Since the start of this year I have been approached by a dozen or more industry friends and colleagues who have either been displaced in their career or looking to make a change for one reason or another. In nearly every case they would like to be more prepared and not sure where to start or find the advice they need for the next chapter in their career. I understand this may not be the typical article you would find in a tech industry publication, but trust me, countless people in our industry are in the position described above. I want to share some advice that I have used to successfully help friends make the leap and find the next adventure in their career.
Most people pay very little attention to their Professional Branding and really sell themselves short. I have seen some marketing professionals with impressive careers, who do a terrible job at marketing themselves. The reality is that we never really know what is around the corner and when a change may be necessary, or an opportunity of a lifetime may appear. Why not create the best possible image now for your professional network audience? In fact, you can invest a very little amount of time and look better than 90% of your industry peers. I will tell you how!
Additionally, for those of you who are just starting your career or in your twilight years; wondering what you want to be when you grow up – this may be a daunting and challenging process. How do you tackle this question and develop a direction for your future?
What do you want to be when you grow up? A few years ago, I was planning to make a career change and a mentor of mine suggested I think about “what are your assets or signature strengths and what do you like to do”?
I went through the suggested thought process and took it a (slightly nerdy) step further. I created what I call an opportunity matrix. On the horizontal axis I listed my signature strengths or interests and beneficial elements to a certain job opportunity (401K, Health Plan, etc.). On the Vertical Axis I listed business opportunities or “jobs” that I may consider. I then added a numeric value from 0-10 for each element. In the far-right column a numeric value for that opportunity would be calculated upon rating the various elements related to the opportunity. This process was helpful to fully consider and evaluate each opportunity and make a more informed decision. Don’t be shy about exploring opportunities outside of the industry or becoming more adventurous: buy a franchise, start a new business, join the circus. If you can make a good income and find joy in that career path, don’t be afraid to explore it. If you find yourself unemployed don’t “take some time off”, get moving. Start networking and accept that your new full-time job is finding your next job or career opportunity.
My good friend and tremendously talented industry colleague Petro Shimonishi was faced with a challenge years ago when she was laid off. She and another industry colleague decided to develop a powerful resource for professionals who were out of work or looking to make a change. I would strongly encourage anyone in their position to visit Next Phase Network for some amazing articles, resources, coaching, job board, forum and more.
Next week in Part 2 – Polish up your image . . . before you need to!