5 Big Career Mistakes

Here is a list of five big career mistakes that you can make with your career!

First big mistake: regular maintenance is key. Give your career a regular tune-up. 

A career is not something that you take care of, only when you’re in trouble, and when your back is against a wall… Careers should be taken care of on an ongoing basis. A birthday is a sacred day: gift yourself with a scrub of your resume and all your marketing tools (resume, Bio, email signature, voice mail message, references, recommendations, business card, summary profile…) If you do this, you’ll be good to go for the next 12 months! You ARE an organic person; let your career evolve along with you! Take advantage of your birthday for reinvention!

Second big mistake: plan your approach(es) thoroughly 

Most job seekers don’t take the time to script and rehearse their approaches to hiring managers. Just prepare a simple script before a phone call (10 mins), drafting an email (2-3 short paragraphs) or reaching out over LinkedIn (short messages only; keep your outreach social in nature — read: warm, fuzzy). Script preparation includes: a short introduction (your full name) with context (why or how you came to be reaching out); 2-3 point form list of what you can bring to the table professionally (skills, knowledge, media reach); a clear ask (what is it that you hope to achieve by this outreach); and next steps (which, if you’re smart, you’ll take charge of…). The result: you’re in charge, not them!

Third big mistake: Have I mentioned “research companies?” OY!

A great way to end up in a lousy job is to NOT do research on the company before you apply and/or accept a job offer. There are countless platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook … where you can get the inside scoop on a company, either through news releases, or, from comments former staff make. Make it your job to find out their financial health, their corporate social responsibility, and their on-boarding, team building efforts, salary increases/bonuses, before you join! We have a great tool for that in our Career Toolkit!

Fourth big mistake: Outshine the competition by making your “Business Case”

Job seekers don’t thoroughly think through their reasons for applying to jobs. It’s important to do the math up front, on any given company. More importantly, doing the math up front is really smart and makes you way more competitive. Answer these four questions for any job you are applying to … Why would they hire you in particular? Why would they hire you now? What role do you want to play for them, specifically? And why do you want to work with this company in particular?  If you make a point of articulating the answers to those four questions in a screening call, in an elevator pitch, in an interview, and/or a mini-version in your thank you note, you are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention. Cause 80% of people just aren’t doing their homework!

Last big mistake: Invest in yourself: both time and money

Most job seekers are not taught, or encouraged, to regularly and consistently invest in themselves and their own development. Therefore, we recommend you invest money as well as time in your precious career! Professional development is becoming increasingly important. With the state of most company’s financials these days, there’s no way they’re going to pay to train you! In other words, professional development becomes a “do-it-yourself” proposition.  Stack those small “c” credentials onto your resume whenever you can. Take side courses, webinars, seminars, and read your business trades … do everything you can to increase your skills and knowledge. Employers will recognize individuals who are better “rounded”, than others who simply have not made the time or taken the opportunity to broaden their skills and knowledge.

Paying attention to the five big career mistakes, will therefore ensure you greater career control, and success!

Watch our vlog on 5 Biggest Career Mistakes here.

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing With the Emotional Reality of Job Search

Being unemployed or under-employed, can feel like the end of the world!  The shock of losing your professional identity can have a really strong, negative impact on your life, and it takes time to accept and adjust to that new reality. When your career comes to a dead stop, you will experience many emotions: unresolved grief; rational and irrational fears; your self-esteem flies out the window; and you will find that there will be days where your “generalized anxiety” will go through the roof.

Word of caution: If you are spending time second-guessing hiring managers, job applications and HR decisions: Don’t! It is an absolute waste of your time and emotional energy. You will never be able to fathom what is going on in the decision-making process on any hire! After you hit “send” on that application, it’s wise to let go, pivot straight back to job search, and get more leads into the funnel.

Adaptation

While you’re in accepting and adapting mode, it’s a really good idea to get some perspective on where you are at with your career…It’s good to know where you stand on the continuum: Entry level (1-5 years)? Miid-level (5-10 years)? Senior level (10-15 years)? Exec level (15-20+ years)? Knowing where you stand will help you keep your expectations realistic about your own status within your own industry, and also will help you clearly articulate where you are heading next. When you clearly articulate what’s next, it puts others in a position to actually help you! Don’t leave anyone guessing!

Grief is real. Once you start moving through acceptance and adaptation, put your focus on reinvention, and getting to that next level! Do your career homework: re-write your goals, upgrade all your marketing tools like resumes, your Bio, your personal brand, and your social media profiles, and dive deep into researching companies that you would like to work with.

The New You!

Reinvention is the best way out of grief: try to embrace growing and changing; be clear on your messaging around where you want to head next; build a support network of peers; share your experience (past), strength (present) and hope (future); and connect, connect, CONNECT! If you’re looking for a peer group, consider joining one of mediaINTELLIGENCE’s Career Activism groups.

Self-care: You cannot do a good job of job search 24/7. You need to take mental breaks. You are allowed time off of job search, if you’re not feeling quite up to it on a given day. Give yourself permission to rest. Ensure you get some balance: social activities, connecting authentically with others, stay away from nay-sayers and those who aren’t actually qualified to give you career advice! Mitigate your stress through qualitative connecting, learning, meditation, nutrition a/o exercise. Most importantly, on evenings and weekends, don’t ruminate endlessly about making money. Focus on enjoying your life, replenishing your own well, and get back to revenue/lead generation on Monday morning!

The good news

Please understand that this is a temporary state only. Covid-19 has really levelled the playing field: everyone’s under-employed! There’s less societal “stigma” around unemployment than ever! Work on getting “truly conscious” about your goals, your personal growth, life balance, and your reinvention. And do your career homework! 

You are not alone. You can reinvent. Contact me and let’s talk about your individual needs, and consider joining one of our Career Activism groups. We are here to help each other.

 

3 Step Process to Manage Your Career!

Career management is complicated. Or, is it?  Yes, it can be overwhelming to try to manage your career goals. But is it impossible?  No, it is not!

Now, some would argue that the future’s actually unmanageable. But here’s me to say, that really, it just not as complicated as you think! There are three aspects of your career that you should focus on at all times:

Step 1: Goals — you need to get them out of your head, and write them down. ANNUALLY.

Step 2: You need to bring all of your marketing tools up to speed ANNUALLY (read: resume, Bio, references, social media profiles, email signature, voice mail signature, cover letters, visuals — visuals are critical — get photos of you in your work environment, out at industry events, at conferences, networking events, create memes, get a screen capture of a Zoom call that you are hosting…) ANY and all visuals will serve!

Step 3: Job search. Let’s unpack that puppy: you need to do job search research. In other words, track companies, track their mandates, track any departmental stakeholders you wish to connect with, build a “business case” (see Careers AF! for instructions), and plot a simple series of “marketing touchdowns” with stakeholders in those companies. It takes more than one try to get a company’s attention! So think about your initial outreach to any given stakeholder, at any given company, and then put some thought into a) what you’ll do if they respond; and b) what you’ll do NEXT if they don’t!

That’s it!!! Do your “career homework”: Goals. Marketing Tools. Job Search strategy. If you take care of these three small steps on an annual basis, your career will take care of itself!

That is all — for now! Stay posted. I have a LOT more to say on this subject in upcoming YouTube vlogs for “Career Activism 2021” series.

Stay tuned. It’s not THAT complicated, and there is a LOT you can do, to manage your career!

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