Effective career management is critical to achieving career success. An executive’s success is only 35% attributable to the innate skills and talents they are born with. The far larger determinant, 65% is attributable to their training/education, how they build and position their professional profile, the decisions they make, and effective career management . Doing these things and others well have a substantial impact on career advancement, job satisfaction, and lifetime earnings.
I recently shared the following Check List in a presentation to senior executives this past week. I am 100% certain that those business professionals who are proactive in adopting this Check List will achieve greater and more certain career success.
- Take charge of your career. No one else cares more than you. No one else will do it for you. Own it!
- Great executives have high levels of awareness. Build a higher level of “awareness”. Exercise it daily.
- Build on your key foundational strengths and experiences. Those things that you do better than a large percentage of your peers.
- Fill “voids” and seek growth scenarios. A void is a job opportunity where your skills and experience are very needed and not sufficiently present. It will be easier to standout and be valued and promoted for your contributions in this scenario. Being one of many in a company with multiples of managers with the same skills and experiences is not a good way to stand apart from the masses.
- Develop a differentiated and robust positioning. Take advantage of talent market supply and demand dynamics. You are in one of 4 quadrants: Low Demand/Low Supply, Low Demand/High Supply, High Demand/High Supply, or High Demand/Low Supply. There are clear and distinct advantages in moving your profile closer to the High Demand/Low Supply quadrant – Less competition for opportunities; Greater number of opportunities to consider; More compensation leverage; Greater opportunity to make an impact.
- Build some industry and functional breadth into your profile for greater versatility. This will enable you to be considered for a wider array of opportunities in the future.
- Consider a well-timed and strategic industry transition – into a higher growth sector or a High Demand/Low Supply quadrant.
- Don’t be a “job hopper” or a “lifer”. Either extreme carries career limitations and risks. Make smart, strategic and well-informed career moves. Try and position yourself with employers for at least 3-5 years and gain promotions and expansion of responsibilities during that time frame.
- Look and ask for feedback – both formal and informal. That is how great executives grow and get better. Never stop learning.
- Get out of your office. Build strong working relationships and political capital. Network in an ongoing and targeted manner. Engage at a human level. Be visible in your accomplishments and contributions.
- Manage your reputation. It takes a long time to build a great reputation. This is accomplished with positive and productive actions and interactions throughout each day. Be mindful that a strong reputation can be tarnished or irreparably harmed over night with a momentary lapse in judgment. Proactively cultivate career allies and references. Keep in mind that strong references and a strong reputation are opposite sides of the same coin.
- Maintain a current and well-crafted resume, and a list of references with current contact information (at the superior, peer, and subordinate level). You do not want to miss out on a great opportunity simply because it took you several days to pull this information together. The best opportunities find candidates quickly!
- Actively cultivate relationships with the right executive search consultants and research associates at the right search firms. A shot gun approach will prove inefficient and take up precious time and energy.
- Master effective interviewing skills: Do your research; Come with a strong and relevant positioning; Listen and be concise in your answers; Share your story, engage at a human level; Dialogue (not monologue) in a compelling manner.
Copyright May, 2018