Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Actively Drive Your Career

Did you choose to take your current position from among many offers? Or did you accept the job because it seemed like a good position and you needed a job (or to get away from a job)?

Far, far too many people let their careers drive them. They fall from job to job, taking the first position offered them that seems like a good decision. I rarely find people, including myself, that actively search for, and take positions they really want.

Part of the value of building your own brand is that you will be able to showcase your skills and experience to a variety of employers. Even if you don’t need a job, you have the chance to apply for, and consider, positions that might better suit you than your current job.

You can actively drive your career forward, targeting specific industries, positions, or even companies. You have the ability to build a brand that is tailor made to attract the attention of the company or individual that might give you the job you want.

Of course, you need the qualifications and experience, and that should be your first step, but as you gain that experience, you can enhance your brand to help you get the job you want. Your brand will match well with the position, and give you the chance to control your career.

This doesn’t mean you often change jobs or employers, but rather that you make conscious choices about the types of work you want to do, the place where you do it, and the way in which you work. The more you invest in your career, improve your skills, and showcase that improvement, the more likely you are to see you career move in the direction that suits you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Resolutions: Networking

OK, I’m late. I planned on a series of resolutions for January, perhaps my own resolution, but life got in the way. That’s OK, and it happens. It’s what I also tell people. You have to balance life and work, and this is my hobby project, promoting your ability to brand yourself, so I had to balance this with a crazy month of family stuff, travel, and work.

With that, let’s continue. Think about this.

I’d like you to consider making a resolution to network more in 2016. Take some time now to plan out how you can meet more people, rekindle old acquantences or build stronger bonds. Ensure that you have a group of people that you can use in the event you seek other opportunities.

I urge you to keep in touch with past friends and acquantences. Make a point to contact at least one person a quarter that you don’t otherwise communicate with.

Networking the most impotant thing in your career, and certainly referrals are becoming more important in filling positions and finding opportunities.

Use Notes

I’ve tried this, and you should do. I don’t love this now, and I stopped, but it might work better for you. In any case, I made an honest effort to track networking for about six months.

I would make notes about who I talked to, jot down something I remembered. Then I’d review the list before I went to a new event and think about catching up with someone that I had met previously, or consciously ensuring I met some new people at the next event. It become difficult for me since I meet so many people, but I broadened my reach a bit while tracking contacts.

Now I look to catch up with different people at each event, which works well for me since I am at an event almost every month.


Plan to attend some work events, or even create your own by inviting people to a happy hour. Go to user groups, industry gatherings, ask to attend a conference. No matter where you go, make sure you meet people.

Participate Online

Try social networking if you never have. Use Linked In to touch base with people, ask questions, or just comment on what others do.

Above all, network more. Not just to network, but to meet new people. Don’t be afraid to drop contacts that don’t work out for you, or you don’t like, but continue to try and meet new people.

Even if you work in a corporate office, I’d hope that you could meet 10 new people this year. Let’s aim for 5 inside the company and 5 outside in your industry.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How Often Should You Blog

I had someone ask me this question recently, and here’s the answer:
When I talk to people about building their brand and showcasing their talents, I suggest blogging as the best way to display their skills. However after they ask about finding topics, the next question is invariably about how often to blog. My answer? As often as is comfortable for you.
What I suggest to most people is that they set aside time for writing and then use Word, Notepad, or any editor to draft posts. Write ten posts on whatever topics you like, and see how long it takes to complete them. Get feedback from friends, re-read them a day or so later, and count them finished when you’d be comfortable to publish them. Then schedule the ten posts based on your pace of writing. Perhaps 10 posts takes you a month, maybe it takes you ten months, but whatever time required is your pace. It may change over time, but blog at whatever rate fits in your life.