Your career is organic. It is a living, virtually breathing organism that needs to be nourished and exercised. Without attentive, continual care, you cannot expect your career heartbeat to remain vibrant and strong.
1. Stop Weighing Down Conversations. Too many people, especially early in their career or in the throes of transition, want to be open to all opportunities and are unwilling to ‘limit’ their options. Therefore, they weigh down career conversations with non-nutritional messages that lead to flabby results. Forget that. Reign in your fear, and get absolutely focused on what you want and where you fit. Then, lean up your communications with well-honed, sharp content that lifts your career advancement to new levels.
2. Build Up a Value Proposition. This means, you must take the time to do the heavy intellectual lifting. Perform extensive introspection—in writing—as to what your unique areas of value are and weave these into your resume, online profiles, emails, texts and networking orations, among other venues. Ensure you are intimately digesting your own value and that it pulsates throughout your career bloodstream. This will make the natural articulation of who you are, and why you are different from the next great candidate, possible.
3. Quit Being a Lightweight: Yes, you know who you are. You’re the one who takes the easy way out and copies your friend’s resume, thinking it really doesn’t matter anyway. It’s ‘just’ a resume, and you’ll tweak a few ‘responsibilities for’ and voila, you can move onto the next step, copying/pasting the resume into 50 job boards. Quit doing that. A strategic resume is like a personal training program, designed uniquely, from scratch, for you. It recognizes your weaknesses, and more importantly, your strengths, and builds upon those. It requires you implement a career design regimen that adds muscle to your word tissues and eliminates the fat. You create a strapping message that represents the strongest you.
4. Stop Crash Career Dieting. Too many times, people wait until they are fired, downsized or simply at their wit’s end with a current job to worry about career relationship nourishing. Do not wait until you are so famished and short on time (and money) to fuel up. The energy that may help bridge your transition to the next gig must be replenished regularly. The problem with crash career searching is that while initial results may feign the attributes of success, they usually are not sustainable. Real career health is something that you must tend to day in and day out.
5. Select a Few Relationships to Feed You. While the advent of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest has had many peoples’ heads spinning, and palates tempted to taste-test a bit of everything, be careful. Before you know it, your career conversation plate is so full, you don’t even enjoy or gain value from any one relationship. Most importantly, the value you are able to offer others is exponentially diminished every time you try to balance a new relationship atop an already very full career conversation plate. Limit your intake, and concentrate on the meaningful, fueling relationships to create a more nutritious result!