Career Collective post: Once a month, a group of career professionals blog on a subject topical and timely for a job seeker. We’ll post our thoughts on our own blog and link to the post of our colleagues on the same topic.
This month’s topic: Focus on providing workers and job seekers information, ideas and concrete steps to secure their futures in a changed economy. Responses from others contributors linked at the end. Follow the hashtag #careercollective on Twitter.
During the past year, as I watched the face of the economy and, in turn, job search strategies shift, I started sharing the importance of networking and social media, more and more with my clients. Blogger and recruiter, Jeff Lipschultz included statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor in his post “40 jobs in 40 years? Fact or Fiction?” According to 2008 statistics individuals changed jobs, every 2.9 to 6.0 years. With that kind of movement, career management must include current job search knowledge. One of the most important segments of both career management and job search is an individual’s network. The tag line “Your network is your net worth.” advertises “Strictly Business”, a, weekly networking event here in Wilmington, NC and no words ring truer in the late 2009 employment environment.
My dad retired after 46 years with the same company; my mom with almost 30 years at another. The “retiring with a gold watch and a pension” days are long gone. The time when seasoned veterans sat and passed knowledge and the stories behind the design and series updates to junior employees are gone too. A strong network, cultivated over time, can serve everyone – employed or unemployed. The answers that used to come from the facility elders now come from your network and stability from four decades with the same company shifts to the stabilizing force of network connections.
Workplace dynamics now change quickly, bringing with those changes, a faster moving job market. Establishing a solid network of knowledgeable contacts helps uncover answers needed to advance a career or resolve a business issue. The problem is, many career-oriented people get so wrapped up in building their careers, the network gets neglected. I give career changers, the upwardly mobile and the unemployed all kinds of information about networking – almost as if it is a new concept, wholly foreign to them. It seems, now that they’re ready to launch a job search; they’re also ready to “launch” a network – “I’ll call ….” Unfortunately, networks don’t work that way. Waiting until you’re unemployed or ready to make a career move to start reconnecting with Joe from 10-years-ago isn’t the best plan … but then again, better late than never.
The network-less miss out on the value strong connections bring to professional and (yes) your personal lives. Not only can your network provide answers to business questions – “Who knows a good cleaning service?” or “I remember Sue had a similar event at her company, let me give her a call – shoot her an email.” Your network can speed the rebound from unemployment and make career transitions more palatable as support comes through your connections and beyond.
In an article titled, “How to Advance Your Career Without Selling Your Soul”, Joe Hodas made an interesting point. “Career-advancement tips may seem irrelevant while many employees are operating from a place of fear or are just grateful to have a job.” This puts many in today’s work force operating toward the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid, focused on protecting their jobs and the “what ifs” rather than career advancement or personal development. Shoring up workplace uncertainty with a solid network of reciprocal support makes career control and individual growth more likely.
A deep, broad, well-developed network supports improvement as well – whether it’s inspiring stretches for promotions, courage for career changes, encouragement for certifications, reaching fitness goals or self-actualization milestones. All the other tips I’d share with job seekers are the same as I’ve always said, (throughout this blog, Twitter tweets and Facebook posts), remember a job search is all about “them” – the employer. Approach everything you do from that perspective during the search and you’ll be ahead of the rest of the pack from the very beginning.
After setting the right course and understanding the process, take a step back and engage your network to uncover everything you can about the situation at hand, whether it’s job-related or job-search related. Here, in the “short rows” of 2009, more than ever, you network is your net worth, integral to career success. Nurture it with lots of giving and a little taking.
Here’s what my colleagues have to say:
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter: You Can Thrive In, Not Just Survive, an Economic Slogging
Chandlee Bryan: The Emerging Professional, Where the Green Jobs Are
Martin Buckland: The key to securing your future career
GL Hoffman: The Life of An Entrepreneur: Is It for You?
Gayle Howard: The Enlightened Jobseeker
Heather R. Huhman: Take Action: 10 Steps for Landing an Entry-Level Job
Rosalind Joffe: Preparedness: It’s Not Just for Boyscouts
Erin Kennedy: Cutting Edge Job Search Blueprint
Meg Montford: Job action day: Finding your “mojo” after layoff
Hannah Morgan: Why Our Job Search Advice is the Same but Different
Heather Mundell: Green Jobs – What They Are and How to Find Them
J. T. O’Donnell: Actions that get people jobs in this recession
Barbara Safani: Where the Jobs Are: 2009 and Beyond
Miriam Salpeter: Optimize your job hunt for today’s economy
Rosa E. Vargas: Are You Evolving Into The In-Demand Professional of Tomorrow?
Job Action Day 09: His Resume Savvy Helped New Career Rise from Layoff Ashes
Career and Job-Hunting Blog: Job Action Day 2009 Inspiring Stories
And here’s where else we’re listed: Thanks Katharine!
Job Action Day: Empowering workers and jobseekers
QuintZine: Bloggers Drive Home Job Action Day Message