From Ostrich to Eagle: Manage Your Career in Less Than an Hour a Week

October 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm 1 comment

This week’s article is inspired by Scott, who says:

When I look at everything I’m supposed to be doing in my job search, I get overwhelmed. Where do I start? How do I prioritize?

I’m so glad Scott asked this question, because the feeling of overwhelm hits everyone trying to manage a career and a life (and squeeze in some time for self care). This is a huge pitfall, because when most people feel overwhelmed by their job search they just end up sticking their head in the sand.

If you’re employed, the head-in-the-sand posture may mean just coming to work and “doing your job” without putting any effort into defining and broadcasting your brand within the company and beyond. You’re setting yourself up for career transitions that happen to you rather than those instigated by you.

Currently unemployed? Maybe it’s because you’re hiding behind a hastily prepared resume and massive job board submissions that don’t get you any results.

First, give yourself some love. After all, you’ve been doing the best you can, and that’s been pretty darned good. But let’s now move forward with a more effective way. Follow this advice and you’ll see big results, no matter how much time you have to spend on your career. For most people, an hour a week of effective career management generates better results than hours of ostrich-like behavior.

How can you identify the highest priorities for effective career management? The answer is deceptively simple. Figure out which part of the career management cycle you’re stuck at, and prioritize that.

Are your goals defined? If yes, then…

Based on those goals, have you identified your value/your brand? If yes, then…

Are your marketing materials (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.) prepared in accordance with your goals and values? If yes, then…

Have you identified your target companies? If yes, then…

Do you have a thriving network and are you in touch with them about your goals and targets? If yes, then…

Do you have enough data to assess your progress based on results (feedback on resume; input on interview style; number of first, second, and third round interviews and/or offers)? If yes…

Use the new information to go through the cycle again, refining your goals, message, targets, network.

If you don’t have clear career goals, your resume cannot be effective. If you don’t have target companies, it will be very difficult for your network to help you.

Approaching the stages of career management one at a time will make you more effective and prevent overwhelm. I challenge you to figure out where you are in the cycle and do one thing in the next week that will move you forward. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. Just think of something that will have an impact and do it! Don’t hesitate to comment here or write with specific questions.

Anthony Robbins said, “Discipline equals freedom.” Take this to heart, and before you know it you’ll be soaring like an eagle!

 

Entry filed under: Career Management, Job Search. Tags: , , .

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