Someone replied asking me to explain further…my advice is simply this – don’t wait until promotion time or when you are at career burnout to determine your brand reputation and value proposition.
Furthermore, you need to determine what is working in your career today and evaluate what is needed to keep you at the forefront and visible in your field.
Several years ago, I worked with a very talented finance executive who became “obsolete” in her industry? She was hardworking, diligent and a top producer, but was so buried in the “here and now” of her work, she failed to pay attention to the emerging trends in her industry. More disturbing, once she realized how her industry was changing, she did NOTHING to stay competitive and employable. Not a smart strategy at all!
1. Do a self-evaluation: Get real and be honest about how you feel in regards to your career, your current role, your skills and your contributions. Are you on auto pilot or are you enjoying what you do? Regular self-assessments and evaluations play a critical role in being successful and happy in your career.
2. Get comfortable with letting go: Have a farewell party, say goodbye and let your past career “mistakes” and glitches go. It’s in the past, you cannot go back and change it…instead focus what have you learned from the experiences and use them as a stepping ground for going further in your career.
3. Don’t let go of your dreams alive: Those career dreams you have…you know the ones that keep coming up and won’t go away no matter how nicely you ask? Well, explore them more frequently, is it really impossible to achieve any of them? What can you do today to even achieve a small part of those goals?
4. Toot your horn accordingly: A little boasting can go a long way. Take inventory of your career achievements for the past six months to a year; what has changed and more importantly what changes have you led? What can you take credit for accomplishing on a personal and/or career level?
5. Promote and exude your personal brand: Identify, embrace and promote your personal brand. Being the best kept secret in your industry will not lead to career success…if you have a lot to offer employers, build a strong compelling message and presence through on and offline tools.
6. Keep your executive resume updated: Keep your executive resume updated – your resume is a living document, so keep it alive with all career changes, promotions, achievements and new skills. A flat, dead resume does nothing for you.
7. Make sure your online brand is on point: Do a Google-based search on your full name on a regular basis. Make sure that nothing unflattering, controversial or inaccurate comes up…keep your online content, fresh, relevant and on brand,
8. Invest in your professional growth: Don’t operate in a vacuum..it would be wonderful if everything stayed the same, all the time. Be realistic about your strengths and pay attention to ongoing professional development and training. What you are an expert at today is not going to be the same a year or even six months from now.
9. Reach out and connect frequently: We are designed and created to work in collaboration with others. Don’t get so buried in your work that you forget to build and nurture a strong professional network…even your job requires you to travel a lot, maximize LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to communicate and stay connected with others.
10. Value to benefits of a great mentor: Get a mentor and be a mentor to someone else…the best way to stay ahead of the game is to learn from others who have succeeded and continue to be industry thought leaders. It is imperative to have a pool of trusted individuals and advisors you can turn to when making critical career decisions.