To ‘be prepared’ was the motto drilled into my DNA many decades ago as a girl guide alongside having family members in the life insurance sector. This motto has been front of mind recently with the deluge of tech and digital giants laying off large chunks of their workforce in Australia and globally.
Thousands of talented people have woken up to see a ‘locked out login message’ on their computer screen. The shocks have been palpable.
Being prepared is more than planning for a rainy day. It’s a mindset to acknowledge change can occur in a nanosecond in careers no matter the level or experience.
From a career perspective, it’s about strategies which give peace of mind and confidence when a proverbial fan is in sight.
Don’t wait for the proverbial fan moment
Every marketing professional (and indeed all other professions) would benefit from a ‘be prepared’ career mindset. But when in a warm comfort zone, it can be almost untenable to consider that a fan is in the midst.
Unfortunately, a large number of men and women don’t apply career risk mitigation strategies and end up feeling the wind of those fan blades.
This is evident from the volume of social media posts and the calls and emails I receive with panic and concern. And there is similar sentiment and contact from people after months of frustration in the job search ecosystem.
Laying a platform of career attraction
What does a platform of career attraction look like? It’s an insurance policy mindset coupled with an intentional and proactive focus to build and feed a digital presence, strong networks and LinkedIn profile and footprint.
It’s about applying the same client marketing strategies to yourself. Your clients advertise and run marketing campaigns for varied goals including protection against market loss, increasing revenue and to build reputation and authority.
For businesses who don’t invest in marketing, the catch cry is often ‘we don’t need marketing at the moment as we have all the work we can handle’ -well, duh!
And this is where many career professionals also get stuck. In the good times, little attention is given to a platform of future career attraction.
But it’s far better to be in the ‘I would love to, but I am at capacity/not available at present’ camp versus the ‘I wish the phone would ring and email ping’ camp.
Don’t let fear hold you back
Many don’t pay attention to their LinkedIn profile and activity for a fear it indicates a red flag to the agency or organisation they are on the job hunt or plan to.
The truth is that every time you raise your own professional visibility and expertise, your employer benefits also.
Ten LinkedIn essentials
- Take a marketing approach to your own LinkedIn profile. Be creative and unique to inspire and intrigue.
- Have a dynamic, interesting banner image. After all, people are visual creatures. It’s your personal brand billboard so don’t leave it blank, one colour or a nature beach scene. Have fun and create something meaningful.
- Current photograph within the last 12 months. No sunglasses, cartoons or other people.
- Write a compelling clear and descriptive headline. Include what you do and who you do it for. Align to your current and future in career keywords and focus.
- Always write the ‘Your About’ section in the first person, it just looks pompous and disconnected if in the third person. Showcase what excites you, your career focus and achievements. Weave in your personality. If you’re a quiet mouse, no point inferring you are a bold loud lion and vice versa.
- LinkedIn is both a reactive and proactive platform. Recruiters use it to search for candidates and so your profile acts as a magnet and reactive tool there. But it’s also a proactive tool to build visibility of your expertise at any time in your market and career cycle. Suppliers and new networks are not just about job hunting but enriching your business in general.
- Add new connections to your network with care and focus. This may include industry and general recruiters, people of interest, referral partners and suppliers.
- Engage and comment regularly on great content. Look for topics and people of relevance where you can demonstrate your expertise, values and perspectives. An intentional commenting strategy cannot be underestimated. You will be amazed at the conversations that ensue and develop for business and careers when people admire your comments.
- Not everyone will and can create their own content. But you can share other members and external information. Do think about writing short articles on your expertise and industry perspectives. It is also a great icebreaker for new connections.
- Ask for testimonials from a range of different people who have experienced working with you. These can be clients, co-workers, direct managers and also suppliers.
Networking and speaking at events is valuable and often essential. Building media connections in your sector to be a go to media contributor is also a great way to build profile and authority.
Whilst your CV is a reactive tool when applying for a role, there is another reason to keep it up to date. When you refresh a CV it’s an opportunity to review your career, achievements and what has inspired you.
The process of updating your CV by virtue builds career and self confidence which is being prepared 101.