My father-in-law used to say, “The best time to search for a job is when you have one” and I tend to agree. I’m happy with my current career choice and my accomplishments, but I am not naive enough to think that I am indispensable. None of us are safe as so many have come to realize this past year. But just because I’m grateful for my job, doesn’t mean I’m going to rest on my laurels and hope that I stay at the top of my game. Me? I’m constantly creating the game.
I used to criticize myself for changing not only jobs, but careers every few years. But now I realize that it’s because of what I have done, from entertainer to mortgage banker and everything in between that makes me who I am today. While I admire people who retire from successful careers after 30 years of service, I can easily tell you that it’s not for me…or most people in my forty-something circles. Constantly creating the game was the only reason I got to entertain with Bob Hope, had an office at Walt Disney Imagineering, interviewed Garth Brooks, rode along with Mark Martin, flew with Dan Marino and tasted moonshine with a famous songwriter (identity withheld because I think moonshine is illegal). Me! The girl who lived her youth to its fullest has done the same with her career. And I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when it comes to my career I have no regrets.
I believe that job interviewing for the sheer practice is great exercise. I think getting too comfortable in any job can cause you to lose your creative and competitive spirit. But by allowing yourself to dip your toe in the pond you can sometimes take a well-deserved and refreshing plunge into new waters.
These days, with social media at our fingertips (and on our nightstands if you’re like me), there’s no excuse for not keeping your accomplishments fresh on prospective employer’s minds. I’m not saying to bore your “friends” or “tweeple” with constant praise of your own work, but be willing to share who you are and what you’re proud of professionally with people that might not otherwise know.
If staying in one career for 20 years isn’t for you, then you might think about this from my perspective. Sometimes you have to toot your own horn if you want it to be heard. And there’s a graceful way to “sell” yourself that’s not obtrusive or nauseating. Here are a few thoughts:
- Take the time twice a year to update your resume
- Get creative with your presentation and consider developing a binder of your work
- Join LinkedIn and take the time to really know people, recommend their work and take an interest in their lives
- Use social media sans the political or overly personal slant to get to know professional acquaintances
- Be willing to create a “personal board of directors” for advice
- Crawl out of your box and become a mentor or volunteer
I have to admit that I have met more powerful, wonderful people through my volunteer work the past several years than I would have through traditional channels. I know my work was valuable because I took pride in it. I also know that going outside of my comfort zone afforded me friendships that otherwise may have not occurred without the personal connection. I’m not saying to always have an ulterior motive up your sleeve either; I’m saying open your eyes to the experiences and opportunities around you and be intentional in your endeavors. Job seeking can be a full-time career and it’s best to seek one when you don’t need one. And to quote my father-in-law again, “If you keep doing what you’re doing…you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”