Success Insights

Happy new year! I certainly wish you all the best for 2013, may all your wildest career dreams and top job search goals become a reality this year. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The reality is that none of my wishes for you will come to life without your active participation and commitment. As you promise yourself (AGAIN) to eat right, lose weight, and get a better job, do more than make generic resolutions that get defeated by the end of January.

To keep you on the right path to executive career success, let me get you started with five new career management strategies that would benefit you for years to come:

1) Get SMART about your career

Good luck and hard work are not interchangeable. Real professional success and career mastery doesn’t just happen – it takes careful planning, diligence and commitment. If you want to become a well-respected, trusted authority in your industry and profession, be prepared to work hard for it. Get focused about what you want.

  • Determine where you want to be in the next 12 – 36 months
  • Do a gap analysis to identify what you need (in terms of education, experience and advanced training/education) that will take you to the next level
  • Seek out professional mentors, key industry

2) Develop a strong, visible brand

Your ability to stand out and be different helps your career success…let’s face it, we are all unique. There are several things that you do better than anyone else and that message should come across clearly to employers and recruiters.

Make sure your career/personal brand clearly reflects your strengths and unique promise of value.

  • Develop a plan for own personal brand identity system with both online and offline strategies.
  • Maintain a complete and updated LinkedIn profile with recommendations from previous employers and colleagues.
  • Get graphic about your career experience with a VisualCV.
  • Create a brief Google profile to increase online presence and visibility to employers and recruiters.
  • Reach out, connect and engage through company blogs, industry forum and professional online discussions.

3) Have clarity about your “sweet” spot

You want to get paid your worth? Then you cannot wait and hope that someone else figures out why you are the best candidate…be confident and vocal (online and offline) about your experience, expertise and strengths. Yes, even the introverts and modest folks like you have to get comfortable with self-promotion.

  • Chronicle your career achievements every six to twelve months.
  • Evaluate your contributions  in terms of revenue growth, cost savings, customer attraction, market expansion, technology integration etc.
  • Quantify your achievements as dollars ($) and percentages (%) really create a compelling story.
  • Update and keep updating your executive resume even when you are not job search, it smart career sense to keep a portfolio of career marketing documents.

4) Build a network and get in the mix

No matter how smart you are, what you can achieve on your own cannot compare to what you can do with a vibrant, active professional and personal network behind you.

  • Volunteer for internal/external company events and take advantage of publicity opportunities at company-sponsored conferences, forums and trade shows.
  • Join 2 or 3 professional and industry organizations and participate in on a regular basis.
  • Think outside the box and explore new relationships and partnerships with clients, vendors and strategic partners.

5) Commit to being a lifelong learner

I distinctly remember working with a client several years ago who was laid off from an industry that experienced change due to technology innovation and transformation. She was unsure about her next career move because she did nothing to stay competitive, marketable or employable in her field. You guessed it, she become obsolete in her own profession.

  • Pay attention to evolving industry trends and identify important skills and/or new technologies.
  • Maximize annual association conferences and local business events as opportunities for informal learning opportunities.
  • Research and register for career relevant e-courses, training programs and professional certification classes.
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Abby Locke is an executive resume writer and career transformation coach who helps emerging leaders, executives and professional women to craft compelling career narratives and standout brand profiles.

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