Career Protection Plan

Monday was my turn to host Netshare’s Ask the Coach call – always a very fun time for me – and there were a record number of folks on the call. A sign of the times I suppose. Many more people unemployed, which means much stiffer competition for the few available top jobs. 

While it is too late to evangelize to those already in the tough position of being unemployed, it is not too late for those of you who are safe and secure, at least for today. No job is secure forever. Not even the CFO role. If you are employed, now is the time to create your career protection plan to help ensure a smooth transition to the position you want, when you want to make the move.

What better time to create a 3-5 year business plan for your career then the start of a new year? Here are a few first steps for you to consider …

–What is it about you that is unique and marketable? The only way to beat the very stiff competition is to be crystal clear about the value you bring to a potential company … and then,

–And not until then, develop your marketing documents around a branded marketable value proposition (MVP).

–Get on the radar of your target market. What does your digital footprint say about you? Can you be found by the people who are looking for folks like you? 

–Network even when you don’t “need” to be networking. Your network is never more valuable then when you are in a position to help others … because that earns you the right to ask for help when you need it. 

–Build recruiter relationships in advance. The chances of a recruiter being available to you when you are ready to move are much greater when you have established a strong alliance with him … in advance of needing him.  

Your marketability is highest when you are gainfully employed with a clear marketable value prop. Create your plan, and then execute. A mere 15 minutes a day can mean the difference between sitting among the ranks of the unemployed or being a high-value, hunted prospect with a continual stream of potential opportunities.

Missed Opportunities

You miss 100% of the opportunities you never receive.

Having an email address specifically for the purpose of finding a job, with the intent of disabling it once you land, is a short–term job search strategy.

Securing a permanent email address used specifically to receive potential opportunities – whether you are in search mode or not – is a long–term career management strategy.

Now, you can choose to operate in the short–term … search for a job, find a job, land in a job, lose a job, search for a job … and on and on and on.

Or, you can begin to view your career as if it is always in perpetual motion and you constantly employ strategies to ensure you capture 100% of the opportunities that come your way.

What’s your plan?

A Recruiter’s Top Five Networking Strategies

In a recent newsletter, Recruiter Mike Nale authored “Progressive Referral–Base Networking: five things to remember when building your contact list.” Read the full article if you want an inside look at what recruiters are doing to find top talent.

In a nutshell though, Nale advises levering a network by …

––following the latest trends. Notice the list where recruiters look for candidates … the majority are NOT job boards.

––creating a plan, and then working your plan. My advice would be to extend this to your career as well.

––branding yourself. Candidates are more alike than they are different … so what is your difference? It’s not “what” you do, it’s “how” you do it and the resulting impact.

––maintaining a global network. In our mobile world, never discount who might be able to assist you.

––exercising Giver’s Gain. You will reap what you sow.

A Business Plan for Your Career

It was a very interesting discussion in the CFO–Career–Forum yesterday. Recruiter Tim Norstrem and I were discussing the merits of having a career management plan … a business plan for your career.

Tim suggested that your plan should include

––a clear vision of your industry / discipline,
––an “admission” of your strengths (interesting word choice and great insight in the follow up discussion),
––your unique basket of skills (i.e., personal brand),
––a solid networking strategy, and
––a compelling value proposition and the ability to articulate it.

According to the 2007 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report,

––Executives stayed 2.7 years in a single job, 3.3 years with a company, and 4.2 years in the same industry.

––Corporate HR professionals identify 14 months as a critical point of demarcation for the newly–hired executive where the excitement wanes and dissatisfaction creeps in – and 35% see the disengagement occur in fewer than 10 months.

If an executive is unhappy in his new position in a year or less, chances are good he probably didn’t have a very good plan or more likely, any plan in place. While the unexpected can happen in a new position that can lead to early dissatisfaction, clearly this is not a welcomed trend. It seems to me that having a career plan in place would ensure that the next move was well–researched, well–thought out, and designed to help him achieve his longer–term goal.

Additionally, the average executive job search is 21.6 weeks. What Tim said to me after the call was significant … having a solid career management plan can reduce an executive’s time on the market to zero days.

If you know you are going to be moving every 3–5 years, doesn’t it make sense to be prepared to make that move? Imagine never having to conduct a job search again, and all because you chose to run your career like you run your company.