In years past, one might have assumed January to be the biggest month for career strategy. Most of what contributes to our professional landscape has changed in the last few years and that has changed how we implement our career strategies. The biggest change to our professional landscape is the frequency of disruption. Innovations are changing your world faster than ever before. Technologies and professionals now face the same obstacles — they must stay relevant to survive. The process of job transition is also influenced by our new professional landscape.
- First of all, the frequency has changed. The average tenure for an executive is now only 18 months. Whether it is a company pivot, new PE investors or M&A activity, the C-suite is the first to find themselves displaced. A successful career strategy must involve consistently checking your market value and evaluating your return in the same way you would evaluate your investment portfolios. You cannot afford not to or you risk being obsolete and unemployed.
- Secondly, “click submit” is no longer a job search strategy. It’s now about the “pull” not the “push.”
Push vs. Pull Job Search
The truth is, everyone wants the high-hanging fruit. “High-hanging fruit” is a phrased used to describe the sought after, employed talent that is too busy to be looking at job postings. A great way to position yourself as “high-hanging fruit” and still be proactive is to optimize your LinkedIn profile to make sure the recruiter or company stakeholder finds you. Pull, don’t push!
High-Hanging Fruit is Your Competition, so Your Competition is Everyone
In a good economy, almost everyone is passively looking so, given that your competition is everyone then competition is steep. When competition is steep, getting in the door is more difficult. While applying to jobs may make you feel productive, a recent survey shows that only 15% of positions were filled through job boards. Most executive level positions are filled through network referrals. 85% of job filled through referrals!?!?!?! You must be the referral!
Why Referrals Get the Job
Think of it this way, let’s say you are going to remodel your kitchen, which of the following would you do first?
- Post on a plethora of service websites what you need with all of the detailed kitchen measurements and materials you wish to use.
- Research all of the service provider websites and read the reviews, specializations, locations and qualifications.
- Shoot an email to a friend who just did her kitchen that she was extremely happy with and ask her who she used.
The keyword is FIRST. You might end up doing #1 and #2 if #3 did not work out or even just to make sure your friend’s suggestion was, after all, the best choice. Now you can see why December is the career action month. When hiring is budgeted and becomes more defined in January, you must already be referred. January will be busy for everyone. It will be busy for you at your current job, busy for hiring managers and recruiters. In January, you can be more passive about your job search and let your dream job call you out of the blue if you did everything right in December.
Here are 5 Things You Need to do This December for Your Career in the Coming Year
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Optimize for the job you want and the one you have.
- Connect with people on LinkedIn. Think past bosses and subordinates, supply chain contacts, recruiters and anyone you meet out and about.
- Have coffee meetings. Getting face-to-face time can be very difficult once January comes
- Update your resume. Having a resume that speaks to your value is even more important at the executive level because opportunities are fewer and farther in-between and you cannot afford to not be prepared.
- Get out! Go to industry functions, conventions and continuing education, and parties… after all, it is the holiday season.
Also, get involved with causes you care about. You will meet others with similar passions. Those with similar passions will go above and beyond the call of social duty to network on your behalf. You never know who you will meet.
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