In my conversation with one of CareerPro Inc.’s close associates and a Board of Advisor member Dana Gower we talked about the new world of work. This new world (to most of us over 21 years old) holds some very interesting and counter intuitive twists to the conventional job search wisdom. As a multi-year human resources professional and combined financial entrepreneur, Mr. Gower’s insight, ideas and advice always ring true to the career advancer. Aspects of our conversation and my summary of the thoughts we shared are below.
Job Search/Career Management
Today’s job market is continuously evolving and undergoing drastic changes driven mostly by technology, LinkedIn and social media changes. How do we keep up with these never-ending alterations and interruptions as some see them? The answer? There may be more than one. But we know it is imperative for you to keep up and stay informed with the ever-changing technology landscape whether you are in technology as a career or not. We are all immensely impacted. It’s not about looking at the right now and merely trying to adapt but you need to be looking into the future, even 5-10 years in advance.
Treat Social Media Like Business Media
Facebook hasn’t even been around for a decade but it rocked the entire foundation of the business world today. It fueled the usage of social media by igniting the flame for dozens and dozens of sites of the similar caliber to follow. While Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are all relatively new sites, business professionals are already taking courses to learn how to utilize them since they already have such a large presence in today’s landscape. What are the most important aspect of these sites to today’s advancing careerist? Look most closely at the business relevance of the sites and how business, industry, non-profits, start-ups and large corporations use these vehicles. Start engineering your social media and your digital brand toward engagement and business not just social sharing.
Plug and Play
In today’s landscape, a corporation can plug someone into a job position tomorrow with little to no training. The key to being plugged in is simply to stay current. Loyalty is no longer the determining factor in the course of your career. Adaptability is now the key that is what all your past, current and future employers are looking for. Staying current is a must, even if it means asking your teenagers for help in navigating the web and all it has to offer. It means taking online courses for free or paying to get certifications. Don’t wait for an employer to do it. Whether you are working full-time or not be willing to pay for knowledge and education. It doesn’t have to be a lot but today’s world of work requires that you own your training.
“Old” Employee Model vs. “New” Self-Empowered Model
Take charge of your career. It is YOUR career. While it’s good to demonstrate what your boss is looking for, it’s imperative for you to incorporate your strengths and lead the course of your career in that way rather than waiting for your boss to tell you what role you should fill. Find the role that you will excel in by getting passionate and excited about your work. How are you an individual and integral part to the work place rather than being totally expendable and having your role “plugged in” tomorrow? It used to be, if you worked for IBM for example or some other Fortune 500 kind of company you did not need to lose sleep over your job security. If you did satisfactory work and showed up on time every day, your job was safe. Now loyalty is completely de-emphasized and innovation is the recurring trait that is being sought out. You need to be ready to move within the organization or out. It’s not something to be upset about but it’s reality so your branding, marketing, self-education and achievement oriented experience needs to be building toward your next role. This mentality should not surprise anyone in the digital new world of work.
Engage Yourself in the Workforce
How excited are you to go to work everyday? If you think this is a rhetorical question, you are probably not fully engaging yourself. If you are not 100% into your job, tailor it so that you are. Or find ways to add the flavor you need to thrive through volunteer work, part-time work or start planning your next deployment into a new job or business. If you are in a current role, play to your strengths and let your bosses see the initiative you can take to improve and even rewrite your role. The key to being a good worker is to be a passionate one. The next step is to think like a consultant in order to maintain, grow, prosper and gain opportunities. Consultants are only as useful as their last engagement. Each role you take on is an engagement, a story and you need to make it a success story. Instead of doing the bare minimum of your requirements that anyone could step into, put your personal touch on every task and assignment you complete to differentiate yourself and your skill set. The times of just being able to coast through jobs and your career are behind us.
You need to be an empowered, new worker today. This is mandatory today to stay ready for the new world of work. At the end of the day, who determines your livelihood? You are in control and can steer it through your achievements, networks and successful self-marketing. Your personal network must be built and nurtured inside and outside of your current role. Personal branding is integral in today’s workplace. Keeping your skills and certifications up-t0-date and then some is a strong way to build and extend your brand. You need to quietly market the business case for you whether you are in marketing or not. This is not an option if you are a career advancer. The “fit-in” strategy is old news because now-a-days you need to be able to show specifically what you do, how you do it and how well you do it. Furthermore, you need to get out of the mindset that someone is going to just come find you (unless you plan to build your network in advance). Once you’ve accepted this reality, be prepared to sell yourself and your newly established personal brand. It may have to be quiet but it must be built, nurtured and maintained.