Three Steps to a Better Career

Posted October 28, 2009
By Clay Cerny

In yesterday’s Sun-Times, Francine Knowles reported on job numbers, which you should think about as little as possible because you are not a statistic or percentage. 

What was more valuable in this article were three career management strategies from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas (in quotation marks) to which I am adding some extra advice:

1.  “Don’t keep your job search a secret.  Let everyone you know that you are looking for a new job”:  I would add to this advice that everyone means both personal and professional contacts.

2.  “Join new social networks and professional groups”:  You should do this whether or not you are looking for a new job.  Learning more about your industry will help you navigate career transitions and meet people who can help you get ahead.  A client emailed me yesterday to let me know she was recruited for a new job.  How did she do this?  She kept contact with a mentor and helped that person.  Keep this example in mind when you network.  Look to help others first.  There will be a payoff.

3.  “Attend professional and social events with your spouse/partner”:  Personal contacts are important.  Sometimes they offer a direct path to a new employer.  Others times someone you or your partner will know someone who knows someone – 6 degrees of separation.  The main reason to go to social events, however, is more basic: it does no good to stay at home and isolate yourself.  There is no shame in not having a job in this economy.  People understand.  Many of them want to help.  The only way they will know you need help is if they hear it – from you.

Let me add one more simple “to do”: get business cards and hand them out.  People need to know how to contact you.  The cards are also a reminder that you are on the market.  I will post later this week on how to produce cards that offer more than name, address, and phone number.

Network, network, and network some more.