Reader, around this time every year, I start to assess the past year and plan for the coming year. For myself, for the business and you, our clients and our audience.
I try not to regret missed opportunities or things I could have done better. Instead, I focus on how to improve. And how we can be more effective at helping you be successful.
The Most Common Regret
How this applies to you is that two career transition clients independently expressed regret recently. I want the lessons from their situation to help you better manage your professional journey.
Both of these clients communicated the same thing …
That if they could go back in time, they would have put more attention, while working in their jobs over the years, on their external profile, network, and relationship management.
As we support their job search efforts, they are feeling the sting now of not having done so:
poor self-awareness of their professional value and story
weak “market readiness” skills
little or no profile in their market
very small networks without a lot of champions to support them
and the impact on their resumes of decisions/indecision about staying too long in a role or having accepted poor-fit jobs in the past (because they weren’t plugged into the market)
This is a consistent theme. Almost all of my career growth strategy clients, when assessed, rank their attention on the external (brand, network, relationships, reputation) as the weakest link across the five pillars of career growth - internal (clarity and self-awareness), performance, future vision, professional capability and external.
I don’t want you to have this same regret.
The important thing to realize is that this external pillar - brand, network, relationships, reputation - is the driver of opportunities and your future security and growth.
Risk management. Opportunity generation. Confidence building. Reputation. The benefits are numerous. And essential.
When you are weak in this area, you are more at risk. You have fewer opportunities. You are not known in your market. It changes the way you show up. It limits your ability and confidence to engineer a move when a job has run its course.
Even if you are successful and happy in your current role, having profile, reputation and strong external professional relationships creates more career capital and degrees of freedom. Which you need.
So, let’s make this practical. What can you do about it?
3 Steps to Making Progress on the External Driver of Your Career
Make the Decision: It starts with prioritizing the important over the urgent and committing to carving out a slice of your resources to invest in this area of your professional life. On an ongoing basis. An intentional, bold professional journey takes some attention and effort.
Develop Practices & Habits: Next, the most reliable way to progress is to develop practices. Here are a few examples:
Create a Quarterly or Semi-Annual Risk Assessment Habit. When you’re not externally aware, you increase the risk of getting blindsided. Put a 30-min slot in your calendar to assess the risks and opportunities in your professional world. What’s on the horizon that could impact you?
Develop a weekly practice of expanding your network (offline and online) and selectively converting connections into stronger relationships.
Schedule periodic follow-ups and meaningful interactions with your top, most strategic relationships.
Create a low-bar goal of having X meetings/chats per month with new contacts and existing contacts.
Establish regular career coaching (monthly/quarterly) to sharpen your personal marketing skills, keep you on track, and strategize.
Do Projects & Sprints: Some activities are one-off or infrequent deep dives. Here are some of the most important ones:
Invest in your personal brand/profile. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is a compelling statement of who you are professionally (and where you’re going). Do it yourself, or reach out to us. Get this done. It impacts all of your other efforts in this area.
Assess your current marketability. What does your network look like? Who are your top relationships, and what is the strength of those relationships? What is your professional reputation? What work do you need to do to close the gap?
Expand and fine-tune your awareness of your professional assets. Clarify and refine your professional direction and messaging.
If you aren’t confident about your professional story and personal brand, or have internal barriers to personal marketing get career coaching and support to solve that.
Say no to this predictable and avoidable regret. Make the key decision. Develop some basic, minimal practices. Identify and tackle any key projects that impact your ability to perform in this area.
The benefits will be enormous and long-lasting.
Your feedback - Potential Personal Marketability Program
We are starting to shape a personal marketability program. It is a huge need. If personal marketing is something you resist or struggle with AND want to take action on, I’d love to hear from you. Hit reply and tell me what you’d like to see included in that kind of program. What would be helpful? I’d love your early feedback as we design a solution.
Have a fantastic weekend,
CEO & Chief Career Strategist - Bold Career
P.S. If you’d like to connect on support for any of the above, hit reply, or visit our client contact form to start a conversation.