During my work week I get to talk with a lot of folks who are looking for a new position, thinking about looking for a new position, or know someone who is thinking/looking. I am often approached by people who want to engage me as their personal agent – to write their resume, search the boards, connect with their network and (if I could) interview for them. Essentially, they just want to show up to a shiny new job that they will love, without putting in any effort. Now, I am happy to coach, edit, advise, listen, encourage and cheerlead with every spare moment, but really! Career Development is an engaged activity and you must be active in your pursuit for a quality career not just when you are looking for a job, but more importantly when you are not.

I’d like to visit some common beliefs about career development and job searching:

Belief #1
– I shouldn’t look for a new job now, we’re in a recession. Let’s investigate the current state of the market in Colorado. Yes, some business sectors are feeling a bit of a slowdown, but these are largely the real estate and retail areas and while there are downstream affects I’m not seeing any decline in hiring in the technology area. As a matter of fact, with Colorado’s thirst for new enterprise, we’re seeing a swell in the number of open positions with emerging companies.

Belief #2 – I don’t need to build an external network, everyone I need to know to do my job works at my current company. That may be true today. If you lost your job tomorrow, do you have at least twenty people outside of your company who are in influential positions that will leap at the opportunity to introduce you to their CEO? Are there people that you have worked with in the past who would hire you on the spot? Do you really believe that you will spend the next ten years at your current company? Your professional network is one of the best ways to ensure job security. The world is changing, defined pension plans are history, and so are lifetime employees.

Belief #3 – I don’t talk to recruiters, if I need a new job I just throw my resume on the job boards. Some of you may be old enough to remember when job openings were printed in the newspaper. The Sunday Classified Section took up almost half of the print volume back in the 1990’s. Well, job boards have replaced classified ads as the commodity sourcing tool today. Job boards are where companies who NEED to advertise post their positions. The best positions never appear on job boards because they are filled by referrals (those who network), are confidential, or are considered too strategic to trust to an unknown source. If you are looking for a new job on the internet, chances are you are seeing the leftovers, not the golden eggs. Oh, and by the way, recruiters are typically engaged by companies to tap into the passive market, if they call, you should answer.

Belief #4 – I only update my resume when I’m looking for a job. Your resume is your personal marketing brochure. Your brightest moment, your biggest wins, and your greatest accomplishments happen when you are NOT looking for a job. Why would you trust that when you need to update your resume, and are potentially not in the best frame of mind, you will remember all the great things you’ve done that a potential employer would like to know about?

Belief #5 – I don’t need to develop myself professionally, my employer will let me know if I need additional training. If you really believe that your employer has your best interest in mind when laying out your development plan, you are wrong. Your employer will spend money on training for you that will benefit the company, and if you get some value too then that’s great. You are the CEO of your career development and you own your personal marketability. Have you attended any conferences, seminars, webinars, user groups or training sessions in the past year that were not arranged for by your employer? Have you learned a new skill, researched an emerging technology, or spent time on self-study to improve your technical qualifications? If not, you are passively managing your career, and you are being passed up by your peers.

If you’d like more information about how to stay in charge of your career, or you have a personal belief you’d care to share, please give me a call.