Atypical, Career-Enhancing Do’s in a Down Economy
As the economy takes a nose-dive, we’re seeing a flood of career advice on how to rework your resume, connect with executive recruiters and perform best during a job interview. If you’re looking for that kind of advice, this article is not for you. This article highlights areas you may not be considering that are critical to navigating the cold and turbulent waters of a challenging economic period.
These might seem like unusual places to look to help strengthen your career position, but they are important to your ability to be confident, stay positive and endure whatever gets thrown at you. Shore up your core and support systems so that nothing can get in the way of your success.
For 25 More Career-Enhancing Do’s, join Kirsten Dixson and me for an exclusive, complimentary TheLadders.com Webinar on Thursday, Nov. 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. Space is limited. Register now to get the details for connecting to the webinar. To get you started, here are five critical do’s:
1. Fortify Your Foundation
There are lots of external stimuli that can really bring you down when the economy is faltering. Bleak newspaper headlines and visible signs of strife can impact even the most positive among us. And it’s much harder to get up when everything around you is pulling you down. You need greater fortitude and drive to keep from drowning in a sea of negativity. That means being in your best physical shape. This is your brand foundation. The stronger the foundation, the easier it will be to endure the harsh realities of a challenging environment. Your brand foundation is made up of three elements: sleep, diet and exercise.
- Get Your Zs: According to the Washington Post, studies suggest that a sleep deficit may put the body into a state of high alert, increasing the production of stress hormones and driving up blood pressure. The last thing you want right now is more stress in your life. Make a plan to get quality sleep every night.
- Choose the Right Fuel: Garbage in, garbage out. You need to put the best fuel in your body so you can perform like the superstar you are. That means replacing downers with energy enhancers such as fresh fruit, water and whole grains. Sugar, simple carbohydrates and alcohol are all going to bring you down. Just ditch one downer each day and replace it with something healthful. Over time, you will really feel the difference.
- Move Your Body: If you’re one of those people who keeps gyms in the black by paying monthly dues but rarely going, now’s the time to get your money’s worth. If the gym isn’t your thing, just change what you are doing to add more activity to your routine. Park in the furthest space in the parking lot, get off the subway a stop or two away from your destination, take the stairs instead of the elevator, run with your dog, and take a walk every day at lunch time to refresh yourself.
What action will you take this week to strengthen your brand foundation?
For more ways to shore up your brand foundation, get complimentary “Health without the Health Club” tips here.
2. Put Your Happy Face On
Although it may be a challenge to see the glass as half full, it’s critical to keep a positive outlook throughout the job search process. That which you focus on expands, so if your mind is fixated on the fact that finding a job is hard, you’ll prove yourself right. It will be hard. Challenging. Frustrating. You will feel the impact of every rejected resume, every excruciating interview and every unreturned phone call. Instead, you must keep the future in your mind.
Visualize yourself at your new job. Know what it looks like, feels like and smells like. Make it visceral; keeping the end in mind will help you navigate the job search with ease and fortitude and keep you from focusing on the small bumps you might encounter along the way. Also, surround yourself with supportive people and get involved with activities that make you feel that you are contributing or learning. Volunteer; join a job-search support group; or take (or even teach!) a class.
What does it look like at your new office?
To get some more ideas to help you keep smiling, listen to the recording of an interview with Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project.
3. Understand Your Brand
Your brand is your unique promise of value. It’s what makes you valuable and helps you stand out from the crowd. You shouldn’t be working on your career-marketing tools unless you’re clear about your unique promise of value. “Me-too” resumes don’t work, especially in a crowded market.
Your brand – although based in your authenticity is held in the hearts and minds of those around you. So get as much input as you can about your strengths, weaknesses and skills from the people who know you. This will inform your career-marketing tools and help you perform the best in a job interview. Sometimes one insight from the outside can have a powerful impact on how you position yourself for your next big job.
I was working with a very senior healthcare-industry executive to help her find a new role. In working to understand her personal brand, I asked her a lot of questions about her greatest strengths, her motivated skills, and so on. She gave me a great list to work with. I also got input from her former colleagues, managers and employees. Interestingly, the lists were really quite different.
I have learned one thing in working with executives. The higher you move up the corporate ladder, the less you hear what people really think and the more you hear what they think you want to hear. That distorts your understanding of your brand in the marketplace. Now is the time for clarity. You need to be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s not the time to bury your head in the sand. Seek the feedback you need to succeed.
What do people think about YOU?
Get a password to access a new, complimentary version of 360Reach, the personal branding assessment, by emailing [email protected], with subject line ‘Special V4 Password.’
Career Advice from Ladders
- Five Ways for Branding Yourself Online… Fast
- Intersection of the “Ilities
- Market Meltdown: Change Your Job Search Mindset
- Master the Art of Precision
4. Get Your Digital House in Order
It’s a fact that you are going to be Googled during a job search. And for people who don’t know you, you are your Google results. So you need to ensure that what Google says about you reinforces your real-world brand. If you think your career-marketing tools are just your resume and cover letters, you’re missing an element that is becoming more and more important in a world that’s becoming more and more virtual. So get your digital house in order. That means having enough relevant Google results to convince hiring managers and executive recruiters that you have something to say and something valuable to contribute. It means using all the multimedia features the Web provides to demonstrate what makes you exceptional.
Even if you aren’t ready for your own Web site, there are many ways to enhance your online ID. For example, commenting on blogs that focus on your area of thought leadership is an opportunity to express your expertise. And at the same time, it’s a great way to build community and expand your network by sharing ideas and opinions with like-minded professionals.
How strong is your online ID?
Use this complimentary calculator to measure your online identity and get tips on how to enhance it here.
5. Build Career Karma
If there were ever a time when your network takes on extra value, it’s during a tough period for workers. You want to reach out to members of your network, bolstering relationships with close members of your network and rebuilding relationships you may have let slip away.
The best way to build a powerful network is to give to your network. And although you may feel more like you need help than have help to give, giving will actually help satisfy your search.
Remember, most jobs are filled through some sort of network connection. That means you must make yourself visible and available to all the members of your network. The best way to gain that visibility is to give to your network – and there are countless ways to do so. Endorse colleagues and employees at LinkedIn, take a former manager out to lunch, and refer job opportunities that aren’t right for you to your contacts who may be perfect for the role. Challenge yourself to do one kind act for a member of your network each day, and watch your professional relationships flourish.
What have you done for the members of your network lately?
To receive complimentary Career Karma tips every day to help you enhance your career karma, sign up here.