If you believe that your current job is your last job — the one that you will retire from — raise your hand. You can stop reading.
Now that those two people are gone, let’s talk about managing our careers. Because its a whole new discipline these days.
Gone are the days when submitting a resume was sufficient. Good jobs go to people who are referred in, not to those with no one to vouch for them. Per the ERE recruiter network, between 28% and 40% of all positions in 2012 were given to candidates that were referred in, but only 7% of all candidates were referrals. That 7% had a serious edge on the competition.
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were changing their hiring criteria, giving GPAs and college degrees somewhat lower priority and focusing more on prior accomplishments and the strength of a candidate’s social network. This is a smart move. College costs average to $92,000 for a four-year degree. Google is changing their criteria so that they won’t miss out on hiring the perfectly brilliant people who aren’t interested in amassing that level of debt.
So what does that mean for you and me, the people who aren’t likely in the job that we will retire at? My take is that career management is something that you can’t afford to not be doing, no matter how happy you are at your current gig. And that it involves much more than just identifying what you want to do and who you’d like to work for. I’m highly satisfied with my current job, and I have no concerns that I’ll be leaving it anytime soon. But I never stop managing my career and preparing for the next gig. Here are some of the key things I do:
- Keep my network strong, and make a point to connect with people whose work supports missions that are important to me.
- Network with the people in my sector (nptech). I regularly attend conferences and events, and I make a point of introducing myself to new people. I’m active in forums and discussion groups. Like any good geek, this type of social behavior isn’t something that came naturally to me, but I’ve developed it.
- Speak, write, blog, tweet. I generously share my expertise. I don’t consider it enough for people to know my name; I want them to associate my name with talent and experience at the things I want to do for a living.
- Mentor and advocate for my network. Help former employees and colleagues in nptech get jobs. Freely offer advice (like this!). ID resources that will help people with their careers.
- Connect to the people that I network with, primarily on LinkedIn. This is how I’m going to be able to reach out to the people who can help me with my next gig.
- Keep my LinkedIn profile/resume current, adding accomplishments as I achieve them.
- Stay in touch with recruiters even if I’m turning them down. I always ask if I can pass on the opportunity to others, and I sometimes connect with them on LinkedIn, particularly if they specialize in nptech placement.
As I’ve blogged before, I’m picky as hell about the jobs I’ll take. They have to be as good as my current job — CIO at an organization with a killer mission, great data management challenges, and a CEO that I report directly to who gets what technology should be doing for us. The tactics above played a significant part in my actually landing my current (dream) job.
So this is why you need to start securing your next position today, no matter how happily employed and content you are. Job hunting isn’t an activity that you do when you’re between jobs or looking for a change. It’s the behavior that you engage in every day; the extra-curricular activities that you prioritize, and the community that you engage with.