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How to place yourself at the center of your career experience and actually land a job

Why are you still waking up most mornings jumping on LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. “just to see what’s out there…”?

Why are you still wasting time and energy on stuff at work (unclear expectations, toxic environments, office politics, etc.) that does not contribute to your long term success or increase your organizational impact?

Why are you still ignoring that gnawing feeling there's more to having a career than this, that you actually deserve to have a sense of purpose in your work?

I know why! Ok, well, actually, I don’t know why for every single person, but let me give it my best guess:

  • Fear of failing (I won't be successful, and everyone will see it.)

  • Guilt over wanting more in your career (I should feel lucky to have a job right now.)

  • Lack of focus (I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.)

Our professional identities are so wrapped up in our past and present work experiences we can’t seem to give space to examine who we actually are, how we make a professional impact, and how we want to contribute in the future.

The answer?

  • STOP looking outward to external cues and permission to do something bigger, better, different in your career.

  • START looking inward to identify, examine, and build on what you know are your professional strengths and value.

Placing yourself at the center of your career experience means an intentional and robust examination of your values, skills, experience, and interests. It means identifying what you’re good at, enjoy, and have opportunities to do in the current job market.

Placing yourself at the center of your career experience also means acknowledging, internalizing, and embracing your right and ability to define and identify purposeful work that inspires and motivates you.

Placing yourself at the center of your career experience requires a behavior change:

Get proactive: No more reactive behavior (looking online for jobs and/or applying willy-nilly to anything that looks remotely interesting). Commit the time and energy to improve your career experience. Create a timeline and decision points, schedule time to do the work, and find accountability partners to keep you in check.

Get real: Spend time, specifically think about, and critically evaluate what you really want out of your career. Define your past and present professional experiences regarding overall value to your career, daily work experience, and life goals. Identify the values, skills, experience, and interests you want to activate in your work. How do those compare to what is available in your target job market?

Get specific: Think through all the ways your specific set of skills, experience, and talents can add organizational value. Don't settle for the obvious answers, job titles, or duties. Allow yourself to answer: "In a perfect world, what would my work include?" Craft your ideal job description from a strategic overview to specific duties, leadership characteristics, and organizational culture.

Get informed: You’ve completed steps 1-3 and now know what you want to be when you grow up. Hooray! Now it's time to align your goals to the reality of the current job market. Educate yourself on the industries and organizations that are most likely to have the types of opportunities you’re looking for. Resist the urge to silo yourself into a single industry or specific type of company. The world of work is full of opportunities to activate your professional expertise. Find them! Document them! Understand them!

Get visible: You have to position yourself for your next role - no one will do it for you. Use your newfound commitment to own your career success and understanding of your professional value to position and market yourself to your target audience.Network, network, network! Engage in professional associations, clubs, and organizations that inspire you and align with your career goals, lend your skills to contribute to your community in a meaningful way, and use social media (yes, even if you hate it) to learn about and gain access to career opportunities.

Sounds nice, but not necessarily easy? Please get in touch to learn more about how I partner with professionals like you to teach the tools to center yourself in your career experience, gain clarity in your work, and create your own career success. Dare to build the career you actually want.

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