Most of the planet, it seems, would like to get a job, get promoted, or a get a better job.
How does one go about making this happen (in this century)?
I'm reminded of a great post I saw a couple of years ago. An employee made a comment along the lines of, "HR stinks. No one from HR has come to me to discuss my career in over two years."
In moments, someone replied,
of your own career, right?"
So if your manager isn't promoting you like mad, and HR isn't beating down your door to discuss your personal aspirations, what do you do?
1. Ask yourself how you are staying up to date on your profession. (question stolen from Kris Dunn)
If it involves learning from people in your department or company, going to an annual conference, or being a member of a professional organization, that is not enough. Get Better At What You Do.
Action: Connect with thought leaders in the space you want to know more about or master. Don't leave anything "hot" for the "young kids," or the people with seniority. Learn about it. Thanks to Google, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, and good old fashioned volunteering via personal outreach, anything you want to know about is just a click, or request, away. 99% of information and connection with the thought leaders in the space you wish to master is free.
There are LinkedIn professional groups on just about every topic. In these groups, people are having real-time discussions and solving real-time problems. By listening to, and eventually joining, the conversation you'll pick something up. This will make you more valuable at your current job -- and people you work with will start to notice.
If that is too aggressive for you, do a Twitter Search on the professional topic you're interested in. Look at the people who pop up under that category. Follow the people with lots of followers -- they likely are saying something of value. Read what they're saying, and what they are linking to. Eventually, consider engaging with them by commenting on something they said, or simply "ReTweeting" something they said that you found of value. In the process, you get two benefits. You are seeing new insights that will add value to your professional knowledge, and you are starting to build your network of people you know outside of your current life circle.
2. Ask yourself (and reply honestly!) if you are leveraging the resources at your disposal today. Get Better At Using What Is Available to You.
ACTION For those with jobs:
Look with fresh eyes at your Relationship with your Manager. Work to connect better with him/her. Know his/her goals. Look for opportunities to take things off his/her plate. Give more than you get. Exceed expectations. Support others on the team. Mentor others. Be positive. Be passionate. Care more about the success of the company and the mission than you care about your status. Always have a proposed solution at hand when you discuss what could be better. Evaluate your proposed solution like the CEO would -- does the benefit exceed the cost? Will the solution work to expedite the strategy, revenue and profit?
Are you getting to know others at your place of work? Join affinity groups, sit down with people you may or may not know at lunch, ask for 15 minutes of someone you admire's time, buy someone a cup of coffee. Read/listen to the articles and discussions taking place on Intranets and Social Networks. Reply to the people who wrote them with thoughts that further the concepts discussed. Work to expand your circle of people you know, and thus your circle of influence. Plan to give to them (in time, insight, volunteer effort) more than you get in return.
Do you have an agent set up on the company's job posting web site? Many/most of these allow you to key in search words and get alerted via email the next time a job opens up with that word(s).
Do you have an up-to-date profile on your internal network? (These are becoming internal resumes for talent seeking managers -- many of whom are searching with word searches. Do the words you used on your profile reflect your skills and aspirations?)
Are you leveraging your company's training and education offerings? These are a great way to meet others -- expanding your network and your company insights -- as well as to expand your skills.
ACTION For those looking for job:
Have you mastered your elevator pitch? This is the pitch that states what you're looking for and why you are well suited to do it. Have you shared this pitch, and mastered it further, with everyone you know? Have you changed the hat you wear on your head to that of chief salesperson and chief marketing officer for YOU?
As chief salesperson and chief marketing officer, how are you making sales calls, building relationships, and looking for potential space to advertise? Now is not the time to be meek or shy. You need to be proud of the product you are selling.
Has everyone on your FaceBook, LinkedIn, Alumni, Neighborhood, and prior workplace networks heard/seen your elevator pitch? Have you turned the table on LinkedIn and FaceBook started to USE them -- seek out people who know people at the companies where you would like to work? Read blogs and books on how to best use these networks for job search. Believe me, there are TONS of new ways.
Are you recruiting recruiters? This was called to my attention just this week by JP McDermott over on Examiner.com. Don't forget to market yourself (and this means many contact attempts) to the people with the jobs! Understand they are busy, but also make sure they know your elevator pitch and how you can help them.
For more tips, be sure to read our new eBook on 100 Job Search Tips from FORTUNE 500 Recruiters.
NET: Remember the old line that has never been more true, or easier to accomplish in this social network-rich-on-line-world: Who You Know Is More Important (in job search) Than What You Know!
Action: Work to know more people with knowledge important to you. Give them more than you hope to get.
Good Luck! For me, the networking-oriented things are new tools in my career tool kit. Since I started using them, I've built more relationships, made more connections, learned more, and added more value to my company. Oh, and I've had more fun in the process as well.
-------------------------- Talk Back -------------------
What are your tips to help get a better job?
-- Polly Pearson