A good friend and colleague once said to me, “You should always consider yourself ‘on the market.’” She offered this in the context of a conversation we were having about job searching, and the thoughts of beginning a search as if it’s an “event” – like a switch you flip or trigger you pull.
Job searching is a daunting process with a long list of tasks: revise resume, update Linked In, connect with your network, search the internet, prepare for interviews, and so on. Yet, if you embrace a mind shift and always think of yourself in marketing terms – product, supply, demand, audience – it removes some of that pressure.
Consider for a moment: If you’re perpetually ‘on the market,’ it implies you are ‘at the ready’ and poised for opportunities. Shouldn’t we all be? Afterall, if you don’t continually refine and sharpen your unique attributes, present and market yourself, who will? You are your #1 agent and champion. Position yourself as such.
– Refine your resume and have it ready for the right opportunity. Perhaps this is something you do annually or biannually, associated with your performance review.
– Maintain an updated Linked In, complete with the key words and phrases to showcase your attributes and attract your desired opportunity and direction.
– Be a serial networker, building relationships to develop your personal and professional capital among key people. Within your broader network of contacts, cultivate a smaller core of your closest allies. The more diverse (in terms of position, geography, skillset, etc.) that top group is, the better. It will extend your reach and influence.
– Perform at your best in the present moment while knowing what you want most for your future. Focus on that target, understanding that it continually evolves.
– If this target requires additional education or skill development, take steady action in small, achievable steps to acquire it so you’ll be ready.
– If an opportunity you seek is a significant shift, perhaps it’s in a different company division or a new industry altogether, find ways to connect and position yourself among the leadership and in the environments you desire.
– Know your top three to five strengths and be able to talk about them in terms of the value you can deliver. Resist the temptation to sell everything you can do. You’ll come across as a generalist and lessen your leverage.
– Identify and work with an executive coach. It’s an investment that will yield great dividends – an outside perspective to help you gain a greater sense of awareness and cultivate your own inner knowing to chart your course.