Some people are always looking.
Others never look.
Financial opportunity is in the middle.
Now this isn’t about married couples in the O.C. out to dinner at a restaurant, flirting with potential flings. It isn’t about hookups and cheating.
It is about you, your career, and how the climb-the-corporate-ladder-and-retire-with-a-gold-watch retirement strategy of the 1950’s died a long time ago. It is time to move on.
Just defending your right to survive and thrive in an increasingly fractured environment.
Gone are the days where you just put your head down and do good work. You could still be out on the street in the next downturn (i.e. layoffs).
And then what do you have? Absolutely nothing.
So you have to take care of yourself and your career.
This is one of your biggest assets. Your earning power.
So while you’re working, you need to be building for the future.
Whether that means taking on extra projects at work. Or driving to hit deadlines. Or taking college courses at night. Or working freelance gigs to pay the bills and increase your skills.
Then what do you do with them?
You leverage them into your next opportunity.
Whether that opportunity is a…
- Promotion – because you’ve shown you’re ready for the next step
- Raise – you’ve demonstrated you can drive sales or increase profits through your initiative
- New job outside your current company – sometimes that is the only way you’re going to get paid for your newly created value. Sometimes they just see you as you were and can’t get past that.
So it’s okay to look.
Be seen as a player in your industry. Go to industry mixers and educational functions. Talk to others at other companies and stay in tune with the industry gossip.
Don’t forget prior coworkers (including bosses and peers and subordinates). Often overlooked, these people often are the source of your best future opportunities. I’ve been hired six of the last seven times either by a past coworker (often working for the people who used to work for me) or the position was referred to me by a past coworker.
Even if you don’t get to work for them they may be future client points of contact or vendors to you. As people leave they open new doors for you. That is why people who have been in a business for a long time have a ton of contacts at many different companies.
Connect with recruiters
Recruiters can be hit or miss as they are almost always focused on current placement opportunities. You often either fit or don’t.
But they are also trying to find that hidden diamond. The person who has a job but for the right opportunity would consider a change. They often are slam dunks to place. So make sure you’re crossing their radar.
You can also help recruiters out by referring people when they contact you about opportunities. Just because it isn’t a right fit for you doesn’t mean you can’t help them out. It often gets reciprocated in some way down the road.
Prepare for the split
Logging/tracking your accomplishments along the way is a necessary way to ensure you have the fodder for an awesome resume and career story.
Too often people neglect that part of their work. Then when they’re frustrated or bored or otherwise ready for a change, they’re not able to sell themselves well. Their resume then becomes bland and uninspiring. And so you squander potential opportunities.
Or when you get to an annual review, you’re not prepared as you can only think back to the last 30-90 days. And you miss all the cool things you did earlier in the year than you’ve now forgotten.
Are you ready?
Are you already looking? No? I give my permission to you to look now. Get familiar with the environment before you’re thrust into it against your will (i.e. layoffs/mergers/etc.)
You’ll be glad you did…and you might get that look back that tells you you’ve got the goods.