Career Advice

Is Your Addiction To The 'Storm' Distracting You From Career Traction?

Have you heard of ‘braincalming’ sessions? I just read about it in a recent blog post, Brainstorming vs. Braincalming, by Mitch Ditkoff where he espoused the value of ‘being silent’ with one’s thoughts. One of my favorite quotes in his post follows:

“Me thinks, in today’s over-caffeinated, late-for-a-very-important-date business world, we have become addicted to the storm.”

Social media engagement has exploded, causing an over-caffeinated effect on our bodies and minds.  With the rocketing of career hashtags and career chats, the value of the intimate, introspective and focused conversational exchange has plunged. The vying for popular career insight zingers, evocative word slings and all-knowing ‘stormy’ pronouncements often outweigh the golden ‘braincalming’ and reflective insights that I once so admired.

Instead of overindulging in this career candy that may leave you over-stimulated, underwhelmed and agitated, I encourage job seekers to adopt a more measured approach to temper your addiction to social media. By abating the caffeine drip, drip drip, you can be fully focused and centered on your task at hand: locating a new opportunity and matching your talent with the hiring manager’s needs!

When you DO partake in social media, be thoughtful in your choices. Take the time to read and comment on the information that resonates with you.  In other words, put your blinders on and don’t get lost in the sea of chatter and mostly, don’t let the competitive nature to be most popular person in the social stream override intimate reflection and conversation.

Then, quietly close down your TweetDeck and click out of Facebook and Google + for a bit. Now, begin carving out your career transition plan, which I propose, starts and ends with targeting and communicating your audience and message.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Research the companies and types of roles that not only appeal to you, but tap into your unique value drivers. In other words, find companies and opportunities that need your particular experience and talent in selling widgets, marketing services, crunching numbers, managing technical projects or herding teams. Tap into Glassdoor, Manta, Hoovers, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Twitter and even Facebook fan pages to peer inside the company, locating reviews, articles and postings by business insiders (employers and employees). Google these organizations; track and notate what you find. Source and review the content to really understand your audience’s needs.

2. Begin organizing your career positioning message in a brain dump fashion. Answer the question: What do you feel are Your Top Four Areas of Value that you offer your target audience? (based on ‘their’ needs / areas of pain).  For example, one of my four areas might be:

Career Reporting abilities: the instinct and practice in asking the probing, right questions that get to the heart of what will link career seekers’ past to hiring companies’ futures.

3. Then, think: What are my 5 greatest accomplishmentsd mapped to my target goal?

  • When fleshing these out, weave in stories that show how you have solved the types of challenges with which your target audience currently struggles.
  • And of course, also keep in mind your ‘top areas of value’ when responding, hereto. It’s not enough to say that these are areas at which you excel, you must back them up with tangible stories that show measurable outcomes ($%#), as well as the steps you led to achieve the outcomes.
  • Perhaps as importantly, though, are the hurdles you surmounted along the way and the leadership nuances/strengths (influence, problem solving, process improving, negotiation, etc.) that you employed. Finally, how can you answer the so-what? Why was what you did relevant, and at what levels (regional, divisional, global, company-wide, etc.?).

Bottom line: Moving out of the social spotlight and shifting into a quieter space for meaningful, roll-up-your-sleeves manual labor of the mind to address a campaign that connects your value-message to the right audience is imperative to a successful go-forward and job-landing career search!