prominent force in job search, career propulsion, hiring and recruiting. Ignore it at your peril.

If you already are active on social media but unsure about your strategy, consider these tips. Rein in negativity and focus on optimistic, value-focused posts.

This does not mean being consistently Pollyanna-ish; it’s okay to offer firm assertions on vital topics, but keep the overall angle positive, encouraging and hopeful, ultimately. You need to not just show what you know but focus on meaningful ideas and cross-promote others. Careerists, centered on exemplifying and extending a value-add ‘brand’ must also knit into their messages their ability to offer solutions to problems vs. just adding to the clutter of complaints. The art of adding positive contributions to your field, your colleagues, your industry and to those you want to influence will be your challenge in 2015.

 

Use Social Media as Business Media

Forums for this kind of behavior can be on any of the social media exchange centers most principally Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others. Also, a missing link for many who are in career search or wanting to become a more active social media brand builder is to focus on adding content to industry blogs, newsletters and many of your industry publications. But sloppily over posting on personal issues and agendas can hurt you, your career, your consultancy and business.

But even if you don’t want to participate in social media use it as a listening device. Log in, watch, aggregate information, accumulate career-advancing ideas and facts, connect with key decision-makers in your field. Follow companies, people and information. Study, interact and above all build relationships with people who can help you and who you can help. An often overlooked and not talked about career strategy at all phases of your career is to remember social media can be utilized as a listening and interaction tool.

 

Rank Your Targeted Career Environments (Locally, Regionally, Nationally, Globally)

Many executive clients and people in transition want to get the next best job. But to shape your future stop looking for a job, a career step and start studying the kinds of environments that are most productive. Are you location specific? Then you need to study and focus on the 50 Best Places to Work locally. But don’t just stop there. Always create a list of the best places tow work for you regionally, nationally and internationally. Why? Find out about the companies that treat their people the best and are highly interested in creating positive work environments.

As well, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are platforms where individuals often articulate their pleasure, or displeasure with specific companies. Moreover, thousands of companies are represented on LinkedIn either through company pages or individuals’ profiles. What companies enjoy the best work environments, reputations and atmospheres that best fit you?

A savvy careerist will keep apprised of organizations and company reputations by tracking these sites for insights and trends. Talk to people who work at the best places. Take the reins of what company you align yourself with in your next job. Consider culture, work-life balance, opportunities to advance, whether the company rewards its employees for performance, whether they offer opportunities for individual growth or their focus is solely on teams, and so on.

 

Embrace Career Volatility and Competitiveness

The jobs and consulting climate still is highly competitive and the economy volatile…but business is BACK! Now, more than ever, is the time for careerists to not only prove their value, but to also articulate how and why they do what they do so well to solve companies’ pain points. You can’t stand still or rest on your past accomplishments if you have a job. You must articulate how your most current work and metrics can drive a new company or organization forward if you are looking for a job. Today’s ambitious careerist, consultant or job seeker must create a consistent pattern of LinkedIn content and a combination of documents that prove his or her worth to any party.

Are you in a career search for a new company or trying to win new business as a consultant? You must prove you can drive revenue and reduce costs or improve operations. Are you trying to rise at your current organization? You must prove through metrics your value and continue to take on new challenges or you face replacement. Don’t ever think this: I have a secure job. You may have a secure job at the moment but you only have today. You should think this way: I must continue to prove my worth through specifics every day, week and month I am employed. Yes, the job market for ambitious professionals demands this type of attitude. It also demands that you back up what you say with artifacts, evidence and metrics that prove your value proposition.

 

Capture and Build Metrics That Separate You

Remember it does not matter if you are in sales, marketing or other metric-measured types of roles. Are you a Vice President of anything? Do you want to play a significant role in any organization? Then you need to begin fastening your experience to proven results and metrics. Even if you are a person returning to work you need to prove that you can perform and articulate your skills into experiences that a company values.

You simply cannot overlook these results-driven self-marketing ideas. How do you accumulate this evidence based brand-building work? With the help of a career coach you should capture this information in a number of forums. Some examples of where content can be captured are: Linked In, PDFs, non-confidential files, recommendations, Excel, PowerPoint presentations, articles, blog content, video capture, and more.

What title do you hold now? What job do you want to have? What career ambitions are you pursuing in 2015? Do you play a significant person in a non-profit, are you a nurse, a medical director, an operations executive? It matters not. Every move you make must be to build, capture and promote how you can help others or accomplish goals. Push yourself. Opportunities abound for careerists to not only survive, but to thrive. You must think like a marketer and sell yourself and the advantages of hiring YOU.

 

 

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